When I first heard that Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover had left Megadeth, I’ll admit I was a touch surprised. They’d been stable members of the lineup for a few years although I did feel as though Broderick didn’t get chance to let his skills truly shine. Fast forward three years from that and we now have the second album from the band that was born from their departure. And boy, what an album it is.
Opening the album, “M.I.A” pulls no punches and gets the ball rolling. Intricate guitar parts dominate the track whilst the vocals of Henry provide the nice little cherry on top of the technical metal cake. “Molten Core” then kicks up the gear and reminds me of how good a drummer Shawn actually is. He gets a lot of flak for some reason, and I personally think it’s unjustified as this track showcases the way he keeps the groove going without being too technical. Sure he’s no George Kollias or Adam Jarvis, but he’s got groove.
“Overexposure” dials back the speed of the previous track and takes a more melodic and ‘down-tuned’ groove approach. This is the sort of song that would be great in a workout playlist and will no doubt go down a treat live. Changing things up again and opening with a classical guitar section, “The Talisman” gifts Broderick with some spectacular shred skills for the guitar solo and the classical guitar sections. Topping and tailing the track, they add just enough sparkle to make the track one of the standout ones on the album.
Bringing back the mid-paced groove, “Lullaby of Vengeance” remains set on bringing the wrath of the quartet down on the unsuspecting. With no clean vocals in sight, this is truly a song not to be trifled with and again showcases the bands ability to effortlessly switch between breakneck speed and mid-paced groove. “Circle of Ashes” continues the mid-pace of the previous track only this time has much more emphasis on the rhythm section of the band. Again, whilst the drumming might not be ‘mega wow’, it locks into everything and keeps things nice and tight.
“Reborn”, “Conspiracy of The Gods” and “Another Killing Spree” continue the theme of overall mid-paced tracks with some slower and some quicker bits that’s been showcased earlier. As with the previous tracks, each one has it’s own little unique thing to set them apart and they can all stand on their own as individual tracks. Out of the three, my money has to go to “Conspiracy of The Gods” as it takes the best things out of the former and latter tracks and creates something rather special.
The penultimate track, “Broken Dialect” opens with a masterclass in shredding before launching into a no-nonsense ‘modern thrash’ track. Having one of the most memorable choruses on the album, it’s another track that’s bound to go down well live. Rounding the album out, “Rise of Rebellion” opens with another classical guitar part before the rest of the band comes in like a ton of bricks. This opens the floodgates for the assault that takes multiple forms ranging from more reflective parts to all-out ‘riffpocalypses’. Like the previous track, it’s one of the more memorable tracks on the album for just being that little bit different to the rest of them.
Whilst most people might have forgotten about Broderick and Drover after they left Megadeth, in my opinion they are missing out on this band. Whilst they may never be able to quite match the Grammy winning status of their previous band, there’s no denying that they are producing just as good, if not better, music than they were in that band.
Standout tracks: M.I.A, The Talisman, Lullaby of Vengeance, Conspiracy of The Gods, Rise of Rebellion
Old Scars, New Wounds is released on September 29th via Metal Blade Records.