Not their best work, nor their worst but an odd hybrid of sounds. 7/10
After a number of years chasing mainstream success with increasingly listener friendly songs, Dave Mustaine decided to try and get Megadeth back to what had brought them to the dance with a heavier sound. The World Needs A Hero is accordingly a bit of a mixed bag of tunes as it struggles to find what it wants to be.
Disconnect is classic Countdown to Extinction era Megadeth, slick and slow with great guitar hooks and is followed by The World Needs A Hero which is decidedly more radio friendly. After 7 years of writing in a certain style, it’s clear that a switch can’t be flicked to go back to the 80’s style and the dreadful Moto Psycho stands as proof of that with it’s chorus which sounds like it could be used in an advert.
Thankfully 1000 Times Goodbye is a far better effort with tinges of Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying although the spoken parts would be sure to offend people if released now, with accusations of ‘toxic masculinity’ or some such. Burning Bridges is a fine effort and brings the technical guitar wizardry that Megadeth are famed for but immediately we’re catapulted into a weird dimension as Promises is a ballad featuring a string section. It’s a really good song but it’s easy to see why fans were somewhat confused by an album that was supposed to be far heavier and less commercial than Risk, to be confronted by the Megadeth version of Nothing Else Matters.
And this sets the pace for the rest of the album as we seem to alternate between an older, heavier sound and Megadeth Ultra-Lite. Recipe For Hate, heavy. Losing My Senses, holiday advert. Silent Scorn even features a trumpet which is not a crime in and of itself but if in 1990 someone had said that a Megadeth album would feature strings and a trumpet, no one would have believed it. Return to Hanger is a somewhat lazy revisiting of Hanger 18 but then Metallica did it with Unforgiven II in 1997 so of course Mustaine had to do it too. Which raises an interesting point – if he hadn’t have been so hell bent on besting Metallica by slipstreaming them, what could Megadeth have been between 1992 and 2003?
The album finishes up with the mind boggling When, which was deliberately written to sound like Diamond Head‘s Am I Evil (a staple of Metallica’s live set for 30 years) but despite the advantage of having both Diamond Head and Metallica’s versions to build and improve on, it manages to be nowhere as good as either. The bits that don’t sound like Am I Evil are really good but the majority is embarrassing. The World Needs A Hero is closed out with the weak as water Coming Home.
Fans may have noticed something missing from the text above, a song that is so good it singlehandledly makes The World Needs A Hero a must have in any Megadeth collection. Dread And The Fugitive Mind is firmly Countdown to Extinction material with a mix of the puncturing short riffs and spoken word style of Sweating Bullets before launching into the faster paced bridge leading to some of Megadeth’s best riffing in years through the chorus.
Recipe of Hate…Warhorse is also worthy of mention here as being a standout for breaking away from what Megadeth had become at this time. However the remastering of this version takes a touch of the power away from the song.
Overall The World Needs A Hero was a step in the right direction after the truly awful Risk, but it’s Megadeth deep in an identity crisis. It’s worth owning for the two songs mentioned above and for collectors it’s a good opportunity to complete their collection as the CD is available again for the first time in years and the vinyl version back in print after 18 years.
The World Needs A Hero is a million miles away from being Megadeth’s best work but it contains some damn good songs. It would have perhaps been better split into two EPs – one heavy and one more commercial to make it less disjointed but compared to Risk, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Metal Report Editor.
Ex guitarist in Zenopede, ex vocals for a goth covers band that was hailed as the future of Welsh music, former DJ, promoter and nightclub director. Writer for Gear4Geeks’ Blog4Geeks and owner of Gear4Geeks ltd. First published music critique was Kerrang letter of the Week.
Definitely has never been the future, present or past of Welsh music.