The World Needs a Hero
|The World Needs a Hero|
|Studio album by Megadeth|
|Released||May 12, 2001|
|Recorded||2000 at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood; additional overdubs at Saltmine Studios in Mesa, Arizona and Scream Studios in Studio City, California|
|Producer||Bill Kennedy, Dave Mustaine|
The World Needs a Hero is the ninth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released in May 2001 (see release history) through Sanctuary Records. After the failure of the band's previous album Risk (1999), The World Needs a Hero represented a change back to a heavier musical direction. Subsequently, the album charted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 upon release.
After parting with former label Capitol Records, the album was the first of two Megadeth studio albums to be released by Sanctuary. It was the last of two studio albums to feature drummer Jimmy DeGrasso as well as the only one to feature Al Pitrelli on lead guitar. Furthermore, The World Needs a Hero was the last album to feature original bassist Dave Ellefson until his return to Megadeth in 2010 and the following album, Thirteen (2011). Additionally, band mascot Vic Rattlehead appears on the cover of a Megadeth album for the first time since Rust in Peace (1990).
Background and production
In 1999, Megadeth released their eighth studio album, Risk. The album was noteworthy for being a drastic musical departure for the band, and the culmination of the band's increasing attempts at mainstream success throughout the 1990s, a trend starting with Countdown to Extinction (1992). The World Needs a Hero marks a stylistic transition back towards the band's thrash metal roots. Furthermore, the album had actually been touted by the band as an "antidote" to Risk in a press release. However, the album has been noted by several music critics as still retaining some commercial feel from previous albums.
According to Mustaine, the album title refers to stereotypical rock stars. When asked about the matter, and an earlier comment about Axl Rose having killed the traditional rock star image, Mustaine complained that "People want heroes. Most bands look like average Joes, wearing gas-station shirts, have funky hair-dos and I think people wanna be able to go "they may not be popular, but they're MY band." Mustaine then went on to say that many of contemporary rock music groups looked and sounded the same, and that the music industry needed a hero. He then proceeded to contrast a perceived lack of image of then current music scenes with the image of 80s metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
In another interview, however, Mustaine offered a more straightforward interpretation of the album title. Commenting on negative stories in the news, such as wars and natural disasters, Mustaine inferred that the world at that time was in need of a hero to solve various problems around the planet. The album cover is of Vic Rattlehead breaking out of Dave Mustaine.
The album's lead single was "Moto Psycho", and a video was also made for this song. The song is about people who commute every day to work, spending a lot of time on the road. "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" was previously released as a new track on the Capitol Punishment compilation a year earlier, at the insistence of Megadeth's former label, Capitol Records.
The album's opener, "Disconnect", is explained by Mustaine as being about living a double life and "the person I want you to think that I am and the person inside that I really know I am." "Coming Home" was only available on the Japanese pressing as a bonus track, but has since been released on the Warchest box set. Mustaine has stated that concept for "Promises" is "prejudiced relationships," such as those between a Catholic and a Protestant in Ireland, interracial and same-sex relationships, "it could be about a guy and a sheep for all I care. It just means that if we can't be together in this life, maybe we'll make it in the next." When asked if "Recipe for Hate... Warhorse" was written about any particular person, Mustaine said that there were "a whole bunch of people that'd probably deserve that song," but didn't single out anyone in particular. "Silent Scorn" is an instrumental song which is often played over the sound system at concerts; this can be heard on the band's live album Rude Awakening (2002) right after the final song in the band's set, "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due". "Return to Hangar" is a sequel to "Hangar 18" from Rust in Peace; the captive aliens from the first song escape and kill their captors. On the live albums Rude Awakening and That One Night (2007) it is even played back-to-back with "Hangar 18". The main riff and structure of "When", the album's closing number, is reminiscent of "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head, which Mustaine has said was intentional.
Following the breakup of the band in 2002, six of the album's songs appeared on Still Alive... and Well?, a 2002 compilation combining studio tracks from The World Needs a Hero, with six live tracks.
