Megadeth was formed by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson, both of whom remained the only original members to stay in the group from 1984 through 2002. Early lineups featured guitarists Kerry King (Slayer), Greg Handevidt (Kublai Khan) and Chris Poland (Damn the Machine) among others. Of course everybody knows that Dave Mustaine was in Metallica for a short time before being booted out and creating one of the most well publicized feuds in metal history. Megadeth gave us some great speed metal in the 80's and they continued release heavy albums into the 90's. Like Metallica, in their later years, they began writing more radio friendly metal.

In April of 2002 Mustaine abruptly announced his departure from the band, and thus the dissolution of Megadeth, after nearly 20 years with the band. The triggering event was an arm injury suffered earlier that year, forcing him to stop guitar playing for a spell. Just over a year later, he regained his guitar-playing form thanks to physical therapy, and put together a new Megadeth project, without longtime bassist Dave Ellefson. Working with Mustaine on these new recordings were new recruits Jimmy Sloas and Vinnie Colaiuta, along with a guest performance from none other than early Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. (Rumors even flew around that renounced drummer Terry Bozzio was performing drums on the studio recording, which proved to be false.) Unfortunately this created yet another well publicized media frenzy for Megadeth between Mustaine and Ellefson.

In 2004 Mustaine remixed and remastered all the older albums, including the MD45 project with new vocals by Mustaine. Some fans complained that parts had been changed and re-recorded as well. That same year the new studio album, "The System Has Failed" was released. The new band toured relentlessly for this new album with Mustaine creating his own version of Ozzfest, called Gigantour.

Without Mustaine, there is no thrash metal at all!
-Scott Ian, Get Thrashed

84 demo Megadeth - 1984 demo & Live At Ruthie's Inn, Berkeley, CA 11-3-1984 (CDR)

1984 demo
1. "Last Rites/Loved To Death" [demo] (4:33)
2. "Mechanix" [demo] (4:13)
3. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" [demo] (3:29)
Live At Ruthie's Inn 1984
4. "Loved to Death" [live] (1:53)
5. "Mechanix" [live] (4:32)
6. "Chosen One" [live] (4:01)
7. "Killing Is My Business" [live] (3:06)
8. "Looking Down the Cross" [live] (4:50)
9. "Blood and Honor" [live] (5:05)
10. "These Boots" [live] (5:43)
11. "Next Victim"" [live] (5:27)
12. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" [live] (4:27)
13. "Black Friday" [live] (5:42)
14. "Rattlehead" [live] (3:57)

Ripped from an original demo tape, the first three songs on this bootleg sound better to me than the tracks on the remastered "Killing is My Business". The rest of this boot consists of live tracks from Megadeth before the release of "Killing is My Business". The sound quality here is, of course, crap. However, it's still a cool listen. Hearing Dave be his bad self in a small club in front of a small crowd of die-hard heavy metal fans is quite cool. On top of this there are a few rarities on here including an early version of "Black Friday" and a song titled "Blood and Honor". According to Dave's in-between song banter, "Blood and Honor" was originally to be the title of the first Megadeth album. This song contains parts of what eventually would be "Wake Up Dead". Cool cover art to boot and features a couple of shots of Dave actually shot at the Ruthie's Inn show.

Megadeth - Killing is My Business...and Business is Good! (Combat) 1985

1."Last Rites/Loved to Death" (4:34)
2."Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!" (3:02)
3."Skull Beneath the Skin" (3:43)
4."These Boots" (3:41)
5."Rattlehead" (3:39)
6."Chosen Ones" (2:52)
7."Looking Down the Cross" (4:58)
8."Mechanix" (4:23)

"Killing Is My Business..." was as aggressive as anything Metallica ever did; as a matter of fact this first album by Dave Mustaine and Co. sounds very similar to Metallica's thrash opus "Kill 'Em All". The reason for this, of course, was that Megadeth's Dave Mustaine wrote fur of the song from that album as well. The production on "Killing is My Business" is awful and the mastering, well, it is just as bad, but we didn't care at the time. It was metal; heavy, fast, aggressive and if you play it loud enough, it sounded good enough to crush a skull or two. "Mechanix" was actually written while Dave was in Metallica and is an early incarnation of "The Four Horsemen."

"Imagine my shock when Metallica's debut album, Kill 'Em All, was released in the summer of 1983, and four of my songs were included: "The Four Horsemen" (formerly "Mechanix"), "Jump in the Fire", "Phantom Lord", and "Metal Militia". The same four songs that had been included on the No Life Till Leather demo. The writing credits were altered to reflect changes made in the songs during the recording process, and, I can only speculate, to minimize my contribution. Each of these songs were primarily mine, and yet James or Lars (or both) took a share in the credit for all four songs. On each, my name was placed last, so that the songwriting credit for "Jump in the Fire," for example, reads as follows: Hetfield/Ulrich/Mustaine.

I listened to these songs with a blend of wonder and indignant. I couldn't believe they would use my songs after throwing me out of the band. They never contacted me, never asked my permission. They just did it. To suggest that the modifications made to these songs somehow reflect a collegial atmosphere or a more balanced division of labor is equally inaccurate. The day after I was dismissed from Metallica, Kirk Hammet was in New York, taking my place in the Music Building, auditioning for my role in the band, and mimicking the blistering lead guitar solos I had created, solos that stand today as the genesis of thrash metal."
-Dave Mustaine, Mustaine, p. 101

Killing Is My Business 2002 Megadeth - Killing Is My Business...And Business is Good (Loud) 2002 reissue

1. "Last Rites/Loved to Deth" (4:41)
2. "Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good" (3:07)
3. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" (3:48)
4. "Rattlehead" (3:43)
5. "Chosen Ones" (2:55)
6. "Looking Down the Cross" (5:02)
7. "Mechanix" (4:25)
8. "These Boots" (4:39)
9. "Last Rites/Loved to Deth" [demo version] (4:16)
10. "Mechanix" [demo version] (3:59)
11. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" [demo version] (3:11)

The 2002 reissue of Megadeth's thrash metal debut contains three bonus demo tracks. The eight original tracks have all been remixed and sound sonically superior to the original CD release. However, the new edits to "These Boots" are quite annoying. I would have rather they just left the song off than butcher it the way they did. It was funny the first time through, but the novelty quickly wears off. The booklet contains interesting liner notes and comments about each song from Dave Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson. According to the liner notes, the new cover art is similar to what the band originally intended. I really never though the original was all that bad, but apparently Mustaine and Ellefson were "mortified" by the original cover.

Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
(Capitol) 1986

1."Wake Up Dead" (3:39)
2."The Conjuring" (5:02)
3."Peace Sells" (4:02)
4."Devil's Island" (5:04)
5."Good Mourning/Black Friday" (6:39)
6."Bad Omen" (4:03)
7."I Ain' t Superstitious" (2:44)
8."My Last Words" (4:48)

This disc will ever be relegated to classic status. "Wake Up Dead" and "Peace Sells" were Headbanger's Ball staples for the longest time, and why not, they are phenomenal songs. Both songs shred and are filled with monster riffs and guitar solos galore. The whole album, however, is excellent. The lyrics on this album were typical of the stupid "look how evil we are" mentality of metal at the time, but songs like "Peace Sells" were the beginnings of more intelligent, political and/or socially conscious lyrics that Megadeth would soon master. "I Ain't Superstitious" is a charged up version of Willie Dixon's blues classic that was made famous by Howlin' Wolf.

The title track was covered by Milan thrashers Boarders.

Gar Samuelson, Chris Poland, Dave Mustaine, Dave Ellefson

Megadeth - So Far, So Good...So What!
(Capitol) 1988

1. "Into the Lungs of Hell" [instrumental] (3:29)
2. "Set the World Afire" (5:47)
3. "Anarchy in the U.K." (3:00)
4. "Mary Jane" (4:24)
5. "502" (3:27)
6. "In My Darkest Hour" (6:16)
7. "Liar" (3:20)
8. "Hook in Mouth" (4:40)

So Far, So Good...So What! Line-up:
Chuck Behler, Jeff Young, Dave Mustaine, Dave Ellefson

At this point Dave was so strung out on drugs and alcohol that it really showed in his music. The band also had a new drummer and a new guitarist, so one might expect a massive change in sound. However, that was not really the case. "So Far..." takes up where "Peace Sells..." left off. Dave's chemically enhanced rage spews forth into some powerful songs like "Liar" and "502", which is a song about drinking and driving. I have read that the song is an anti-DWI song but the lyrics read more like an account of a drinking and driving incident. "Hook and Mouth" is a thrasher that was actually a song written for "Killing is My Business" but was not recorded (except for some live bootlegs) until this album. "In My Darkest Hour" is a dark song with lyrics based on a relationship gone bad. However, the song itself was written by Dave upon hearing the news that his friend and former band-mate Cliff Burton had passed away while on tour in Europe. This is most certainly one of Megadeth's signature songs. "Anarchy in the U.K." is a Sex Pistol's cover given a thrash metal overhaul. The song became a minor hit for the band. My favorite tracks, however, are the shredding album opener and instrumental, "Into the Lungs of Hell" and the thrashing follow-up song "Set the World Afire". These are both prime Megadeth!

To tell you the truth, if I had to do it all over again I would never have joined Metallica. That's caused me more headaches than it's worth. Hell, I got ripped off worse in drug deals when I was a kid, but the crap with Metallica comes close. They stole me blind...all I know is that Lars told me they weren't gonna use any or my material on their last album, and then I'm listening to the radio and I hear "Leper Messiah". I couldn't believe it. I was the one who talked abut the "Leper messiah" in Ziggy Stardust. I was the one who wrote half of the god-damned song, and they were saying they weren't using any more of my stuff. And this time I didn't even get credit for it. So I went to Lars and said, 'So Lars, The Hills Run Red, eh' that was the name of the song I wrote. All he could do was give me a blank look  and go, "Oh.". Those dudes ripped me off again..."
- Dave Mustaine, Hit Parader, Oct. 1987, p.29

Italy's Boarders recorded a cover of "In My Darkest Hour".

Megadeth - Rust in Peace (Capitol) 1990

1."Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" (6:34)
2."Hangar 18" (5:12)
3."Take No Prisoners" (3:27)
4."Five Magics" (5:41)
5."Poison Was the Cure" (2:57)
6."Lucretia" (3:57)
7."Tornado of Souls" (5:21)
8."Dawn Patrol" (1:49)
9."Rust in Peace...Polaris" (5:37)

This album is a thrash metal masterpiece! Dave had sobered up (slightly) and the everything improved because of it. The riffs are more manic, Mustaine's vocals sound more cynical and twisted then ever, the rhythm section is incredibly tight and the production is far superior to anything the band had recorded thus far. "Rust in Peace" was the first album with the now classic Megadeth line-up of: Dave Mustaine (vocals, guitars), David Ellefson (bass), Marty Friedman (ex-Cacaphony/Hawaii, guitars), and Nick Menza (drums). Friedman added a new dimension to the already proficient team of Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson. The music is tight, fast, and the sonics are superior to anything up to this point. Every song is essential Megadeth. Over the years "Rust in Peace" has remained my favorite Megadeth album and is also a fan favorite. In 2010 the band toured for the 20th anniversary of the album performing the album from front to back (see below).

Dave Mustaine & Marty Friedman

Megadeth 1990
Megadeth "Rest in Peace" 8x10 promo photo

Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction (Capitol) 1992

1."Skin O' My Teeth" (3:13)
2."Symphony of Destruction" (4:02)
3."Architecture of Aggression" (3:33)
4."Foreclosure of a Dream" (4:16)
5."Sweating Bullets" (5:03)
6."This Was My Life" (3:41)
7."Countdown to Extinction" (4:16)
8."High Speed Dirt" (4:12)
9."Psychotron" (4:41)
10."Captive Honour" (4:14)
11."Ashes in Your Mouth" (6:10)

Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine, Nick Menza, David Ellefson & Marty Friedman

The Beatles had their "White Album," Metallica had their black album and Megadeth their superior "Countdown to Extinction." The album debuted on the Billboard Charts at #2 and sold double (or was it triple) platinum, thanks in part to the incredible single "Symphony of Destruction." The song is heavy as a ten ton bomb, yet packs an undeniable pop hook. This is one thing Dave has always had a knack for, despite being one of the forefathers of thrash metal he's always had a keen sense of melody and knew how to write a hook.

I've heard it said that "Countdown to Extinction"  was a sellout, but I do not hear that at all. Just because a band gains popularity and puts out a popular record doesn't necessarily mean they have turned their back on their roots and gone pop. Opening song, "Skin O' My Teeth" is  just as fast and aggressive as anything Megadeth had recorded to this point. The song is about botched suicide attempts and/or Mustaine's struggle with destructive addictions. "High Speed Dirt," another fast and furious tune, is about sky diving.

Many song on this album touched on politics, Dave's insidious hiss spewing venom with each and every word. "Architecture of Aggression" is heaviness defined and would have been at home on "Rust in Peace" as it is here. The song touches on the subject of the Gulf War. "Foreclosure of a Dream" is a more melodic number and gives an indication of the direction the band would take with their follow-up album. From accounts that I have read, the song was inspired by David Ellefson's frustration with Reganomics and his family's farm being foreclosed on. Unlike past albums, "Countdown to Destruction" had contributions from more than just Mustaine. The albums title and the lyrics to the title track were penned by drummer Nick Menza. The song, as well as "Ashes in Mouth" about the fallout from war. "Sweating Bullets" is a twisted mid-paced romp and has become one of the Mustaine's signature tracks. (If you listen very closely to the end of Ultimatum's cover of "Moto Psycho" you'll hear the line "hello me, meet the real me" in regards to this song.)

