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Countdown to Extinction

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(75 Reviews)

Megadeth Biography - Megadeth Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

Features

  • 3-CD Mexico City show
  • Disc 1:
  • 1. Enter Sandman
  • 2. Creeping Death
  • 3. Harvester of Sorrow

Description

Sophomore album, originally released in 1982, for Canadian speed metal pioneers. Ten tracks. Unidisc.

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  • Countdown To Extinction (1992.), Megadeth’s fifth studio album

    The story of Dave Mustaine and his world famous thrash metal band Megadeth is one never short of interest. During the 1980’s, Megadeth never quite found true consistency. Dave Mustaine, out to make music to rival his old band Metallica, was plagued by band line-up troubles. If it wasn’t him firing band member’s such as Chris Poland for selling band equipment for drug money, then it was Dave himself abusing drink and drugs like it was the last day of his life. As a result, the early Megadeth lacked any sense of chemistry and this reflected in the band’s music which, although it was pretty cool and great to listen to, did not quite have the classic touch. This all changed with the recruitment of drummer Nick Menza and guitar genius Marty Friedman. With the new line-up in place, the band recorded the classic that is ‘Rust In Peace’, one of my personal favourite albums of all time. Following a hugely successful tour, there was no doubt that Megadeth had discovered their greatness. Following the tour, Dave Mustaine and Co. went into the studio to make the follow-up album, 1992’s ‘Countdown To Extinction’.

    At the time it would have seemed impossible to top an album like ‘Rust In Peace’. So many bands make a great/classic album and then follow it up with a flop. Well this was certainly not the case with Megadeth. OK, in my opinion they don’t top ‘Rust In Peace’ with this album but they still produced another definite 5* effort. ‘Countdown To Extinction’ is an amazing achievement. With this album, we see Megadeth beginning to depart from the thrash stylings of their earlier albums. This is mostly in the speed of most of the songs; the album is slower throughout. However, the riffs are on the whole heavy and at times bone-crunching, the great guitar solos are still there and the recording is undeniably vintage Megadeth. In many ways this is the band’s response to Metallica’s self-titled, released a year earlier in 1991. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Black Album. I know all band’s have to develop, but with Metallica, their sound was noticably more safe on the Black Album, with less inventive solos, unimaginative lyrics and sometimes sloppy and repetitive slower riffs. However, with Megadeth’s development with ‘Countdown To Extinction’, none of these problems occur. The band develop their sound and become maybe more commercial but at the same time loose none of their bite. Dave Mustaine still writes awesome lyrics which raise various social/world issues and still puts together really inventive and cool riffs. The solos on the album are great, especially Marty Friedman’s efforts. Finally as well, Megadeth have a great sense of humour in their music too and this can be seen in some of the funny voice over sequences during the album (more about that later). ‘Countdown To Extinction’ was a big success for the band, hitting No.2 in the album charts – it’s the album Dave Mustaine has been trying to beat ever since. That’s how good an album this is!

    Following Megadeth’s re-union in 2004 with the release of ‘The System Has Failed’, Dave Mustaine personally helped remaster the band’s back catalogue. With ‘Countdown To Extinction’, the remaster is excellent. All of the guitar lines shine through the remaster, the drums are crisp sounding and the bass is ever present. Mustaine’s vocals also sound great. The remaster of the album also has a great track in the ‘Crown Of Worms’ out-take and demos for ‘Countdown To Extinction’, ‘Symphony Of Destruction’ and ‘Psychotron’. A great remaster version to get hold of.

