While not as pissed at the world as punks, metalheads invariably despise Christianity, oppose censorship, and are often not keen on George Bush. The genre has its obsessions with war and death, but few bring such voice to the contingent of politically outraged headbangers as Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, who in the '80s raged at Tipper Gore and the P.M.R.C. One of metal's most accomplished songwriters and a frequently spectacular guitarist, Mustaine still dishes out feisty and formidable Megadeth records like 2004's The System Has Failed.
The band's new album, United Abominations, doesn't smack you in the nose like the last one, but it has its moments of sublime, fierce guitar riffage on songs such as "Sleepwalker" and "You're Dead." Mustaine's seething political rants don't fly, however. He's no Noam Chomsky and is even less subtle than Bono. Ham-fisted diatribes like "Amerikhastan" and the title song, "United Abominations," sound tremendously silly with Mustaine's rambling diatribes ("Desperation provides political ground for religious extremism/ This glorious brainwashing where prejudice lies like a crouching tiger/ Tormenting peasants until they erect an army under everyone's nose/ In the end propaganda destroys their DNA.") It's encouraging that a metal dude like Mustaine has opinions about smart bombs and ethnic cleansing, but it's not surprising that they don't mesh with his old-school headbanging sound.