"Countdown to Extinction" was Megadeth's best produced album yet. Producer Max Norman, who also put the finishing touches on "Rust in Peace", did an excellent job producing this heavy metal masterwork. Despite the cries of "sellout" from some metal purists, "Countdown to Extinction" is a phenomenal heavy metal album.

Megadeth - Foreclosure of a Dream (Capitol) 1992

1. "Foreclosure of a Dream" (4:17)
2. "Skin Of My Teeth" [live] (4:03)
3. "Foreclosure of a Dream" [edit] (4:00)

I never could fork over the money for all the singles that Megadeth were releasing at this time. The cool thing about them was that they had live tracks included. I found this one used for a couple of bucks so I snatched it up. "Foreclosure of a Dream" is a political song about the decay of America and it's government. The intro to the live version of "Skin Oí My Teeth" is STUPID! Dave claiming the song is "about how many times I tried to kill myself and just couldn't get the job done." Nice huh?!?!

Also have the "Symphony of Destruction" single on cassette with a remixed version of "Symphony of Destruction" by Trent Reznor. Whoopy!

Megadeth - Youthanasia (Capitol) 1994

1."Reckoning Day" (4:35)
2."Train of Consequences" (3:26)
3."Addicted to Chaos" (5:26)
4."A Tout le Monde" (4:27)
5."Elysian Fields" (4:03)
6."The Killing Road" (3:57)
7."Blood of Heroes" (3:57)
8."Family Tree" (4:07)
9."Youthanasia" (4:09)
10."I Thought I Knew it All" (3:44)
11."Black Curtains" (3:39)
12."Victory" (4:26)

"Youthanasia" is a very different Megadeth from the thrash metal band that we all loved from the 80's. The sound is decisively more melodic yet still quite heavy with the buzz saw guitars and Mustaine's trademark snarl vocals. What is mostly lacking is the speed and aggression of the past. Yes, this was a more radio-friendly Megadeth, not unlike Metallica's self titled album and it paid off for the band. "Youthanasia" was another commercial success for Megadeth and was their fastest selling album to date, shipping platinum. Despite the more commercial appeal, I really like this album. It's melodic metal with a slight pop sheen. "Train of Consequences" is an excellent Megadeth composition with a simple, crunchy guitar riff. "Victory" is a cool song as the lyrics are made up of no less than 20 other Megadeth song titles. "Addicted to Choas" is a crushingly heavy song as is "Black Curtains", though both retain a very melodic nature as well. No, it's not thrash metal, but it's still heavy metal and it's still Megadeth.

The album title is obviously a play on words and not meant as an outright promotion or endorsement of euthanasia or suicide, as some were wrongly accusing the band at the time. Actually, according to Dave's autobiography the song was, "...merely a play on word, intended as a sly reference to the numbing effect of societal influence on the youth of America." (p. 262, Mustaine)


Dave Mustaine and his Flying W

Megadeth - Train of Consequences (Capitol) 1994

1. "Train of Consequences" (3:28)
2. "Crown of Worms" (3:21)
4. "Peace Sells" [live] (4:14)
5. "Ashes in Your Mouth" [live] (6:29)
6. "Anarchy in the U.K." [live] (4:09)

A rare collector's single that remains essential to Megadeth die-hards for the unreleased song, "Crown of Worms". I have been told this song was to originally appear on 'Youthanasia' but was left off at the last minute. This would explain the picture in the insert in the U.S. version of 'Youthanasia'.

Megadeth - Hidden Treasures (Capitol) 1995

1."No More Mr. Nice Guy" (3:02)
2."Breakpoint" (3:29)
3."Go to Hell" (4:36)
4."Angry Again" (3:47)
5."99 Ways to Die" (3:58)
6."Paranoid" (2:32)
7."Diadems" (3:55)
8."Problems" (3:57)

Not unlike Anthrax's "KillerB's," Megadeth released this ep of material that had all been released on compilations, soundtracks or whatever. "No More Mr. Nice Guy," an Alice Cooper song, was originally recorded for the "Shocker" soundtrack. The video for this song was banned by MTV due to Dave's portrayal of a person being electrocuted. "Go to Hell" was on the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack, "Breakpoint," a phenomenal Megadeth tune, appeared on the Super Mario Bros. soundtrack. "Angry Again" was a huge radio hit for Megadeth and originally appeared on the excellent Last Action Hero. "99 Ways to Die," yet another suicide song, appeared on the Beavis & Butthead soundtrack. "Diadems" was from "Tales from the Crypt" soundtrack. "Paranoid" is an excellent Black Sabbath cover and "Problems" is the second Sex Pistols cover that Megadeth has done. I sort of wish they would have also included all those live b-side tracks on this disc, but other than that minor complaint, this is actually a decent Megadeth cd.

Megadeth - Cryptic Writings (Capitol) 1997

1. "Trust" (5:11)
2. "Almost Honest" (4:03)
3. "Use the Man" (4:36)
4. "Mastermind" (3:45)
5. "The Disintegrators" (2:50)
6. "I'll Get Even" (4:24)
7. "Sin" (3:06)
8. "A Secret Place" (5:25)
9. "Have Cool, Will Travel" (3:25)
10. "She-Wolf" (3:36)
11. "Vortex" (3:35)
12. "FFF" (2:38)

OK, I was still loving Dave and Co. at this point so I rushed out to buy this one as a new release. BIG, BIG mistake! Holy cow, this doesn't even sound like Megadeth as they jump head long into pop metal, or better described as melodic hard rock. "Disintegrators" is a fast number that brings back memories of days gone by, and "Trust" and "She-Wolf" are good songs but the majority of this album is a let down, especially to long time fans. I guess Megadeth will have to cope with having 10 year old kids as fans as that is who likes this kind of stuff (not unlike Metallica's recent releases).

The disc came with a cool collector's card with a pic of Vic Rattlehead, who used to adorn Megadeth's covers. I saw Megadeth on this tour with Machine Head opening and these new songs sounded much better live mixed in with all the classics.

The "Duke Nuke-Music to Score By" Soundtrack contains two stellar Megadeth cuts, "Duke Nukem Theme" and "New World Order." Both songs are excellent speed metal symphonies.

Megadeth - Live Trax (Capitol/Japan) 1997

1. "Reckoning Day/Peace Sells" [live] (8:19)
2. "Angry Again" [live] (3:46)
3. "Use the Man" [live] (4:24)
4. "She-wolf" [live] (5:52)
5. "Tornado of Souls" [live] (4:53)
6. "A Tout Le Monde" [live] (3:$2)

The "Live Trax" EP was only released in Japan and features the classic Mustaine, Friedman, Ellefson and Menza line-up. It's a shame this line-up didn't record a full live album as this was when Megadeth were in their prime. Of course with the number of live tracks on their various live EPs, they could release a pretty smokin' live album just by compiling all those tracks. Track 1 was labeled as "Reckoning Day", making "Peace Sells" a hidden track. Tracks 1-4 were recorded at the Mesa Amphitheater, Mesa, Arizona, July 13th, 1997. Tracks 5-6 were recorded at the Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, February 25th, 1995.

