Song Of The Day - 18 Dec 2008: Trust (AotY 1997)


Fev 10 2009, 21h35

Megadeth / Trust / Cryptic Writings (1) / Jun 1997

sablespecter's Album of the Year for 1997 (RDF: 75.0%)

At last, Dave Mustaine scores an AotY! After finishing in a close second twice - once to Metallica in 1986 (which I am sure grates on him) and to Judas Priest in 1990 with what was Megadeth's strongest album - Megadeth receives the honor with the final album to feature my favorite lineup, with David Ellefson, Marty Friedman, and Nick Menza. Go ahead and pillory me for doing this with this album, but I'm glad to do this for one of my favorite bands/artists.

A lot of Megadeth fans don't like this album because it does veer away from , but objectively evaluated - and please do put the album into context, considering the two that would follow! - it's a good album with good music. It's important to understand what was going on behind the scenes. Basically, regardless of how much success Dave had had, he didn't think it complete without a #1 (see the infamous "Lars meets with Dave" scene in Some Kind of Monster). That's what was going on here with the more "mainstream" rock songs on the album: a chase for a #1. And that's exactly what he got with today's album-opening selection. What great drums to open the song!

If you can get past the mainstream songs on here like that one, Almost Honest (how did they get that great opening sound?), the very interesting I'll Get Even, and A Secret Place (all of which get dots from me), there is also some kick-ass old-school Megadeth aggression on here, particularly The Disintegrators and the three tracks that close the album. So while it may not be a "typical" Megadeth album and plenty here to give the critics fuel, I think it's objectively a good album. It just does seem odd to be the one to finally score Megadeth an AotY, when two stronger albums couldn't!

Overall another weak year, with just a Top 5 and only two more honorable mentions and just five altogether at the time taking those marked with the "Ø" off the list.

Rounding out the Top Five of 1997 (in order of descending RDF):

Bruce Dickinson: Accident Of Birth (70.8% RDF)
Of all the AotY Awards to this point, the final decision for AotY 1997 is the closest and toughest. Odd considering what a weak year it is overall. The difference in the RDF numbers is only half-dot (Freak gets just a pink dot). This album was also released just two weeks prior to Cryptic Writings. I desparately wanted to give Bruce an AotY award for this, my favorite of his solo albums. I think what I like best about it is his bringing in elements of "otherworldly influences" and aspects of eastern religions. I have an amatuer interest in theories of the former and an intellectual interest in all of the latter, and the alignment with those two interests of mine outside of music are what make the album so appealing to me.

ØIn Flames: Whoracle (63.6% RDF)
When is it OK for a leading melodic death metal band to cover Depeche Mode? (1) When it turns out great. If you listen to DM at all, the darkness of their music is not all that much of a stretch to be so covered anyway. (2) When it fits thematically within a concept album about the fall of human society. And yes, doubtless this album will be debated in metal circles until the actual fall. But it stands as one of their best.

Sarah McLachlan: Surfacing (60.0% RDF)
What's something as soft and wispy as this doing in the AotY rankings of an avowed metal fan? Of course, you have to consider the weakness of the year overall and the lack of competing material, particularly metal material. But still! Frankly, this is one of those instances that demonstrates the eclectic nature of my music interests. I don't mean to sell her short, though. She's got an amazing voice, writes great material, and this album is full of some of her classics.

ØRammstein: Sehnsucht (54.5% RDF)
No matter how much fans around the world may like Rammstein, there is still something peculiarly German about them. That sounds like a stupid thing to say. Of course, they're German. But let me see if I can explain what I mean. With so many bands, their music and performance doesn't necessarily hold so fast or so close to their heritage or country. You know they hail from a particular place, but there's not a lot which makes you aware of it when you listen to the music. (Language is obviously the most common sign. e.g. you listen to Max Cavalera and even though he's singing English lyrics, you know he's from Brazil.)

