Released: 2012, EMI Records
Megadeth has been kicking major ass lately, with David Ellefson’s return, Big 4, The RUST IN PEACE 20th anniversary tour, and 2011 album THIRTEEN. Now it has been 20 years since their most successful album COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION was released, which made them metal giants with a larger audience. To celebrate, the band has remastered the album and included a vintage concert from 1992 on a second disc! If you already own COUNTDOWN, is it worth picking this up? You bet your metal ass it is!
Let’s go back to 1992. Metallica was king of the metal world with 1991’s METALLICA (Black album) selling millions of copies. Megadeth had released their best album to date, RUST IN PEACE, in 1990 and had retained the lineup from the album of Mustaine on guitar and vocals, Ellefson on bass, Marty Friedman on guitar, and Nick Menza on drums. How would Mustaine follow the brilliant RUST IN PEACE and compete with his rivals in Metallica? By writing the superb, politically charged, diverse album that is COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION! More accessible than RUST IN PEACE, COUNTDOWN featured two MTV friendly hits which would become classics and concert staples, “Symphony of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets”. The album reached #2 on the US Charts, unable to take the top spot from Billy Ray Cyrus’ ACHY BREAKY HEART. Ah the power of crap! COUNTDOWN has proven to be timeless metal and the themes on the album are still relevant today. Many consider the lineup of Mustaine / Ellefson / Friedman / Menza to be Megadeth’s best.
Disc 1 is the original album remastered and it sounds awesome! This is the original recording, not the 2004 remix, so the album sounds slightly lighter on “Sweating Bullets” and there are some original sound effects on “Psychotron” that were removed from the remix. Everything is loud, clear, and distinct. The album has great thrashers like “Skin O’ My Teeth” and “Ashes in Your Mouth”, melodic rockers such as “Foreclosure of a Dream” and “This Was My Life”, fast rockers (“High Speed Dirt”) thoughtful, lighter songs (“Countdown to Extinction”) and off the wall songs like “Sweating Bullets”, ”Captive Honour”, and “Psychotron”. It all blends together seamlessly as an amazing piece of metal.
Disc 2 is a full 1992 concert from the Cow Palace in California. A few of these tracks are on Megadeth’s WARCHEST and an EP was available at one time with a few tracks from this show, but never before has the show been available in its entirety. Sound quality is impressive, much better than the live disc that came with the 25th anniversary edition of PEACE SELLS…BUT WHO’S BUYING? Many of COUNTDOWN’s tracks are featured and there is an amazing version of “The Conjuring” that is so good it is worth the price of the remaster itself. I think this concert has been cleaned up as the tracks that appear on WARCHEST (“Ashes in Your Mouth”, “Sweating Bullets”) sound better here. Overall this is a great disc.
Highly recommended for all metalheads! If somehow you are new to Megadeth, this is a great place to start!