Thursday, January 15, 2015

Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction (1992)

My first encounter with the song "Sweating Bullets" from Megadeth's 5th album "Countdown To Extinction" was in the video game Guitar Hero 5. After seeing songs like "Hangar 18" and "Peace Sells" going through the same medium, I was underwhelmed with the surprisingly simple guitar track, and I just thought to myself that this was the wimpiest Megadeth song that I have ever heard.

I cannot help but thinking that the exact same feeling probably came to a lot of Megadeth fans in 1992 when "Countdown To Extinction" came out. Following thrash filled albums such as "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!" and "Rust In Peace", "Countdown To Extinction" is kind of a weird Megadeth album, being slower and containing less riffs and solos. I would not even consider this to be a thrash album, it is more like a generic hard rock album. The lack of speed and frenzy could potentially chock the common Megadeth fan, so I find it strange that it does not have a warning label on the album addressing that.

I can definitely understand that Dave Mustaine wants to evolve his song writing since he seems to be that kind of guy who do not want to do the same thing over and over again, but his musical direction took a humongous leap towards something that did not seem to be fully thought-out. The album still does have some nice moments in it though. The main riff to the most well known song in the album, "Symphony of Destruction", is an all time classic, being very simple, but also containing a nice force in it, the title track shows how good this type of music can be with its groovy tempo and sweet solo, "Architecture of Aggression" does have some bite to it, and after hearing the other songs in the album, "Sweating Bullets" does not seem so bad after all with its psychotic dialogue and big drum sound.

Unfortunately, the mediocre and bad songs overpower the good songs almost completely, mostly because there are so many of them. I mean, what in the hell is hick songs like "High Speed Dirt" and "Foreclosure of A Dream" doing here? They don't fit in the Megadeth discography, nor this album. Then we also have the fact that none of the songs here could be classified as a thrash song, which I guess is good since it would mix up this album too much, but it almost feels like the band has left everything of what made them famous in the first place behind.

Ultimately, "Countdown To Extinction" does have some neat ideas when it comes to stable hard rock, but I feel like it was the wrong time for Dave and Co. to present this album to the public. A sort of middle album between "Rust In Peace" and this one would have made the musical transition much smoother and not make the band seem like such a big sell out. This record is decent, but I think we can all agree on that the band is a lot better when they are just bombarding the listener with riffs instead of slow grooves.

Songs worthy of recognition: Symphony of Destruction, Sweating Bullets, Countdown To Extinction

Rating: 6/10 Psychotrons

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