What’s up, people? Here’s Shukin, someone with less free time than he wanted to. As of today, I’ll try to do a few reviews for this awesome blog, maybe with some regularity. Well, I’ll start with one of the albums that will never get out of my cellphone: Countdown to Extinction, by Megadeth.
Made in 1992, a year before I’ve even born, this is the 5th album made by Dave Mustaine’s band, created out of despise of being kicked out from Metallica. They’ve remastered the album over 2005 and that’s the version I’ll review today, as it’s the one I have here. The album has 66 minutes of music in it over 15 tracks. In my opinion, it’s at a good length, with the longest music being Ashes in Your Mouth, with 6:10 minutes, and the shortest one being Skin o’ My Teeth with its 3:14 minutes. Without further ado, let’s do this.
1> Skin O’ My Teeth [3:14] – Actually, I’m glad this is the shortest track. I’m not very fond of it, it’s just too bland for me to highlight something in the guitar, even the solo are not that inspiring, besides being the best part of the music by a far margin. The drums keep its metronomic rhythm the whole music, changing over the bridge and the chorus, but that’s it. The lyrics are about some kind of accident, Wikipedia says it’s about one of Dave Mustaine’s tries at killing himself, with a car crash being the focus of the whole track. The only part of the lyrics that I really like is the chorus, with that prolonged pseudo-scream by Mustaine in its end.
2> Symphony of Destruction [4:05] – This is the music Countdown to Extinction is remembered by. I think it’s overrated. Sure, it’s an awesome song by its own and all of that, and the lyrics are really good, talking about how a Magnificient Bastard can climb into power and yadda yadda, but there are better songs over this album, and this is the kind of track that steals all the spotlight and makes the real masterpieces stay in the shadows. The guitar is kept with a good rhythm over the music, and the solo is truly amazing. The drums are even blander than Skin O’ My Teeth, but this time this is expected and it’s a good example of where bland is better. Oh, and the bass. That bass, besides being too simple, is the most important part of the song. Without it, Symphony of Destruction couldn’t exist, I love it.
3> Architecture of Aggression [3:38] – This is one example of music that surpasses Symphony of Destruction over the album. The lyrics are really great and Mustaine does a great job singing them. As the focus of the track, they’ve used war and some of its implications, but most importantly, some of the tactics that some countries have used over history to make themselves bigger and more powerful. Not too much to talk about this track, it’s a really good music that deserves a little more attention, adding the cliché war sounds at the start and the end of the music, with the “fight for America” madness tantrum thrown into it, makes it even better.
4> Foreclosure of a Dream [4:21] – The chorus of this track is so awesome that I’ve found myself singing it more times than enough for me to accept that I really like this song. The acoustic guitar over the background is really good, too, making up for the atmosphere of the music. The first time that I’ve heard the chorus gave me goosebumps, Mustaine’s voice is really fitting to the lyrics. The song talks about dreams, obviously, and how some people loses their own while pursuing them, greed and the false feeling of accomplishment burying their hopes. It’s touching, but not enough. Anyway, it uses “Holocaust” too much times for it to have any impact, and in a completely wrong meaning, which makes the music to lose some of its seriousness.
5> Sweating Bullets [5:03] – That intro. God, that intro. It starts slowly enough, building up while creeping the listener and turning into a whole fast-paced music with awesome lyrics and, as usual, Mustaine’s voice makes it even better. As a music that talks about Schizophrenia, it’s the little things that makes this gold, like the single guitar strings behind the distorted one over the chorus and the music slowly taking a more aggressive direction. I surely can say that I really love this album, as this, too, is one of the musics that I like.
6> This Was My Life [3:43] – This track reaches its best over its final part, with a much lower tone and rhythm, so you can ignore the whole rest. Really. It’s a Megadeth song, so it’s like a lot of them. Nice guitars, good solo, drums that doesn’t make anything that much impressive, good job with two guitarists and the lyrics talks about someone who kills someone and keeps blaming themselves for it, with pure fear of what will happen when someone uncovers them. Not that good… But then, there’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the final part is just too awesome for me not to talk about it again.
