Behold the mouth that roared... and keeps on roaring! Over the past 20-plus years, Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine has made enough outrageous statements to warrant the publication of his own quotation book. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the man has shown no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Where it's typical for people to become more, ahem, "set in their ways" as they age, Mustaine, 46, has found God (a taboo topic in the metal world) and is shifting his once-latent right-wing tendencies into a hyperpatriotic worldview. Strangely, Megadeth's music hasn't necessarily suffered — at least not from those things in particular. Mustaine doesn't explicitly tackle religion in his lyrics, and when it comes to politics, his work still crackles with vitality regardless of whether you support his point of view or not. Musically, however, while Megadeth's new album, United Abominations, sees the band returning to its heavier thrash roots for the second time in a row, it's hard not to feel like Mustaine is playing catchup to his old self. The band simply spent too many years playing thrash-lite to be totally convincing now. On the other hand, Mustaine still possesses some of the most impossibly precise rhythm chops ever demonstrated in the history of thrash — a feat all the more impressive considering that an arm injury nearly ended his career in 2002 — and his current lineup, on any material from 1990 or earlier, is a wonder to behold.

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