    So what about the 11 tracks on the album? ‘Countdown’ gets underway with hard hitting opener ‘Skin O’ My Teeth’. This song, with a contemplation of suicide theme, has some pretty fast riffs and assured Mustaine vocals. Friedman serves up a great solo during the course of the song. Following this is a true Megadeth classic in ‘Symphony Of Destruction’. A deceptive orchestral opening builds into a slower, chugging but phemoninal metal song. A catchy riff and growling Mustaine vocal sets the tone of the song. The chorus is great and Friedman plays yet again another great solo. ‘Architecture Of Aggression’ follows. Gun fire opens the song before a great pacy metal riff kicks in. A great song with Mustaine raising lyrical issues questioning military tactics. ‘Foreclosure Of A Dream’ is next up, a song looking at political failings. The song has a hard, resonating chorus. The slower verses with softer guitar are good contrasts. One of Megadeth’s most famed songs, ‘Sweating Bullets’ rolls in next. This is a great but also really funny song. Dave Mustaine does some amusing narrative voice overs in the verse. Musically the song is quite simple but it’s very effective. The soloing in the middle of the song is pretty captivating.

    ‘This Was My Life’ is an underrated track. The song has a quite echoey chorus and some stunning punchy metal riffs. The title track is next, ironically this is probably the weakest track on the album. Lyrically the song is very effective, with some powerful lyrics about the extinction of endangered species. However musically the song never quite gets going, with only the flurried chorus a highlight in that respect. Still, not a bad track. Nevertheless, things pick up again with ‘High Speed Dirt’, with more great riffs and some blazing solos from Friedman and a catchy acoustic guitar fill, before a great ‘High Speed Dirt!’ chorus. ‘Psychotron’ is next, another highlight of the album filled with gritty riffs and catchy solo fills. Theres more amusement, with some funny voice overs in ‘Captive Honour’, a song which looks at crime and it’s consequences. In many ways this is a much improved version of ‘502′ from the ‘So Far, So Good…So What!’ album. Then though, we have the best saved till last with ‘Ashes In Your Mouth’. This song, which looks at the aftermath of war, is my personal favourite track on the album. It’s a criminally underrated song which has an awesome opening sequence and a great accelerated chorus, with a distorted ‘God Have Mercy!’ Mustaine vocal. The song is brilliant right through it’s 6 minute run time. A cool drum solo followed by pounding chords finish off what is a classic Megadeth album.

    So there you have it, another essential album in the Megadeth discography. Dave Mustaine and his band may have slowed things down a bit and lost some of their thrash stylings, but this album more than makes up for it in very well crafted songwriting, powerful lyrics and catchiness/humour. ‘Countdown To Extinction’ is another chapter in the development of Megadeth and captures the classic line-up of the band at the top of their game. ‘Countdown’ is a must for any Megadeth fan and for any metal/rock fan in general. Even if your not really into thrash bands, you will be sure to find a lot of common ground with this great album.

    MY RATING: 9/10

    Posted on January 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Metallica and Megadeth both did something similar in the early 90’s-they experimented with their sound. While Metallica truly sold out(I only like the hard songs on that album) and became mainstream rock, Megadeth experimented, but they were still metal. This CD sounds more like traditional heavy metal than thrash metal, but it’s still brilliant. This may not be the insanely complex speed-fest that was Rust in Peace or Peace Sells, but they are still technical(i’m really wearing this word out, aren’t I?), even if they reverted to a verse-chorus formula for some of the record. The band’s musicianship is top quality as always. Like i’ve said a thousand times before, there are plenty of nice riffs and solos on here, as well as a little more acoustic work than their previous releases. Highlights on this record include “Sweating Bullets”, “Skin O My Teeth”, and “Architechture of Agression”. While Metallica’s only good releases were the first 4, Megadeth’s whole catalog is worthy(though Risk may be an exception if you aren’t a purist like me.) Get this instead of the overrated black album.

