Actual Rating- 4.5 Stars)
Youthanasia(1994). Megadeth’s Sixth Studio Release.
In 1994, Grunge, stricken with the death of Kurt Cobain, began to get less and less popular, and with the 1995 releases of Soundgarden’s ‘Superunknown’ and Alice In Chain’s self-titled album, that genre sadly went out of style and was replaced with Rap-Metal(god help us). Always in the shadow of things, bands like Megadeth and Metallica, who hit it big in the early-90’s, tried valiantly to repeat their sucess, and with the 1994 release of ‘Youthanasia’, Megadeth once again entered the Top 30. While Metallica’s ‘Load’(which was released later the next year) has since become a disgrace even if it did go to #1, Megadeth prospered until the release of ‘Risk’, which effectively saw them “selling-out” too. In retrospect, ‘Youthanasia’ has been described by fans as one of Megadeth’s best, and certainly their last great album. So, is ‘Youthanasia’ a good listen, or a sorry state of affairs? Read on to find out!
Reckoning Day- ‘Youthanasia’ starts off with “Reckoning Day”, an unforgiving, metallic attack that blends thunderous, pounding guitar riffs and demented vocals with the solos and choruses Megadeth fans have come to know and love.
Train of Consequences- One of Megadeth’s strongest tracks, “Train of Consequences” starts off with the *spit-fire*(It’s undescribable, but amazing) guitar riff, but Mustaine turns the song into an optomistic, melodic look at the possibilities of life. Mustaine’s pained vocals and Friedman’s wacky guitar work will blow you away!
Addicted To Chaos- A slow thrasher, “Addicted To Chaos” uses a pulsing guitar riff and melodic vocals from Mustaine to create a *slow* rocker not unlike their hit “Almost Honest”. Friedman and Mustaine hit all the right notes, and Menza’s drumming won’t fail to please. Not really a ballad, yet one of Megadeth’s more emotional tracks.
A Tout Le Monde- ‘Youthanasia’s biggest hit, and most unlikely, finds Megadeth doing a ballad about lost love, but what’s weirder is Mustaine sings the chorus entirely in French! Friedman and Mustaine spit out emotional rhythm and electric guitar melodies, and Mustaine’s vocals(for once!) work extremely well, giving the song a deep sense of emotion. Unless you can’t stand French(the language), “A Tout Le Monde” is an emotional ballad you won’t soon forget.
Elysian Fields- Megadeth goes back to their Thrash roots on “Elysian Fields”, a dark and sarcastic at the death of Jesus Christ(It’s not sacreligious at all..). Mustaine’s creepy vocals and Friedman’s doomy guitar riff go from metallic to punky, and the chorus is something to behold(It reminds me of Alice In Chains). Good song.
The Killing Road- Much like Testament’s Death Metal material of the 90’s, “The Killing Road” is a dark, dreadfully hopeless ode to going insane, mixed with Mustaine’s uncaring(don’t worry, they aren’t Death Metal vocals) vocals and Friedman’s thumping guitar riff. Great musicianship, great song!
Blood of Heroes- Beginning much like an epic from the Boston Symphony, “Blood of Heroes” soon turns into a “kill-or-be-killed” song, complete with amazing solos, riffs, and time signature changes from Mustaine and Friedman’s duel-guitar attack. Mustaine’s dark lyrics and creepy vocals work well! I like this one a lot!
Family Tree- Although it starts like “A Tout Le Monde”, “Family Tree”, complete with an emotional rhythm guitar melody, soon turns into a seedy rocker about the government trying to cover up conspiracies. Friedman and Mustaine’s guitar antics go well with Ellefson’s addictive bassline, and Mustaine’s vocals echo back to the good ol’ days of “Hangar 18″. C-O-O-L!
Youthanasia- The album’s title track, “Youthanasia” is an interesting look at the demons of Dave Mustaine, yet the song, which features “distorted” vocals from Mustaine, doesn’t really pick up until much later in the song. When it DOES pick up, Friedman dishes out an amazing solo, not to mention some great riffs. If the beginning of this song wasn’t so *lame*, “Youthanasia” would be one of the album’s best. Good.
I Thought I Knew It All- A Thrash song with a melodic chorus, “I Thought I Knew It All” begins like any other Megadeth song, with a remorseless and dark riff, not to mention “gloom-and-doom” vocals from Mustaine, but the emotional chorus finds Megadeth doing a melodic song not unlike “A Tout Le Monde”. Nonetheless, the musicianship is good and the song rules!
Black Curtains- Think of the heavy, dark, Thrash qualities of 80’s Metallica and mix that with the duel-guitar attack and creepy lyrics of Iron Maiden and you get “Black Curtains”, a dark thrasher that finds every musician playing their heart out. One of the album’s highlights.
Victory- A parody of Megadeth itself, “Victory” looks back at all of the songs in Megadeth’s career(The lyrics talk about “Holy Wars” and “Countdown To Extinction”), and Ellefson’s punchy bassline and Megadeth’s punky vocals make “Victory” a very interesting track.
The 2004 ‘Youthanasia’ remaster contains three new tracks, “Millennium Of The Blind”, “New World Order”, and “Absolution”, and a new version of “A Tout Le Monde”. These tracks are icing on the cake, and they add to the album even if they are short!
Overall, ‘Youthanasia’, while not being as good as Megadeth’s 80’s material and ‘Rust In Peace’, is definitely an improvement over ‘Countdown To Extinction’. It’s a very good album, showcasing some of Mustaine’s best vocals and showing that Mustaine and Marty Friedman can still spit out solos worthy of honor. While not being a perfect record, it’s still a great choice for Megadeth fans, and certainly better than anything Metallica, Anthrax, or Slayer put out around the same time(1994-1995).
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO FANS OF THRASH, HEAVY METAL, AND MEGADETH! IF YOU’RE A NEWBIE, GO FOR ‘RUST IN PEACE’, BUT IF YOU WANT TO WIDEN YOUR COLLECTION, PICK UP ‘YOUTHANASIA’!
Killer Kuts- “Train of Consequences”, “A Tout Le Monde”, “The Killing Road”, “Family Tree”, “Black Curtains”, and “Victory”.
Rust In Peace- Megadeth
Souls of Black- Testament
The Black Album- Metallica