That's true of course for Rammstein, too, since they sing in German - decisively - listen to Till Lindemann's emphatically rolled R's. In this case, though, I'm talking beyond the language. The German culture has so many facets that are unique to the world, and without being German or at least having a lineage that was German until only relatively recently, they can be - not merely misunderstood - but missed entirely. Many of those facets appear in the music of Rammstein. In some cases, word choices which are merely interesting may actually have a second meaning, or else an allusion which is not clear outside the context of German culture. The title of this album is a particularly interesting case. In the German experience, "sehnsucht" is a "craving" or an intense "yearning" somewhat like nostalgia, but without a definite time or place or thing being missed. There's no great translation for it, but it's like missing something terribly but without being able to describe exactly what it is, or maybe not even knowing what it is, leaving a sense of contented melancholy that accompanies you on your journey through your life. I understand it completely - it very much describes how I feel anytime I take time to look around me and live that examined life. This is touched on not only in the title track, but you can feel it in Alter Mann as well. You can also find some of that great double-meaning wordplay in Du hast.

Honorable Mentions (in roughly alphabetical order by band/artist name):
Foo Fighters: The Colour and the Shape
Fu Manchu: The Action Is Go

Is your favorite album from 1997 on this list? Are there any others you would add?

\m/ (ò_ó) \m/

Ø: For the 1990s AotY Awards, albums which were discovered after the 1990s have been noted with an "Ø" This provides a perspective on how much thinner the album lists were at the time.


  • GrantRS

    Wow, that's a short list. Topped by one of the only two Megadeth releases missing from my collection. It's difficult for me to choose an album this year as it's got to be close between the other Psycho Motel album Welcome to the World, where most of the first album's slightly psychedelic/bluesy hard rock elements (including the singer) were thrown out for a hard hitting grunge/metal sound (and matching singer), and Devin Townsned's Ocean Machine: Biomech. I can hardly bring myself to not pick Ocean Machine, but WttW is my most played album on by a big margin and it is seriously consistent (not to mention features guest appearances from Scott Gorham and Dave Murray). I also love Accident of Birth, but it's not my favourite of Bruce's solo releases. Falling Into Infinity. Much maligned as 'the worst' Dream Theater album by purists and Mike Portnoy himself. Warner essentially bullied the band on the recording of this one and nearly drove them to split up, but the end result is the most song focused Dream Theater have been, not to mention the only full length recording DT did with Derek Sherinian. Here, more than anywhere else in the Dream Theater catalogue, the songs are memorable and not written as an excuse to show off the band's instrumental prowess...though with the 12 minute Lines in the Sand and 13 minute Trial of Tears as well as the instrumental Hell's Kitchen, there's plenty of prog metal awesomeness to go round. If Falling Into Infinity didn't provide an ambitious enough prog feast for 1997, Fates Warning commited to their first concept album A Pleasant Shade Of Gray a bloated but technically impressive 52 minute song split into 12 tracks. Probably not one for keyboard-phobes. Raven released Everything Louder, a strong album that if it were released by Maiden or Priest would've sold a lot better. It's actually a great album, but it didn't push any boundaries and wasn't moving with the times at all. Overkill released From The Underground And Below, which is pretty much the same as Necroshine, but I'm a big fan of both those albums even if you're not. King's X guitarist Ty Tabor self-released [i]Naomi's Solar Pumpkin[/i], a decent collection of laid back songs with Ty's 'Beatles-esque' vocals and some understated but brilliant solos. At least this one sounds like it stood a chance of 90s radio play, even if circumstances were that it didn't have the backing of a record label. Some of the earliest additions to my record collection were in 1997, The Offspring's Ixnay on the Hombre, A's debut How Ace Are Buildings and Feeder's first full length Polythene, which shows how far I've come musically from where I started off, doesn't it? In retrospect though, none of those three were brilliant. Feeder's [i]Polythene[/i] was probably the best of those three a kind of post grunge/heavy rock album with some haphazard riffs and singalong choruses. Sounded great when I was fourteen-fifteen-sixteen, but I now appreciate why they went on to do softer stuff that was (eventually) better written. It is worth checking out Descend though, that one was one hell of a song by any standard. I guess we don't mention anything Priest did with Ripper Ownes though? I actually liked a fair bit of Jugulator.

