Worth The Risk

G'head, give it a try — you'll find plenty of accelerated lane-change-without-signaling riffs.

Outside of Ted Nugent at his cat-scratchiest, I can't really think of

another musician whose new albums I look forward to more for the accompanying

press material than for the music itself than Megadeth's ever-quotable

leader, Dave Mustaine.

Perhaps you've seen the video for "Crush 'Em," which features noted

nonmusical headbangers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Goldberg. Well, here's

Dave's comment on the video: "As a martial artist, I respect Van Damme,

and I admire Goldberg's athletic abilities." Note that there's nary a

word here about Van Damme as an actor or Goldberg as a wrestler —

Mustaine ingeniously says something technically nice about these two

testosterone-clogged clods without having to address the reality-check

fact that if you handed both of them paper bags, Van Damme couldn't act

his way out and Goldberg couldn't fight his way out. Brilliant!

The impetus for penning "Crush 'Em" (RealAudio

excerpt), Mustaine explains, stems from his love of ... hockey!

"I go to a lot of Phoenix Coyotes games and whenever they score a goal,

they play 'Rock and Roll, Part II' by Gary Glitter, and I'm just tired

of that song. I thought maybe we could do something that is celebratory

and inspiring."

So, dig, you've got this great visual combination of Coyote goalie (best

name in the NHL) Nikolai Khabibulin making a skate save with one of

Glitter's foot-high platform boots "inspiring" a knuckle-scraping stomp

whose chorus sounds an awful lot like Alice Cooper's "School's Out"

— which actually makes it even cooler, since it only adds to the

fun of trying to figure out precisely what goes on in that mysterious

space between our boy Mustaine's sonically addled ears that results in

the kind of stuff found on (bet you thought we'd never get to it!)

Megadeth's new collection, Risk.

Take the leadoff track, "Insomnia" (RealAudio

excerpt). Now we all know that when he was just a young cracked

pup, Mustaine was a member of Metallica, and they had that big bit with

"Enter Sandman." With "Insomnia," however, Mustaine and crew create enough

hellacious noise to make damn sure nobody gets to Never-Neverland.

And we just love the fact that whenever there's a semblance of melody

lurking about — as on "Breadline" [RealAudio

excerpt] (great song, by the way), "I'll Be There" and "Ecstasy"

— they throw in a tambourine to subliminally get you thinking more

pop than thrash.

Either way, though, sturm or drang, what you get throughout this

album fits quite nicely into the basic Megadeth (as they say on the police

blotter) "profile": Plenty of accelerated lane-change-without-signaling

riffs, plenty of lyrical references to the wages (not to mention the 401K

plans) of sin, and besides, what can be said about Dave Mustaine's

caterwauling vocal that he himself can't say far better than we?

"I took vocal lessons before I went in the studio," discloses Dave, "Which

helped me improve my posture and technique."

To which all we can say is if improved posture makes you sound like Geddy

Lee being scalded in the shower — a sound Mustaine approximates on

the frighteningly Rush-like "Time: The Beginning" — perhaps he should

think about seeing a chiropractor rather than a vocal coach next time