Megadeth - Risk (Capitol) 1999

1. "Insomnia" (4:34)
2. "Prince of Darkness" (6:25)
3. "Enter the Arena" (:52)
4. "Crush 'Em" (4:57)
5. "Breadline" (4:24)
6. "Doctor Is Calling" (5:40)
7. "I'll Be There" (4:20)
8. "Wanderlust" (5:22)
9. "Ecstasy" (4:28)
10. "Seven" (5:00)
11. "Time: The Beginning" (3:04)
12. "Time: The End" (2:26

I should have given up on Megadeth at "Cryptic Writings". I am a die-hard and I guess I had hoped they would redeem themselves. This is pure commercial pop crap. "Crush 'Em" is an obvious attempt to overtake Queen's "We Will Rock You" in the hockey barns of the world. (Worked too. The NHL adopted the song for a spell.) Ahh, I'm not even gonna waste my time reviewing this one. One of my favorite bands of all time take a total nosedive. I'm bummed.

In retrospect after giving this one a few spins years after the initial disappointment, I still don't find a whole lot on this record to redeem it. I have grown to appreciate "Crush 'Em" for the anthem that it is. It's a fun song, even if it is outside the normal Megadeth boundaries. I also find "Prince of Darkness" to be an interesting song and the one bright spot on an otherwise abysmal pop record. The song is dark, somewhat heavy and could have fit neatly on "Youthanasia" or "Cryptic Writings". The song is a warning about the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. 

BTW, I understand that Dave Mustaine is a Flyers fan! GO FLYERS!

I thought Risk was a good album, but I also thought that it shouldn't have had Megadeth's name on it. The album completely failed to live up to the brand. Of course, it was a strange time for all the main thrash metal bands. Metallica had taken a lot of heat for cutting their hair and altering their music, and we were heading the same way.
-David Ellefson, p131, My Life With Deth

Dave (Mustaine) was emphatic that we take our musical direction back to thrash metal. To his credit, he didn't want to pretend to be a pop  band band any longer. 
-David Ellefson, p132, My Life With Deth

It is a lesson I've tried to learn from him (Dave Mustaine): do what you love and the money will follow. Risk may have been a lesson to all of us that when you put the attraction of success before the actual success comes, you have placed the cart before the horse."
-David Ellefson, p136, My Life With Deth

Capitol Punishment Megadeth - Capitol Punishment (Capitol) 2000

1. "Kill the King" (3:46)
2. "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" (4:26)
3. "Crush 'Em" (4:59)
4. "Use the Man" (4:37)
5. "Almost Honest" (4:04)
6. "Trust" (5:12)
7. "A Tout le Monde" (4:31)
8. "Train of Consequences" (3:28)
9. "Sweating Bullets" (5:04)
10. "Symphony of Destruction" (4:03)
11. "Hangar 18" (5:13)
12. "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" (6:35)
13. "In My Darkest Hour" (6:19)
14. "Peace Sells" (4:01)
15. "Capitol Punishment" [hidden track] (4:46)

Essential for one reason only, the two unreleased tracks "Kill the King" and "Dread and the Fugitive Mind". Of course the band included "Dread" on their next CD, so really the only song that makes this disc worth owning to those who already own the entire Megadeth catalogue is "Kill the King". Fortunately this song happens to be one of the best songs Megadeth has recorded in years. It's heavy, it's melodic, and it's memorable, without sounding like some pop-rock, sellout, junk, like almost everything on "Risk". As for the rest of the 'hits' package, it is quite obvious that whoever chose the songs did not know, or care, what the fans would have wanted. I mean, where is "Wake Up Dead", "Angry Again"or even "Devil's Island." Why was nothing included from "Killing Is My Business"? Argh! How about some of the band's other rarities like "Crown of Worms" or "New World Order". I certainly could have lived without having "Crush 'Em" on this disc as well. Otherwise, the rest of the tracks included are good to excellent. I just wish they wouldn't have focused on the band's newer material and forsaken the band's first three classic albums. There's a hidden track, that starts about a minute after track fifteen ends. It's a bunch of Megadeth songs mixed together into a medley of sorts.

The World Needs A Hero Megadeth - The World Needs a Hero (Sanctuary) 2001

1. "Disconnect" (5:20)
2. "The World Needs a Hero" (3:52)
3. "Moto Psycho" (3:06)
4. "1000 Times Goodbye" (6:25)
5. "Burning Bridges" (5:20)
6. "Promises" (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)
12. "When" (9:14)

Well this is more like it. Megadeth come screaming back with a release that fits somewhere between "Countdown to Extinction" and "Youthanasia." I seriously am enjoying this disc. Gone now is shredder Marty Friedman, but in his place Dave wisely added Al Pitrelli, yet another shredder who has previously performed in Asia, Widowmaker, and more recently Savatage. Back, however, is Dave's snake-like snarl and his mean guitar riffs. Kudos! Welcome back Dave, we missed ya! Also welcome back to Mr. Vic Rattlehead.

Ultimatum recorded a speed metal cover of "Moto Psycho".

Rude Awakening Megadeth - Rude Awakening (Capitol) 2002

1. "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" (4:12)
2. "Kill the King" (3:50)
3. "Wake up Dead" (3:26)
4. "In My Darkest Hour" (5:28)
5. "Angry Again" (3:22)
6. "She Wolf" (8:17)
7. "Reckoning Day" (4:24)
8. "Devil's Island" (5:06)
9. "Train of Consequences" (4:30)
10. "A Tout le Monde" (4:49)
11. "Burning Bridges" (4:56)
12. "Hangar 18" (4:45)
13. "Return to Hangar" (3:54)
14. "Hook in Mouth" (4:40)
15. "Almost Honest" (3:57)
16. "1000 Times Goodbye" (6:14)
17. "Mechanix" (4:36)
18. "Tornado of Souls" (5:47)
19. "Ashes in Your Mouth" (6:04)
20. "Sweating Bullets" (4:38)
21. "Trust" (6:46)
22. "Symphony of Destruction" (4:50)
23. "Peace Sells" (5:22)
24. "Holy Wars" (8:51)