Release and promotion
The album was released on May 15, 2001 in the United States and sold 61,000 copies in its first week of release, entering the Billboard 200 at number 16. The album sold another 25,000 copies in its second week, falling to number 59. The album also charted in Germany (#36), Poland (#17), Sweden (#38) and Switzerland (#55) as well. By December 2005, The World Needs a Hero had sold about 219,000 copies in the United States.
Megadeth started on a tour to promote the album on June 8, 2001 at Milton Keynes National Bowl in England where they were featured alongside acts like AC/DC, The Offspring and Queens of the Stone Age. An appearance at the Dynamo Festival in the Netherlands was cancelled without explanation. A show scheduled for August 2, 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was cancelled after Megadeth was banned from performing in the country due to the band's imagery being considered "unsuitable".
|Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles||7.5/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The World Needs a Hero received generally mediocre reviews and was regarded as a "return to Megadeth's roots" by critics. Writing for AllMusic, reviewer Steve Huey opined that Mustaine "tries to conjure memories of [Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction]", but while comparing "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" to "Sweating Bullets" (from Countdown to Extinction in 1992) also said that much of the material "feels like rehashed Megadeth lite". Huey critiqued the production as still being "radio-friendly" and said because of that, the group "never quite kicks up the fury or flash of past glories". Neil Arnold of Metal Forces wrote that even though the album was "lacking the menace of the band’s earlier work", it was still "a more accomplished effort than their previous offering". He concluded that Megadeth were "clearly opting for melody over aggression", albeit rarely "breaking into thrash mode".
Meanwhile, reviewer Greg Pratt of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles was more sympathetic towards the album. Pratt, after briefly critiquing the lack of a thrashy sound on the record, positively compared the record to Youthanasia (1994) or Countdown to Extinction. Additionally, he commented that even in the absence of longtime members Nick Menza and Marty Friedman, that the band still sounded good. Pratt reacted positively to a number of the album's songs, but cited "Recipe for Hate... Warhorse" as being the album's "most intense moment". Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic had mixed feelings about the music on the record. While Stagno noted that the album was advertised as a return towards the band's roots, he explained that those who were hoping for an album in the style of the band's first four records (Killing is My Business... and Business is Good! through Rust in Peace) would be disappointed. Stagno ultimately defined the album as "more of an all-out metal record".
In The Rolling Stone Album Guide, the album received two out of a possible five stars. The World Needs a Hero was described as "sluggish" and "retrograde" and was called a "step back for the band". Orlando Weekly's John Engels felt that the void left by former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman was successfully filled by the newcomer Al Pitrelli. However, he noted that the album occasionally sounds repetitive, and criticized a number of songs for their "childish" lyrics. Marty Friedman stated he was "a little disappoint[ed]" by the album. Friedman specifically singled out the album's cover for criticism, though he also commented that he thought that the music was "very well done".
All lyrics written by Dave Mustaine, all music composed by Mustaine, except where noted.
|2.||"The World Needs a Hero"||3:52|
|4.||"1000 Times Goodbye"||6:25|
|6.||"Promises" (music: Mustaine, Al Pitrelli)||4:28|
|7.||"Recipe for Hate... Warhorse"||5:18|
|8.||"Losing My Senses"||4:40|
|9.||"Dread and the Fugitive Mind"||4:25|
|10.||"Silent Scorn" (instrumental)||1:42|
|11.||"Return to Hangar"||3:59|
|Japanese edition bonus track|
- The tracklisting of the Japanese edition features the bonus track, "Coming Home", as track 3; "Moto Psycho" becomes track 4 and all subsequent songs are also bumped one track back.
Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes, except where otherwise noted.
|Austrian Albums Chart||59|
|Dutch Albums Chart||80|
|Finnish Albums Chart||23|
|French Albums Chart||28|
|German Albums Chart||36|
|Polish Albums Chart||17|
|Swedish Albums Chart||38|
|Swiss Albums Chart||94|
|US Billboard 200||16|
|Japan||May 12, 2001|
|Europe||May 14, 2001|
|United States||May 15, 2001|
- The World Needs A Hero liner notes. Sanctuary Records. 2001. pp. 2, 4–5, 8–11.
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