Megadeth’s main rattlehead, Dave Mustaine, is back after a three-year hiatus and is just as pissed off as ever. In the ’80s he was angry at politicians, women and his former Metallica bandmates; now he’s just mad at everyone, realizing that all those things have actually gotten worse – including Metallica.

Plus, he’s found Christ. This all contributes to a very odd Megadeth album. Mustaine is just as angry, but instead of expressing it in the blazing guitar solos of his early work, he’s taken a more musically diverse approach, tempering the thrash with more rock and groove-oriented riffs.

The System Has Failed is the product of 19 years of Megadeth, and it shows. “Blackmail the Universe” and “Kick the Chair” hark back to the biting wit and killer guitar work of 1990’s Rust in Peace. “Die Dead Enough” and “Tears in a Vial” are reminiscent of the more commercial ballads of 1997’s Cryptic Writings, and “The Scorpion” is uncomfortably close to 1999’s failed Risk.

I hate to use the phrase “more mature,” but you can definitely tell that Mustaine has honed his ire to a razor-sharp point, creating a solid album as a result. However, it would be nice to see Mustaine do something new with Megadeth instead of rehashing past glories and mistakes.

Grade: C+

The System Has Failed is currently available.