    Fev 11 2009, 13h40
  • sablespecter

    I can only comment on two of these. I actually like [i]A Pleasant Shade of Gray[/i]! I even had a SotD picked out from this during January and will just have to use it after I "reboot" (see coming Journal entry on that - just means I'm writing off January and February as much as I hate to do it, and restarting with March) [i]Jugulator[/i] is obviously the other, but I only like three songs from it: Burn in Hell, Bullet Train, and Cathedral Spires. And I liked this album better than [i]Demolition[/i]. As much as I like the story of "Ripper" I never dug the JP albums with him. I'll have to find the Psycho Motel album especially for the Dave Murray guest spot, but really because you've told me to check them out.

    Mar 4 2009, 4h35
  • GrantRS

    I quite like APSoG, but it's very difficult to really enjoy bits of it on shuffle which is a big drawback, meaning it can only really be fully appreciated as a whole. Then, when you do play it as a whole there's big gaps of rain sound-effects and keyboard segues, which take away from the feeling that it truly is one song, even if those keyboard parts are played by ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore. By comparison Dream Theater's 2002 album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence featured a title song spread over 8 tracks and 42 minutes that didn't show its seams at all and had far more memorable hooks, an understandable concept/story and one of my favourite slow guitar solos in V. Goodnight Kiss. APSoG is still enjoyable though. Re: Jugulator: Conversely, Cathedral Spires was not one of the tracks I liked on Jugulator. I think if I were doing RDF for Jugulator, most tracks would get half dots, maybe a couple of full dots, but haven't decided which yet, almost certainly Burn in Hell would be a full dot. So it would score somewhere near 50%. Pick up the Psycho Motel album. It might just be the best album of the 90s.

    Mar 4 2009, 13h44
  • sablespecter

    I haven't had a chance to buy the Psycho Motel album, though I did look to see if it was at the shop when I went earlier this week. However, this recommendation provides an opportunity to do two things: (1) I used this album as a trial for Muziic, which I think you'll like given your love of finding things on Youtube. Of course, I don't know what will turn up for you if you try this. In the usual case of bad timing, as soon as I find this and pass it along, i see this news. Apparently this applies only to "licensed" videos, but have you noticed much difference? Can you still see things you've previously linked to in your Journal? (2) A test of my ability to distinguish between Dave Murray-vs.-Adrian Smith soloing on a track I'm not familiar with. More on that in a moment. I was able to find five tracks on the album. Here's my opinion: I cannot listen to Last Chain without hearing Be All, End All in my head, but that doesn't mean it's not good. Earns a dot. A Quarter To Heaven has a nice pulsing urgency to it. I think I'd like it even better with a different vocalist. That doesn't mean Andy Makin is a bad vocalist; he's actually excellent. It's just that the vocal style seems to "feel" mid-/late-90s, and kind of reminds me of something like maybe STP or AiC. Saved by Adrian's work, though, and earns a dot. With You Again: The test! I say Dave Murray opens the guitar break at 2:58, followed by Adrian at 3:16, and then both of them at 3:26, yes? And they both close the song together? Definitely earns a dot. No Loss To Me is no gain to me. Just OK, but not entirely memorable. No dot. The guitar solo is entirely what makes what I like of the title track. The back-and-forth tempo changes kind of bother me, and the first couple of minutes tend to lose my attention. No dot. Unfortunately, I didn't find the track featuring Scott Gorham. What other key tracks am I missing? Based on that limited exposure, my guess is the rest of the album is worth having, especially versus some of the things Bruce Dickinson was doing in the earlier part of the 90s. I might not have added this to the scroll if it wasn't Adrian's band, but it is good enough to be slotted into, say, the top quarter of the scroll and I'll keep my eye out for what turns up at the shops. I don't know that I'd call it the best album of the 90s, or even 1997, but that's just me and based only on five songs. Having a sense of what you like, however, I totally understand your evaluation.

