By the sound of Dave Mustaine's guitar performance on "The System Has Failed," one would never know he called his career to a halt in 2002 after sustaining a nerve injury to his arm.

By the sound of Dave Mustaine's guitar performance on "The System Has Failed," one would never know he called his career to a halt in 2002 after sustaining a nerve injury to his arm. Other changes are apparent though. Longtime bassist Dave Ellefson is gone, but a shocking blast from the past has returned: Guitarist Chris Poland (a contributor to the band's first two sets) plays lead on most tracks. His interplay with Mustaine could account for the classic Megadeth riffings on "Blackmail the Universe" and "I Know Jack." Fans who resist Mustaine's experimental leanings should lighten up. He cleverly intertwines ticking clocks and plucking strings on "The Scorpion," and "Die Dead Enough" is a gleeful roller coaster of tempo shifts and layered choruses. "Shadow of Deth" misses the mark: A ridiculously affected accent renders its recitation of the 23rd Psalm silly. Lyrically, Mustaine digs into the political environment, per usual, and holds his own life up for inspection ("Of Mice and Men," "Truth Be Told").—CLT

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