I have been a Megadeth fan since their very first album and over the years I have continued to follow them and to buy all their albums as new releases. Had a live album been released with the line-up of Mustaine, Ellefson, Marty Friedman and Nick Menza I would have rushed out to buy it too, even with the $20+ price tag. However, after canning Nick, and then Marty leaving, it's almost not the same band. I mean, Dave and Dave are Megadeth after all, but the line-up I described above, most fans would describe as the quintessential line-up and era of the band. "Rude Awakening" features the line-up of Mustaine, Ellefson, ex-Suicidal Tendencies drummer Jimmy DeGrasso and guitar virtuoso Al Pitrelli. So, because of this and the fact that most stores were selling this disc for well above $20, I couldn't bring myself to buy it as a new release. Even used copies were selling close to $20 on eBay and SecondSpin. Well, I finally picked up a copy of this with a price tag of $17.99 with a gift certificate I was given for Christmas. Still a bit pricey, but more reasonable then $23. I have seen Megadeth live over the years a few times and knew that they would put on a stellar performance regardless of the line-up. However, no one can deny that there was also a certain chemistry between the band that seems to be missing from this live set. Having said that, however, "Rude Awakening" is a far better career retrospect than the shoddy "Capitol Punishment" compilation and certainly a fine way for one of thrash metal's finest band's to go out. Dave pulls out songs from every Megadeth album all the way back to the "Killing is My Business." The band sounds tight throughout this disc. Several songs feature extended solos, including "She-Wolf" which includes a dual guitar jam by Dave and Al and a drum solo that bridges "Reckoning Day." I was totally stoked to hear "Mechanix." Dave makes mention of there being two versions of this song, "their version" and "our version." Of course when Dave says "their version" he is referring to Metallica's "Four Horsemen" that he wrote for the band before they gave him the boot in the early 80's. Overall, a good live album and one that will see many spins in my CD player. Megadeth will always be remembered as the kings of speed metal that they helped pioneer, and "Rude Awakening" is a testimony to that fact.

Megadeth - Still Alive...and Well? (Sanctuary) 2002

1. "Time/Use the Man" [live] (6:29)
2. "Conjuring" [live] (5:28)
3. "In My Darkest Hour" [live] (5:31)
4. "Sweating Bullets" [live] (4:45)
5. "Symphony of Destruction " [live] (5:24)
6. "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" [live] (8:53)
7. "Moto Psycho" (3:07)
8. "Dread and Fugitive Mind" (4:26)
9. "Promises" (4:28)
10. "The World Needs a Hero" (3:54)
11. "Burning Bridges" (5:22)
12. "Return to Hangar" (4:00)

A bizarre compilation release from Megadeth with the first six tracks being live tracks and the last six tracks studio songs. The live songs were all recorded at the same concerts as the Rude Awakening material, but are alternative takes that were not included on that CD. The live versions don't sound all that different than the studio material, save for the crowd noise and the usual murky live sound. Still it's nice to have these tracks and the only reason I wanted this cd. The last six songs are all taken from the band's last studio album "The World Needs A Hero", acting as a sampler for that album. Why the heck did the band or the record company feel the need to put these tracks on here? I mean that album came out only a year or two before this release. Why not include some of the rare b-sides, soundtrack material or covers that have yet to see release on a Megadeth release. There are two excellent songs on the "Duke Nukem" soundtrack that would have been a killer addition to this package. Even the inclusion of the band's cover of "Never Say Die" from "Nativity in Black II" would have been cool. I just think it really would have been nice had this release been similar to Hidden Treasures, rather than just thrown together like it is. Perhaps "Hidden Treasures II" will be the next Megadeth compilation.

The System Has Failed Megadeth - The System Has Failed (Sanctuary) 2004

1. "Blackmail The Universe" (4:33)
2. "Die Dead Enough" (4:19)
3. "Kick The Chair" (3:58)
4. "The Scorpion" (6:00)
5. "Tears In A Vial" (5:22)
6. "I Know Jack" (:40)
7. "Back In The Day" (3:28)
8. "Something That I'm Not" (5:07)
9. "Truth Be Told" (5:40)
10. "Of Mice And Men" (4:05)
11. "Shadow Of Deth" (2:15)
12. "My Kingdom Come" (3:04)

Megadeth are back! The rumors that Dave returned to his thrash metal roots, however, are not exactly true. Megadeth haven't really been a thrash band since the early 90's, so I really wasn't expecting them to do "Peace Sells Pt. 2". These rumors were partly fueled by the return of Chris Poland on lead guitar and partly by Dave's own words on the Megadeth discussion board. What we do have with "The System Has Failed" is a nice mixture of the melodic nature of "Youthanasia" and the aggression and chugging riffs of "Rust in Peace." Thrash purists will probably hate this disc, but those who have enjoyed most of what Megadeth have done throughout the years should find it quite enjoyable. Songs like "Blackmail The Universe" and "Kick the Chair" are classic MegaDave metal, in my opinion. These two songs easily could have fit on "Countdown to Extinction" or "Rust in Peace". Both are heavy, up-tempo and will have most metalheads banging their heads within the first few chords. However, other tracks like "Die Dead Enough" and "The Scorpion" sound a bit closer to the melodic nature of "Youthanasia." "Something I'm Not" is more groove oriented and reminds me of the more recent Megadeth platters. Overall, the entire CD has this balance of melody and aggression, as well as a variety in tempo, songwriting and riffs that keeps the entire album interesting from beginning to end. There are a few songs that aren't really songs, such as "I Know Jack" which is a short interlude, and "Shadow of Deth, which is basically a reading out of the Book of Psalms, and probably Dave's way of announcing his new found faith. Lyrically, however, Dave seems to be attacking politics from both sides, which is probably justified. Overall, this is a fine return to form in my opinion, and a welcome return for Mustaine and Co.

It is also worth noting that this is the first Megadeth album to not have original member Dave Ellefson on bass. Unfortunately Dave and Dave are at odds with each other right now over legal matters. Here's hoping that these two guys can somehow manage to get past that and heal the wounds and restore an over decade long friendship. (This actually did happen in 2008 with Dave rejoining Megadeth for their "Endgame" CD.)

United Abominations
Megadeth - United Abominations
(Roadrunner) 2007

1. "Sleepwalker" (5:53)
2. "Washington Is Next!" (5:19)
3. "Never Walk Alone... A Call To Arms" (3:54)
4. "United Abominations" (5:35)
5. "Gears of War" (4:25)
6. "Blessed Are the Dead" (4:02)
7. "Play for Blood" (3:49)
8. "A Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)" (4:11)
9. "Amerikhastan" (3:43)
10. "You're Dead" (3:18)
11. "Burnt Ice" (3:47)