    Posted on January 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When I heard that Dave Mustaine wanted to remaster and re-record most of the parts on all the Megadeth Catalog, I always wondered if there was much to change in this album. As I heard I found out that there wasn’t much to do.
    While most of the other albums, specially the ones before this one, got the loads of reverb taken off, this album actually went almost the other way. The sound is almost slightly thicker. The guitars are slightly more “bass-y”, the bass is very slighly more predominant than the original and the vocals sound more mature.
    Still with great thrash moments (as in Ashes in Your Mouth), aggressive musical attacks (Symphony of Destruction), and driving songs (Skin Of My Teeth), the sound is very hardly different from the original. The album still features beautyfull guitar moments (Countdown to Extintion, Foreclousure of a Dream).
    Since this album was digital to start with the changes are not as easy to notice as in “So Far, So good… So What” per say. Still the little changes make the record better sounding, now is it worth the money? if you have the original, I don’t see why spending $15 on something so damn similar.
    The extra tracks help, they are fine, the new sleves and notes are interesting, but I still don’t think that they are worth $15, buy it used.

    Highlights: Ashes in your Mouth, Countdown to Extintion
    Lowlights: not worth it if you own the original.

    Posted on January 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • There are a couple of good things about the remix, namely the sound is more pronounced, the guitars are clearer, and overall you get more ‘Deth in your ears. HOWEVER, why Dave Mustaine made some of the choices he did, I can’t explain. For instance, Symphony Of Destruction is missing the harmonized guitars found in the chorus, one of my favorite aspects of the original. What was wrong with the way it was?

    If you’ve never heard the original, then better for you. Its still a great album. Fans of the original with fond memories, be warned.

    Posted on January 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • THE BAND: Dave Mustaine (lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitar), Marty Friedman (lead & rhythm guitar), David Ellefson (bass), Nick Menza (drums & percussion).

    THE DISC: (2004) This remixed version contains 15 songs clocking in at approximately 67 minutes. Included with the disc is a 18-page booklet containing a brief intro, band photos, song credits, song lyrics, and thank you’s. “Countdown To Extinction” was original released in 1992 with 11 total tracks. Recorded at The Enterprise, Burbank, CA. New producer – Max Norman. Label – Capital.

    COMMENTS: Warning – do not trade in your original disc/album for this new remixed and remastered version of “Countdown To Extinction”. You need them both! This new enhanced version contains slightly different takes on the songs. Mustaine’s vocals appear (on some songs) like he’s in a deep echo chamber. Song intro’s, song ending’s, and some guitar solo’s sound completely different. In some songs, it even sounds like Nick Menza is using a different drum kit (from the orignal ‘92 release). In my opinion – these are classic NEW takes on classic songs (reminiscent of what Deep Purple just did with their classics “Machine Head” and “Burn”). On to the review of the disc… Like Metallica, Megadeth was originally known for lightning fast riffs and steady drums to hold the songs together. This kind of music played to a select group of listeners. Megadeth matured a little bit, got a new producer, slowed it down just a tad… and the result was “Countdown to Extinction”. A solid effort from start to finish. The old school Megadeth fans will say the band sold out (like old school Metallica fans said the band did with their 1991 “Black” album as well as “Load” in 1996). I’ve always believed that you simply can’t please everyone. With “Countdown To Extinction” though, I felt then as I do now – Megadeth reached so many more listeners with their new and improved sound. This isn’t the band’s best selling album for no reason. Mustaine and Friedman’s guitars are hard, crunchy and tight. Ellefson’s bass playing is thundering in the background. Menza’s drumming has been equalled on other albums, but never better than here. The first 6 songs are back to back metal classics. My favorite songs (even years later) are “Foreclosure of a Dream”, “This Was My Life”, “Sweating Bullets”, and “Symphany of Destruction”. The bonus tracks are great too – “Crown Of Worms” fits right into the spirit of the album. The 3 ‘Demo’ cuts sound stripped down and crisp – great takes! If you were not into Megadeth because of their trademark speed licks and thrash… I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by the results from “Countdown To Extinction”. In 1992, this was vastly different than anything else they’d ever done. This is easily my favorite release in the entire Megadeth catelog. Classic disc.

    Posted on January 24, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now