Any time a new album is released that causes fists to fly in the crisp night air, legs to pump at Olympic athletic speed, and rock screams to unleash in howling yowls, it has to be grand. Megadeth’s latest album Th1rt3en is exactly that. Once again, Dave Mustaine and company came to the party and showed all the other so-called metal bands how heavy metal is meant to played. It’s just one of the many reasons why Megadeth is as high in the hard rocking ranks as bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and WASP.
Th1rt3en is an amazing collection of blistering metal songs for those who love to bang their heads, or just feel the energy that heavy metal music brings. With bassist Dave Ellefson providing a signature classic sound to the bass lines, Megadeth has taken their music creation to the next level. Galloping bass lines dominate Thirt3en and provide a steady backdrop along with Shawn Drover’s incredible drums, keeping the rhythm section sturdy.
Overlaying the phenomenal combination of bass and drums is some stellar guitar work by both Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick. Broderick and Mustaine not only remind us what guitar solos are, they also remind us why we love them so much. Songs like “New World Order” and “Fast Lane” feature blazing solos that scream magnificence. It would be pure pleasure to see these amazing solos performed in concert. The wizardry that Mustaine and Broderick highlight in their effective finger picking mastery is nothing short of astonishing. If every guitarist focused this much time and effort into their song crafting, the metal world would be a much better place.
What’s most interesting about Megadeth’s Th1rt3en is how the second half of the album is so much greater than the first. Upon spinning the first five songs of the record, I was worried that we had a dud on our hands. It’s not that the opening five tracks are horrible (except maybe “Guns, Drugs, & Money” – which is a bad song), but they aren’t up to the excellence that comes later. The beginning of the album had me concerned. Fortunately, Megadeth showed that they still know how to rock like no one else’s business beginning with the sixth cut of the record, “Never Dead.”
Themes of fast, muscle cars tearing down the highway, women destroying the well made niche of man, and the over-involvement of government in the daily life of citizens all run rampant throughout the record. Constructed as only the genius of Megadeth could, the band has compiled lyrics on topics that make the listener think and perhaps want to learn a little bit more about their country and their place in politics. If that wasn’t enough for the average fan, the band threw in some songs about hot babes and slick driving machines. All walks of life are covered and all parties get to go home happy.
Thirt3en is one of Megadeth’s strongest albums to date. At this stage of their career, the band could have phoned it in, released a record of re-recorded material, or decided to try some experimental path, but they didn’t. They instead decided to focus and produce an album worthy of the fans and the band’s moniker. Make no mistake about it— Th1rt3en is a lucky number if you are a Megadeth fan.
Rating: Out of 10
Notable Tracks: New World Order, Fast Lane, 13
- Sudden Death
- Public Enemy No. 1
- Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
- We The People
- Guns, Drugs, & Money
- Never Dead
- New World Order
- Fast Lane
- Black Swan
- Millennium Of The Blind
- Deadly Nightshade
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Chris Broderick – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Dave Ellefson – Bass Guitar
Shawn Drover – Drums
Renowned guitarists Alex Skolnick of Testament and Chris Broderick of Megadeth have joined forces to create the first annual Skolnick & Broderick’s Winter Guitar Retreat. This unique experience offers a select group of guitarists of all talent levels the opportunity to expand their horizons while spending four days and five nights studying and jamming with Broderick and Skolnick in a relaxed setting at Full Moon Resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains from December 26-30, 2011.
While best known for their work with Testament and Megadeth, Skolnick and Broderick are diverse, well rounded musicians with backgrounds and training in rock, jazz, classical and blues.
Skolnick & Broderick’s Winter Guitar Retreat will include master classes with Skolnick and Broderick, jam sessions, open mic nights and optional private lessons. Attendees are invited to expand their knowledge of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, music history, jazz theory, chord theory, harmony, improvisation, counterpoint, composition, chord voicings, improv (taught by Skolnick), classical fingerstyle technique (taught by Broderick), and of course heavy metal guitar. Guitarists will learn techniques to increase speed and improve tone, while hearing stories about life on the road, getting gear tips and much more. Nathan Peck (bass) and Matt “Zebar” Zebroski (drums/percussion) of the Alex Skolnick Trio will provide rhythm accompaniment for jam sessions throughout the week.