Megadeth 2007

In the past couple years I have seen Megadeth live three times. All three times they put on a great show. The band was tight and their set list was peppered with a collection of all their past works. In all three shows, Dave played some new songs from "United Abominations". I always thought the new material fit into their set well and sounded as good, if not better than some of their newer material. Weeks before "United Abominations" was released officially, the songs had been leaked onto the internet. I decided to take the old fashion approach and actually wait for the album to be released so that I could crack that cellophane off and give the album a solid listen. I did the same for "System Has Failed" and wasn't disappointed at all. Whereas "System Has Failed" fell a bit closer to the melodic side of things (al la Youthanasia), "United Abominations" holds some of the melodic nature of Megadeth while leaning slightly closer to the thrashier, "Rust In Peace" era Megadeth. That's not to say that "United Abominations" is "Rust In Peace II" either. Far from it. Rather what happened is Dave added some speed and thrash elements back into the band's song writing. The best examples of this are probably album opener "Sleepwalker", "Never Walk Alone", "Your Dead" and the second half of "Burnt Ice". The riffs and songwriting seem a bit more complex, certainly moreso than anything since "Rust In Peace". Glen Drover's leads are simply outstanding. I also think that Dave has given us a lot of really good hooks, without sounding forced or cheesy. Tracks like "Sleepwalker", "Gears of War" and "United Abominations" are reminiscent of some of the more memorable material on "Countdown to Extinction". I also think that this album flows together as a whole very well, with one glaring exception, "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)". I had read that this song was recorded as a b-side, but the record company insisted using it as a single since it features a duet with Cristina Scabbia. Personally, I like this song as it was originally recorded on "Youthanasia". This version is a cool alternative, but it is clearly a b-side and in my opinion should have been released as such. Otherwise, "United Abominations" is exactly what I expect from Megadeth. I can't understand how any longtime fan of Megadeth wouldn't find something to like here. "United Abominations" isn't "Rust In Peace II", but then who would want it to be? Why try to relive the past when the future sounds this good? As far as I'm concerned, Dave Mustaine has released a winner here.

Megadeth - That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires (Roadrunner) 2007

1. "Jet Intro" (:36)
2. "Blackmail The Universe" (4:48)
3. "Set The World Afire" (4:47)
4. "Skin Of My Teeth" (3:22)
5. "Wake Up Dead" (3:46)
6. "In My Darkest Hour" (6:17)
7. "Die Dead Enough" (3:55)
8. "She Wolf" (3:28)
9. "Reckoning Day" (5:02)
10. "A Toute Le Monde" (4:24)
11. "Angry Again" (3:36)

1. "Hangar 18" (5:07)
2. "Return To Hangar" (3:51)
3. "I'll Be There" (6:09)
4. "Tornado Of Souls" (5:36)
5. "Trust" (7:21)
6. "Something That I'm Not" (4:42)
7. "Kick The Chair" (4:11)
8. "Coming Home To Argentina" (2:59)
9. "Symphony Of Destruction" (4:15)
10. "Peace Sells" (4:54)
11. "Holy Wars" (9:58)

I have seen Megadeth three times in the last few years; during Gigantour 1 & 2 and their tour with Heaven & Hell. This live CD is a nice reminder of those shows. The band is tight and the recording quality is good. While Megadeth will probably never capture the magic they had with Dave Ellefson, Marty Friedman and Nick Menza, there is not denying the power of Megadeth's current line-up and this performance. Listening to this CD is like sitting there watching the band up on stage all over again. You can almost feel the energy from the stage that was captured on this recording. Even the crowd brings energy to this recording. Check out their enthusiasm as they chant through all of "Symphony of Destruction."

There are several songs repeated on this live album that were also included on "Rude Awakening", which was just released a few years earlier. Similar to that album, the track listing samples from most of the Megadeth catalog and reads like a greatest hits package. However, on "The One Night" there is a focus on "The System Has Failed", which the band was touring for at the time. The inclusion of "I'll Be There" from "Risk" was a surprise inclusion as well. Otherwise both albums have a fairly similar track listing. Personally I prefer this live recording to "Rude Awakening" from a few years ago. While both releases feature a tight band and quality recording, on "That One Night" Dave's vocals seem improved, especially on the more melodic material. On the older material Dave seems to have lost that snarl and snake-like hiss in his singing, so some of these songs don't come off as aggressive as they could have been.

My only complaint is that the packaging is rather cheap. The 4-page insert includes some words from Dave Mustaine, but no photos from the show. I suppose since this concert was also released on DVD that the record company didn't think a booklet with photos would be necessary. Personally, I prefer listening to music, so the DVD isn't quite as important as the CD to me.

Endgame Megadeth – Endgame (Roadrunner) 2009

1.    Dialectic Chaos  (2:24)   
2.    This Day We Fight! (3:31)
3.    44 Minutes (4:37)
4.    1,320' (3:51)
5.    Bite the Hand That Feeds (4:01)
6.    Bodies (3:34)
7.    Endgame (5:52)
8.    The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss (4:42)
9.    Head Crusher (3:26)
10.  How the Story Ends (4:47)
11.  The Right to Go Insane (4:20)

Megadeth return in 2009 with their fastest, heaviest release since "Rust in Peace". Had "Endgame" been the follow up to "Rust" or even "Countdown to Extinction", metal fans around the world would have hailed them as the kings of thrash metal. Instead, it is 2009, and thrash metal has become somewhat of a trend in the metal underground and Megadeth have chosen to show the followers just exactly who the leaders are. "Endgame" opens up with a short instrumental shredfest in which Chris Brodererick and Dave Mustaine trade off leads. This seriously has that same angry aggression that was heard on those early Megadeth platters. The song has immediate comparisons to "Into the Lungs of Hell" with it’s angry punk riffs and blazing guitarwork. "Dialect Chaos" then opens way into "This Day We Fight", a fast and furious thrasher with Dave’s cocky snarl. To me, these first two songs sound like Dave once again has something to prove. The follow-up "44 Minutes" is a more mid-paced track, yet has every bit of the attitude that the first two songs had.  "44 Minutes"
is the first song on the CD that I found myself remembering immediately. The hook on this song is more immediate than many of the faster songs. "Head Crusher", on the other hand, completely blew me away. Now this is what I want to hear out of Megadeth! This song is a fast thrasher recalling the greatness of "Hanger 18" and was an excellent choice for the first single. "1,320" has a very old school feel with some riffs that would have been at home on "Kill ‘Em All" or "Killing is My Business". "Bodies" and "The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss" are more melodic tracks sounding a bit closer to the material on "Youthanasia" "The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss" is a dark, acoustic ballad.

One thing that makes "Endgame" so enjoyable is all the lead guitar work. There are leads peppered throughout this CD, with more than half the leads belonging to shredder Chris Broderick. A nice introduction to the newbie in this ever changing line-up. It’s also notable that the production is outstanding. Unlike some other recent releases, "Endgame" isn’t so loud and compressed that it sounds like your speakers are blown. While each instrument is heard clearly, the overall mix isn’t overly clean and the guitar tones are simply crushing.  As usual for Megadeth, there are themes of war, violence, politics and end times. The usual thrash metal fare I suppose,

"Endgame" is an outstanding offering from Megadeth and proves that they still have plenty of life in them. I've liked everything Megadeth have put out in the last few years since "The World Needs A Hero", so take my opinion with that in mind. Perhaps my excitement about this album will die over time, but for now, I’m cranking in and loving it.