    Mar 11 2009, 5h56
  • GrantRS

    Interesting site. I found six tracks from this album straight away on it. Only one track from the first album though. Presumably the fifth one you didn't mention was either the title track or Into the Black? [quote]I cannot listen to Last Chain without hearing Be All, End All in my head,[/quote] Now you mention it, the chorus melody is quite similar, I have to agree. At least it finishes differently though. [quote]It's just that the vocal style seems to "feel" mid-/late-90s, and kind of reminds me of something like maybe STP or AiC. [/quote] All the articles about the album claim Alice in Chains were Makin's favourite band and that the influence is very prominent. If you prefer the more Classic Rock vocal style though the first album with 21 Guns vocalist Solli might be more your thing. Personally, I obviously love the combination of the Grunge influence with Adrian's style and influences. The first album has more of a Hendrix/Cream/Zeppelin influence than Grunge. [quote]The test! [/quote] Unfortunately, the sleeve doesn't say who plays what, but I agree with you. I love this one, I wish I could say it was a favourite, but I've got about 10 favourites off the 13 track (not counting bonus tracks) album. [quote]No Loss To Me is no gain to me. Just OK, but not entirely memorable. No dot.[/quote] One of the three kinda repetitive ones that I've been able to eliminate from the race to be the favourite, the other two being Rain and Innocence, though they've all grown on me, some more than others though. The Scott Gorham one is I'm Alive., which has a cool main riff and some bluesy solos, it's pretty darn cool, but then I say that about most of the album. As for other key tracks...all of them? You may be able to skip Rain, I guess. Into the Black, Underground, the title track, Something Real, I'm Alive, Hypocrisy. Also the bonus track Wait recorded with first vocalist, Solli, is a good one (IMO of course). [quote]Having a sense of what you like, however, I totally understand your evaluation.[/quote] lol. I'm glad someone has a sense of what I like. I guess I've been saying Soundgarden in the top 5 for every other AotY in half of the 90s so there's obviously some propensity for grunge in me, somewhere and there's a bit of a prog element to Psycho Motel, too, so yeah I suppose you're entitled to come to that conclusion. As for the youtube thing, I heard about that too, but I haven't noticed much difference. I expect it probably mostly applies to videos uploaded by the record companies themselves, but most of the time I'm listening to stuff that's been uploaded illegally in the first place, particularly in my nwobhm research, so I've yet to notice a difference though I've not trawled through the journal to find dead links yet. When you get bored of Welcome to the World, you'll have to check the Devin Townsend one too as that's monumentally awesome as well.

    Mar 11 2009, 9h02
  • sablespecter

    Yes, the fifth track was the title track. That and the four I mentioned were the only five I found, so you did one better. [quote]The first album has more of a Hendrix/Cream/Zeppelin influence than Grunge[/quote] In that case, I'm almost certain to like it better. I'll have to give it a listen. If I do like it better, won't it be interesting to have in a single band an encapsulation of both the overlap and the divergence of our tastes. I'm definitely wanting to hear "I'm Alive" based on that description. I'll have to try some of the other streaming services. Glad to know the youtube FUBAR isn't cramping your style (yet).

    Mar 13 2009, 3h30
  • GrantRS

    Do you want me to just bundle both Psycho Motel albums into a 'care package'? I'm guessing I probably owe you, right? Obviously though if you end up liking what you hear I do thoroughly encourage you to line some pockets somewhere. Not sure what exactly you mean with the overlap and divergence of tastes comment since I'm a big fan of both albums, I just think the second one is better (i.e. more consistent). You really have to hear Western Shore from the first album though it's one of the best ballads...err...ever?

    Mar 13 2009, 12h47
  • sablespecter

    By encapsulation: overlap in that we like the band, but divergence in that you would prefer the one that's more grunge-influenced, and I would prefer the one that's more Hendrix/Cream/Zeppelin influenced. Of course I would love a listen to a care package. It would make it simpler than scrounging for youtube and other streams!

    Mar 17 2009, 3h26
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