Check out a video clip of Skolnick and Broderick talking about the Winter Guitar Retreat here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCpIWgFooH8.
“I’m really looking forward to partnering with my friend Chris Broderick for our Winter Guitar Retreat,” says Skolnick. “Each of us has a unique, individual approach to guitar and it’s always fun to share one’s experience with deserving students. Therefore, we’ve decided to join forces and create the ultimate post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s getaway for amateur and pro guitarists alike.”
Broderick concurs: “Come join Alex and myself this winter for a comprehensive look at how we view the guitar. It will not only be insightful, but relaxed and fun as well. We will cover things such as stage performance, live jam sessions, and all kinds of helpful guitar playing tips that you can utilize. I look forward to seeing you at this incredible event.”
Skolnick & Broderick’s Winter Guitar Retreat will provide a full vacation experience, including gourmet meals from the in-house chef. In addition, Full Moon Resort is conveniently located close to a full array of winter activities including skiing and snowboarding.
A special 10% discount for Skolnick & Broderick’s Winter Guitar Retreat is available for those who register and pay in full before October 31, 2011.
For full details, go to: http://sbwinterguitarretreat.com/site/.
The Skolnick & Broderick’s Winter Guitar Retreat is the first winter installment of the successful Music Masters Camp Series (www.musicmasterscamp.com/home/) held at Full Moon Resort, which has been hosted by musicians including Dweezil Zappa, Todd Rundgren, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.
About Alex Skolnick
Alex Skolnick first picked up a guitar as a 9-year-old KISS fan, but it wasn’t long before he began to carve his own path, refining the blueprint for thrash metal as lead guitarist for Testament. At the same time as Testament was carving out its niche as one of metal’s most essential and enduring bands, Alex – intrigued by the later works of Miles Davis – began a parallel journey down the path of jazz. This ultimately led him to New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The New School’s jazz program in 2001. In a roundabout way, this intense study of jazz led him straight back to his original inspiration: Alex Skolnick Trio, formed during his time at The New School, opened its 2002 debut album Goodbye to Romance: Standards for a New Generation with a radical reinterpretation of KISS’ “Detroit Rock City.” The trio’s latest release, Veritas, released earlier this year by the esteemed jazz label Palmetto Records, reached the Top 10 on iTunes’ jazz charts. Along the way, Alex has played with the platinum-selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra, delved into producing, and his SkolNotes blog can be read regularly at alexskolnick.com/SkolNotes. Meanwhile, after an extended hiatus Alex rejoined Testament in 2005, and the band continues to break new ground. Testament’s most recent CD, 2008’s The Formation of Damnation (Nuclear Blast), was the band’s highest charting album to date on the Billboard Top 200. Testament’s Dark Roots Of Earth is due out in 2012.
About Chris Broderick
For nearly four years, Chris Broderick has shared lead and rhythm guitar duties for “Big 4” heavy metal legends Megadeth. His first album with the band, 2009’s Endgame, featured the Grammy-nominated single “Head Crusher.” Megadeth’s song “Sudden Death” from Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock–and set to appear on the band’s forthcoming TH1RT3EN CD–was also Grammy nominated. TH1RT3EN will be released November 1, 2011 via Roadrunner Records. Previously, Chris built his reputation as one of the genre’s preeminent shredders with Jag Panzer and as touring guitarist for Nevermore. While he may be best known for his blistering solos, his styles include a broad range: classical, rock, blues and jazz. Both student and teacher of the instrument, Chris has been playing guitar since he was 11 years old – taking his first lessons at age 14 – and teaching for the past 16 years. He has a degree in Classical Guitar Music Performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and has performed in many master classes including those given by David Russell, Benjamin Verdery, and his primary instructor Ricardo Iznaola. In addition, Chris has studied jazz improvisation and chord voicing, advanced music theory, and sight-reading.
About Full Moon Resort
Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY is a year-round mountain facility located in the heart of the “Forever Wild” Catskill Forest Preserve in upstate New York, 30 minutes west of Woodstock, and only fifteen minutes from Belleayre Mountain, a premier family ski center in the Catskill Mountains. Dedicated to the celebration of nature, music and the arts, the resort features over one hundred acres of fields, meadows, mountains, forests and streams. Driving time from New York City is only two and a half hours, and airports in Albany and Newburgh, NY are just a 90 minute drive.