7> Countdown to Extinction [4:17] -Hoo boy, where will I start about this one? It’s a protest song. Against illegal hunting and killing of innocent animals and yadda yadda. Oh, and it’s the only metal song ever to receive the Doris Day Music Award, held by the Humane Society of the United States. No big deal, right?
This is such an awesome song that made, supposedly, James Hetfield, vocalist and founder of Metallica, to stop hunting. I freakin’ love this song, it stands side-by-side with Sweating Bullets and I love hearing it while writing or drawing.
8> High Speed Dirt [4:21] -I don’t like this song that much. It talks about skydiving, what’s the big deal? Good guitar, unimpressive lyrics, drums that sounds exactly like, well, the rest of the album, a bass that just complements the guitars and the best part of it is the final solo, with a loud “Shiiiiiyeeeeet” from Mustaine at the end, what.
9> Psychotron [4:41] -The worst song of the whole album. While I didn’t had that much to say about High Speed Dirt, it’s a good song to hear when running or while doing something frantic. This one… Well, it’s too bland, the lyrics doesn’t make sense or bring up any kind of message, as it’s about, as Wikipedia kindly says, “A killing robot that actually is more human than robot.” The best definition I could find, really.
10> Captive Honour [4:14] -‘Cause when you kill a man, you’re a murderer. Kill many, and you’re a conqueror. Kill them all and you’re a god. I love this quote. It starts with an impressively good acoustic guitar and, as Sweating Bullets, it turns into a full-blown fast music with awesome guitars and I while it works up on its badassness, the dialogue over the court is just too awesome for not giving me goosebumps when I’ve heard this the first, the second and even the third time. The lyrics talks about the criminal system and how someone reacts to it when convicted, there’s even the classical rape over the ending and that guard’s laugh is scary as hell.
11>Ashes in Your Mouth [6:10] -When I’ve first heard this one, my reaction was “meh”. It’s bland, not that fast or heavy and it doesn’t bring attention to itself. A good final music, as it’s the last one of the original album, and it finishes the album with a relaxing tune but, as time has passed, I’ve paid more attention to what it says and that chorus. I love that chorus. Really. The best chorus of the whole album, and I’m counting every track of it. It talks about war, as nearly every thrash metal track talked about over the 80’s, but with a medieval twist to it. Anyway, the questioning and the change of tone when the chorus starts are. Too. Awesome. Long music, mostly chorus, and I love every single moment of it.
Sure, if you ignore the first part of it.
And now, there’s the difference between the Remastered edition and the original one. The 1992 album ends over Ashes In Your Mouth. After remastering, they’ve added four more songs, three of them being the demos for, in order, Countdown to Extinction, Symphony of Destruction and Psychotron, and a new one called Crown of Worms.
12>Crown of Worms [3:17] – A nice beat over a good and relatively happy guitar and lyrics that, I don’t know, sounds awesome but I couldn’t grasp the meaning. The drums over this one is better than over the rest of the album and you can hear perfectly every instrument and how they interact with each other to form the harmony that is present though the entire song. The solo keeps the same rhythm with some variations and it’s good enough to complement the whole product.
13>Countdown to Extinction (Demo) [3:55] – There’s why I don’t like demos. The vocals are completely bland and the drums is everywhere, making the guitar nearly impossible to hear and the whole music feels rushed and I’m running out of ands to say how much I don’t like this track. It sounds a lot better in its finished version.
14>Symphony of Destruction (Demo) [5:29] – Mustaine sounds like he’s drunk while singing this and, again, bad mixing makes bad music. The chorus is nearly impossible to understand with such low vocals and the music is too long for its own good, adding too much time by doing anything.
15>Psychotron (Demo) [5:28] – The guitars over the start are better than the final version, actually, although the solos are better in the original. It doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t like this song and it still doesn’t make any kind of sense. Oh, and there’s the bad mixing too, obviously.
Overall, this is one of the best albums Megadeth made and, if you just ignore the existence of Psychotron and the demos, there’s a lot to enjoy in it.
Well, that’s it. This was Shukin, see you soon.