Rust in Peace Live Megadeth - Rust In Peace Live (Shout! Factory) 2010

1.      Holy Wars...The Punishment Due (7:02)
2.      Hangar 18 (5:05)
3.      Take No Prisoners (3:24)
4.      Five Magics (6:00)
5.      Poison Was The Cure (3:36)
6.      Lucretia (3:59)
7.      Tornado Of Souls (5:28)
8.      Dawn Patrol (1:52)
9.      Rust In Peace...Polaris (6:10)
10.     Holy Wars - Reprise (4:15)
11.     Skin O' My Teeth (3:19)
12.     In My Darkest Hour (6:12)
13.     She-Wolf (3:36)
14.     Trust (5:10)
15.     Symphony Of Destruction (4:00)
16.     Peace Sells (4:47)
Dave Ellifson
Dave Ellefson 2010

I've seen Megadeth on just about every tour they have done since The System Has Failed in 2004 and a few times before that. They were always tight and outstanding. They toured as headliners several times on their own Gigantour, as well as opening for Heaven & Hell. As such, this live album celebrating twenty years of "Rust in Peace" was a no-brainer. The band are a well-oiled machine on stage and "Rust in Peace" is one of the band's defining albums. So why not just listen to "Rust in Peace" and skip what many consider to be a record company cash-in live recording? Well, frankly I love live albums. Perhaps it's growing up loving the 1970's live albums. I think live albums capture something special that cannot be captured in a studio. The excitement of the crowd, the energy of the live setting, and the raw live sound are all captured on this album recorded at the legendary Hollywood Palladium. "Rust in Peace" is played from front to back; every sneering lyric, every maniacal guitar riff, every song! Some of these songs had never been played live before. ("Five Magics", "Poison Was The Cure", and "Rust In Peace…Polaris")

There is not much crowd interaction for the "Rust in Peace" album as the band let's the music do the talking. However the crowd lets you know that they are there with chants of "Meg-A-Deth, Meg-A-Deth" and appropriate bursts of cheering during the songs. The current Megadeth line-up includes guitarist Chris Broderick, drummer Shawn Drover, the legendary Dave Mustaine on guitar and vocals and the return of co-founding member and bassist Dave Ellefson, who been away from the band since 2002. In all honesty I think this line-up rivals the classic Mustaine/Ellefson/Marty Friedman/Nick Menza lineup. The band are tight. Broderick and Mustaine trade off licks flawlessly. This is just an outstanding live album.

On top of the "Rust in Peace" album, there are six "fan favorites" are included as bonus performances. The DVD offers behind the scene footage, but being one that mostly listens to music, I jumped on the CD version first and will hopefully score a DVD copy in the future.

Th1rt3en Megadeth - Th1rt3en (Roadrunner) 2011

1.      Sudden Death (5:09)
2.      Public Enemy No. 1 (4:15)
3.      Whose Life (Is It Anyways?) (3:50)
4.      We the People (4:33)
5.      Guns, Drugs, & Money (4:19)
6.      Never Dead (4:32)
7.      New World Order (3:56)
8.      Fast Lane (4:04)
9.      Black Swan (4:10)
10.     Wrecker (3:51)
11.     Millennium of the Blind (4:15)
12.     Deadly Nightshade (4:55)
13.     13 (5:53)

The aptly titled "Th1rt3en" is the band's thirteenth studio album and features thirteen songs. (Anvil did a similar thing a few years back with "This is Thirteen" that included thirteen songs.) "Th1rt3en" is the first studio album since "The World Needs a Hero" (2001) on which co-founding member and bass guitarist player Dave Ellefson performs.

Megadeth have been in a solid groove since 2004's "The System Has Failed". The past few albums have grabbed influences from the band's early years and mixed them with the more melodic stylings of their 90's outputs. While none of these albums sound exactly like the next, they all sound like Megadeth. Dave Mustaine has fallen into a comfortable groove and knows what Megadeth should sound like. So, even though the songs run the gamut from the more melodic to the fast and frantic, none seem out of place. Megadeth's "Th1rt3en" continues this trend. There’s some parts that are influenced by "Peace Sells…" and "Rust in Peace" with a bits of the hooky melodic metal of "Youthanasia".

"Th1rt3en" opens with a track that is a balls-to-the-wall thrasher titled "Sudden Death". The song is not exactly new, as it was originally released in 2010 and originally recorded for the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game. Since I am not a gamer and never bothered to download the song, it is absolutely new to me. The song features a mean guitar riff and is peppered with furious guitar licks throughout. If this song had been included on "Rust in Peace" or even "Countdown to Extinction", it would have fit in perfectly. There are a few other tracks included that are from the bands past. "Black Swan" was originally released as a bonus track for members of the band's fan club who pre-ordered "United Abominations". It's a good track that deserves to be more than just an obscure b-side. "Millennium of the Blind" was demoed by the band in the early ’90s and turned up a bonus tracks on the remastered "Youthanasia."

"New World Order" has quite the history. It was originally written by the "Rust in Peace" line-up during the Clash of the Titans Tour in 1991.The song was demoed and not released on a Megadeth album until 2004, where it was released as a bonus track on "Youthanasia". Instead underground thrashers Zöetrope recorded the song and released it on their 1993 album. The Megadeth version of the song was eventually released and included on the 1999 Duke Nukem soundtrack. It's a fantastic track with a huge hook and a groove-based riff that recalls songs like "Angry Again" and "Symphony of Destruction".

"Public Enemy No. 1" is the first single from the album and is definitely one of the album's more melodic tracks, though to be honest, I think that "New World Order" might have been a better choice for a single. "Never Dead" is one of the pure thrashers on the album. This song is simple, direct and straightforward, driven by a fast guitar riff and some scattered double bass parts. It was surely inspired by the band's 2010 tour and their live performances of the entire "Rust in Peace" album.

Mustaine’s toothy sneer is as prevalent and nasty as ever, attacking various political and social issues such as in "We the People" and "New World Order".  "Guns, Drugs, & Money" addresses the unrest in Mexico currently while "Public Enemy No. 1" was written about 1920s gangster Al Capone.

"Th1rt3en" is a good collection of songs. It certainly sees the band repeating itself a bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. For some, Megadeth's current groove might be a bad thing. Megadeth in the 80's and 90's were a bit unpredictable. However, those like myself that have found the past few albums to be completely enjoyable will also find "Th1rt3en" to be equally enjoyable.

Super Collider Megadeth - Super Collider (Universal Music) 2013

1.   Kingmaker (4:16)
2.   Super Collider (4:12)
3.   Burn! (4:11)
4.   Built for War (3:58)
5.   Off the Edge (4:12)
6.   Dance in the Rain (4:46)
7.   The Beginning of Sorrow (3:51)
8.   The Blackest Crow (4:28)
9.   Forget to Remember (4:27)
10. Don't Turn Your Back... (3:57)
11. Cold Sweat  (3:11)
12. All I Want (2:54)
13. A House Divided (4:05)
14. Countdown To Extinction [live] (4:24)

Though some may argue, I think Megadeth has been on a roll, releasing several solid albums over the past few years. "Super Collider" is the band's fourteenth album and their first released on their own imprint via Universal Music. 

