Record Rack

*** Megadeth, "Risk," Capitol. In recent years, Megadeth has been steering its high-octane metal in an increasingly commercial direction. "Risk" doesn't buck the trend, but it's a more dynamic effort than 1997's "Cryptic Writings," with tracks ranging from the sweeping, bittersweet "Breadline" to the hydraulic grind of "Crush 'Em." Richer arrangements (strewn with strings and sitar) add an exotic allure, but it's sharper songwriting that gives this album more bite.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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