Architecture of Aggression
Megadeth, Sentrum Scene, May 24th
It's been 21 years since I first picked up Countdown to Exctinction on cassette. Think about that for a second. I did, especially given that – on-stage, at least – Dave Mustaine doesn't appear to have aged a single day. I suppose Jesus agrees with him, but for a guy who's been strung out on drugs and drink for decades, and even pronounced dead a few times, it's pretty impressive.
The solos come fast and furious as the riffs thunder along, apocalyptic and dystopian lyrics accompanied by audio-visual aids on the numerous big screens placed around the stage. And I can't help but smile as the band wiggle their backsides during riffing, a strangely dainty display in stark contrast to the death and destruction on the monitors.
While the new stuff sounds good, there's no denying that most people – including us – are there to bang their heads to the epic riffage of Rust in Peace and Countdown To Extinction. It may be unfair, but that's the trouble of getting it right, of course; once you make it to the peak, where do you go?
For us, it's definitely a trip down memory lane, the sound of high school and hormones. Which is unfair, actually; the riffage is clearly beyond doubt, but Mustaine's lyrics have stood the test of time rather well. Three presidents later, well … plus ça change.
Mustaine, a troubled soul for most of his life, seems happy and genuinely content to be there, though perhaps it's just the seasoned pro shining through. From what I've read, I was half expecting political rants from the stage, perhaps even Mustaine getting biblical on the audience, but no. The vibe is oddly positive.
Their performance clocks in at a neat 90 minutes, then they head off-stage, and the rest of us head out to a beautiful spring evening far removed from Megadeth's lyrical landscape.