Megadeth. That one word alone means so many different things to so many different people. To me it represents one of my all time favourite bands, a band that left an indelible mark on me as a kid growing up and that I’ve followed ever since. They are one of the pioneers of the Thrash movement and one of the most consistent bands in the whole of metal. “Countdown to Extinction”, the band’s fifth album and follow up to the monumental “Rust In Peace”, saw the band grow from strength to strength and has now reached the 20 year mark since its release and as is the Megadeth way, the album has been re-released in a special anniversary edition set.
The set includes a remastered version of the album, and includes a brand new set of liner notes, as well as expanded artwork. Also included is four individual photo postcards each with a different member of the band on it, a large fold out poster featuring a nuclear explosion along with band mascot Vic Rattlehead, as well as a bonus live CD featuring a previously unreleased concert recorded in 1992 at The Cow Palace in San Francisco.
By now most of you will be familiar with the album itself, which to this day remains Megadeth‘s biggest selling album. This seems strange given its divisive nature amongst the band’s fans, but still it has the singles ‘Sweating Bullets’ and ‘Symphony of Destruction’ as well ‘Skin O’ My Teeth’, ‘Architecture of Aggression and ‘Ashes in Your Mouth’. So it does contain some pretty heavyweight tracks, as well as having the lesser known gem ‘Foreclosure of A Dream’ on it as well. Whilst not being the best album in Megadeth‘s arsenal, it still contains enough good tracks to warrant it’s place in history.
The real selling point of this set is the unreleased live CD, which features the classic Megadeth line up of Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Nick Menza and Marty Friedman running through basically all the classic moments of the band’s first five albums, which as any Megadeth fan knows are the band’s best years. It also allows the chance to hear the band playing songs live that you’ll never hear them play now, songs like ‘The Conjuring’, ‘Ashes in Your Mouth’, ‘Wake Up Dead’ and their, at the time controversial, cover of The Sex Pistols‘ ‘Anarchy In The UK’. This would have been worth the selling price alone if it had been released as a standalone, and is probably one of the best live recordings Megadeth have put out. The fact that something of this quality is being used as a selling point for a reissue is quite astonishing, it’s a rare gem, that will find a good home amongst any Megadeth fan’s collection.
Reissues can be a minefield, and often times arent worth the double dip for long time fans of a band, but with this not only do you get a brilliant crisp sounding copy of “Countdown to Extinction” but you also get a great gem of a live album as well.
Many people have differing opinions on the person they think Dave Mustaine is, but this release serves to highlight the thing we all universally think of him. That he is a brilliant musician who can and will on any given day write a song that you couldn’t even dream of writing, and with Megadeth he helped change the face of metal forever.