Megadeth, much like Metallica, are like large lightning rods. As soon as word comes out that they are releasing something new, they start attracting all sorts of attention from just about everyone. To some people Megadeth can never live up to their legacy. (Same with Metallica.) A quick check on-line and the negative and downright nasty reviews were already being posted before the album was even officially released. One review I read said the album was "as satisfying as a wet fart". Many reviewers seem to be downgrading the music to "just boring rock/not metal". Another review stated that the album was "misguided, laughable, and embarrassing" and another, "a mis-step in line with 'St. Anger' and 'Risk'". Really? What album are these people listening to? These reviewers are even hyper-critical of the lyrics with people complaining about the politically and socially charged lyrics. First of all, Megadeth have always had lyrics of this nature. Dave Mustaine didn't trust the U.S. government when Bush was in office and he doesn't like it any better with Obama in charge. This is nothing new and Dave has never exactly been a poet. It's his outspoken beliefs and snotty nature that make him the character that he is and part of what gives Megadeth their charisma. 

"Super Collider"is not a throwback to thrash metal albums like "Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?" and "Rust in Peace." Rather it follows right in line with albums like "United Abominations" and "Thirteen". The album is filled with material that is both heavy but melodic and undeniably memorable at the same time. The album opens with "Kingmaker", as song sure to be in Megadeth's set-list for the tour for this album. This is prime Megadeth! The song is fast and heavy with the usual Megadeth guitar crunch and Dave's snotty snarl sounding especially good. The song is followed-up by the title track for the album which is also the first single for the album. Frankly, this is the weakest and most lifeless songs on the album. Either of the follow-up tracks would have been better choices as singles. "Built for War" in particular is an upbeat song with a catchy riff and hooky vocals. "Dance in the Rain" is a standout track, the song builds from it's melodic intro into a vicious speed metal song. Dave narrates a majority of the lyrics on this song, as opposed to singing. David Draiman of Disturbed lends vocals to the song, as well as to "Forget To Remember." "Don't Turn Your Back" took me a bit by surprise. After a short intro the song opens with a killer riff and some steady double bass and driving bass guitar. As I am listening I had the feeling I had heard this before. The opening riff, right along with the bass lines and drum parts are nearly identical to Ulitmatum's "One For All". It's one of my personal favorite Ultimatum songs, and it also works well for Megadeth. The overall song is otherwise different than "One For All" but the opening moments are uncanny. "The Blackest Crow" combines a banjo, some off-time drum beats and a heavy riff, but the overall song comes off as weaker than the rest of the material. Perhaps one of my favorite moments on the album is the closing track, a cover of Thin Lizzy's classic "Cold Sweat." Megadeth doesn't change the song dramatically but it works surprisingly well for them, right down to Dave's vocals. 

I don't know what fans were expecting. No, "Super Collider" is not "Peace Sells Part 2", but it's not the colossal turd many reviews are making it out to be either. It's a good album and shouldn't come as a bit shock to fans who have been enjoying the band's past few albums. The many, many reviewers calling it a "rock" album in an attempt to say it's not heavy metal are just downright wrong. Apparently these people have lost touch with what real heavy metal is as they have consumed far too many extreme metal albums. Just because a band isn't tuned down two-steps, isn't playing at the speed of light and doesn't have a 'woooaaargh' style vocalist doesn't mean they are not heavy metal. If that was the case, then bands like Saxon and Judas Priest never were metal.

The Best Buy deluxe edition comes with a 3-D sticker of the cover art and three bonus tracks. Two of the bonus tracks are new songs. Both tracks are as solid as anything on the album, and frankly better than the title track and "The Blackest Crow". The third track is a live version of "Countdown to Extinction", a song that was included to help promote the band's up and coming "Countdown to Extinction Live" DVD. The song was recorded live at the Fox Theater, Pomona, CA in 2012.

Dystopia Megadeth - Dystopia (Universal Music) 2016

1. The Threat Is Real (4:22)
2. Dystopia (4:59)
3. Fatal Illusion (4:15)
4. Death from Within (4:47)
5. Bullet to the Brain (4:29)
6. Post American World (4:25)
7. Poisonous Shadows (6:02)
8. Conquer or Die [instrumental] (3:33)
9. Lying in State (3:34)
10. The Emperor (3:52)
11. Foreign Policy (2:28)

"Dystopia" is the fifteenth full-length studio album from Megadeth and features an interesting new band line-up with Angra’s Kiko Loureiro and Lamb of God’s excellent drummer Chris Adler. As is the norm, Dave Mustaine still writes a huge percentage of the music, so despite the new line-up, it doesn’t suddenly sound much like Angra or Lamb Of God either, although you can definitely pick up on their involvement during certain parts of songs.

As might be expected, "Dystopia" is more or less the same Megadeth album that the last four ones have been, with about the same level of similarity and similar forays into pushing the boundaries of their songwriting. It is slightly heavier and more consistent than the slightly disappointing "Supercollider" (2013), its slightly more consistent than "Thirteen" (2011) and a bit thrashier than 2007’s "United Abominations". There are a few moments where the band pushes beyond the normal Megadeth output, such as a the piano and spoken-word at the end of "Poisonous Shadows" or the Spanish guitar introduction on "Conquer Or Die". However, for the most part the band sticks close to what Megadeth does best. In fact, the closest album to this one is "Endgame" (2009). As such, "Dystopia" is easily one of the best Megadeth albums in the last ten years. 

The album starts off with a punch in the face! It is easily one of the band's best songs and should be included in their live set for years to come. This is the closest the band have come to being the thrash band that we saw on "Rust In Peace." As well, the title track is reminiscent of "Hanger 18" with its straight-forward riffing and song structure. Loureiro presents is felt in this song with his guitar licks fitting along alongside Mustaine’s vicious riffing. "Fatal Illusion" is just a heavy song! This is one of those songs that proves that you don't need to be down-tuned two and three steps to be the heaviest band on the planet! It's all about writing heavy riffs, which is exactly what you get here. "Poisonous Shadows" takes Megadeth into the power metal landscape. Though I didn't check the liner notes, if Kiko had any songwriting credits at all, it would be on this song. Much like Angra there is an almost symphonic feel to the song and features some stellar, virtuoso guitar playing and some fast drum triplets from Alder. The album ends with a cover of Fear’s "Foreign Policy" which fits in well thematically and with the general vibe of the album.

Overall, the album doesn’t particularly have any stand-out tracks or obvious attempts a hit singles, unlike some past album. "Dystopia" isn’t an album  with a few highlights and a bunch of filler. Rather is very consistent and is filled with spectacular guitar playing and brilliant riffing.  The guitars are sharp and lethal, the vocals have the gnarly Dave snarl and the lyrics are typically political in nature. This is "business as usual" for Megadeth, and why not? This album should please most Megadeth fanatics who are craving more of the same from the metal mongers.

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Metallica | Damn the Machine | Chris Poland | Marty Friedman | Cacophony | Suicidal Tendencies | Widowmaker | MD.45

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