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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Megadeth - Countdown To Extinction Live

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 9:55 PM


Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction Live

Written by Dave Smiles


As a teenager there were only a few kids in my high school who were metal heads so we kind of stood out. It was the nineties and the shred guitar, musical dexterity times of the eighties was long gone. If it wasn’t the Seattle Grunge riffs in the charts it was the God awful dance music.


Being of an age where I didn’t have an income meant I had only a small collection of CDs, and the only Megadeth album I had was Countdown to Extinction, and man did I play the hell out of it. For me, it will always be an album from my youth, the time of change from childhood to adulthood, and in hindsight (is always twenty twenty) it showed the growth Megadeth had gone through as well.


Countdown to Extinction was a departure from the classic thrash style that had been perfected with Rust in Peace; it was and is the most successful in the Megadeth catalogue and achieved this status with little, if any, cries of sell out and certainly without any loss of musical integrity. The song writing honed in on themes of global pollution issues, (that were touched upon with Rust in Piece’s Dawn Patrol) and expanded into its effects on the environment and extinction of species


Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover have now replaced Marty Feldman and Nick Menza on lead guitar and drums respectively. The classic line up will always be a favorite for many fans, but there’s no taking away from the new line up’s unity and musical talents.


The performance of the album is bookended with three classics tracks either side Trust, Hanger 18, Public Enemy, and She Wolf, Peace Sells, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.


A laid back version of Trust with additional harmonies during the intro open the show, gives the impression the band is out to enjoy themselves and have nothing to prove. Hanger 18 comes across as going for performance accuracy, rather than gung-ho attitude. That’s not to say that the typical Megadeth aggression isn’t present, as shown in Public Enemy which holds its own amongst the older material.


Songs like Psychotron and Captive Honour make their live debuts, while Architecture of Aggression and High Speed Dirt make a welcome return to a live Megadeth show.


The performance of the album itself never skips a beat. The live energy of the performance brings a fresh feel to songs we’ve heard a thousand times. The most interesting thing is twenty years on and the themes raised throughout the album are just as vital now as they were then, if not more so. The world may have changed - as has music and Megadeth - but while all have been on the brink of extinction, true strength is always found in the face of adversity. Like planet earth, Megadeth and a young outcast metal head, we’re all equipped with the ability to adapt to our ever changing environment.


Twenty years have passed but to use an old cliché ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same…’

 


Categories: Album Reviews

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