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Megadeth - The System Has Failed

Just yesterday we celebrated his birthday, and today one of his albums - "The System Has Failed", released in 2004, is also celebrating a birthday.

No, it was not a mistake, the album does bear the name of the band "Megadeth" but it can be said that it is a solo album by Dave Mustaine.

Beyond the fact that Dave wrote and composed all the songs on the album without exception, this is the only "Megadeth" album in which Mustaine participates as the only band member, with all the other musicians being session players, who are not official members of the band. Although Chris Poland plays the lead guitar here, he does so as an "employee" and not as an official member of the band.

This is Mustaine's return album after his 2002 hand injury. As you may recall, in 2002 Mustaine suffered a very strange injury when he fell asleep in an unusual position on his arm in a way that almost caused him necrosis. In a statement he released in early 2002, he announced that he was disbanding "Megadeth" in the face of a hand injury that prevented him from playing. Dave noted that doctors believe it will take him a year to recover from the injury and even then it was unclear whether he will be able to continue playing. Eventually, Mustaine recovered faster than expected and even returned to satisfactory playing ability.

Immediately after Dave returned to play he began writing the material for a new album that he intended to release as a solo album. However, a contractual commitment to the record company forced him to release the album under the name of "Megadeth" and that is the only reason this album did not come out as his solo album.

Dave contacted his bandmate and one of "Megadeth" founders, bassist David Ellefson, to play on the album, but Ellefson refused due to financial disputes. Ellefson will return to the band only three albums later, in 2010.

In a sense, this Mustaine's album is his attempt to "go back to roots", after a few commercial albums "Megadeth" released in the '90s, and is also probably Megadeth's most thrash album since "Rust In Peace".

Three singles were released from the album: "Die Dead Enough" which was written for the soundtrack of the movie "Tomb Raider II", but did not end up there due to budget issues, "Of Mice and Men" in which Mustaine talks about adolescence, his great ambitions and about being Fired From Metallica when he was 25 and "The Scorpion" in which Mustaine even plays his first solo after recovering from injury.

The album features two instrumental tracks: "Shadow of Deth" which has a quote from chapter 23 of the Book of Psalms and the short "I Know Jack" which includes a quote from Senator Lloyd Bentsen's response to Senator Dan Quayle during a 1988 election campaign.

And there's also "Back in the Day" which includes some riffs that reminded us of "Iron Maiden" and refers to the days of the beginning of the metal scene in Los Angeles (see a clip from the period), "Blackmail The Universe" which begins with the new headlines announcing the allegedly shot down of "Air Force One" in the Middle East, "Something That I'm Not" which also refers to Dave's feelings following him being Fired From Metallica, feelings he still struggles with at the time of writing and "Tears in a Vial" that Mustaine wrote Shortly after he disbanded "Megadeth" in 2002 and his thoughts of replacing "success" with "happiness".

The album cover also broadcasts "Back to the Roots" as it is reminiscent in style of the band's first albums, especially "Rust In Peace", which also featured pictures of world leaders, in this case, senior US administration President G. George W. Bush, President Clinton and his wife Hillary, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Mustaine noted that the work on the album was "liberating", he felt freer in the creation and recording process and with much more control over the result, something he claimed had not happened since the band's first two albums.

And the result was accordingly. The album received mostly positive reviews and went straight to 18th place on the Billboard 200 list. After its release, Mustaine built a new lineup of the band and went on a tour to promote the album. During the tour, the double and successful live album "That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires" was also recorded, it was also released in 2007 as a DVD.

For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music

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