“Blackmail the Universe” is a commentary on terrorism and hatred. “Kick the Chair” condemns scandal-hungry press and a legal system that favors the rich. The fall of man, with its sinful desires, is compared to a venomous arachnid on “The Scorpion.” Similarly, “Truth Be Told” uses Scripture to point out mankind’s depravity (though it fails to present any solution). “I never knew how empty my soul was until it was refilled,” states “My Kingdom,” a testimony of sorts for guitarist and front man Dave Mustaine. “Of Mice and Men” relates a lifetime of hard lessons learned and exhorts us, “Live your life and live it well.” “Shadow of Deth” is simply Psalm 23 spoken over heavy guitars. If the metaphorical “Tears in a Vial” is about Mustaine dying to his old self, great. However …
If it’s literally about eliminating a woman from his life, it’s ominous. Songs are consumed with death. “Back in the Day” uses a profanity as it lauds heavy metal’s heyday. “Something That I’m Not” appears to be a bitter rant aimed at hurtful ex-bandmates in Metallica.
In 2002, Mustaine found God while recovering from a nerve injury in his arm. Although still immature in his faith (and needy of Col. 3:13), The System Has Failed reveals a changed man on a spiritual journey.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.