Released in 1992 this is Megadeth's 5th album. Also, it is their second with guitarist Marty Freidman and drumer Nick Menza. As you all might have realised Marty Friedman slightly altered Megadeths sound although Dave Mustaine wrote most of the songs. The lead parts became more technical and melodic. This album though, has a much different sound than any of its predecesors. Megadeths thrash/speed metal sound seems to have slightly dissipated. Yet, Countdown is still quite good and has its strengths. Not as fast or thrashy as Rust in Peace but still heavier and less "popy" than Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings.
Dave Mustaine: Lead and rhythm guitars and lead vocals.
Marty Friedman: Lead and acoustic guitars and backing vocals.
Nick Menza: Drums and backing vocals.
David Ellefson: Bass guitars and backing vocals
1) Skin o' my Teeth: Starts with a pretty fast drum fill which leads into a guitar riff being played alone. Although the riff is somewhat heavy, it doesnt sound like any megadeth riff that existed before. But, then Dave starts singing and theres no way you can't know its Megadeth. Sounds more like Heavy metal than Thrash metal. Pretty cool opener with a catchy chorus. 4/5
2) Symphony of Destruction: Probably one of Megadeths most famous songs. The main riff is catchy and simple yet it sounds thrashier than most other riffs on the album. I beleive this is a single so its fairly short and kinda repetetive. Its main appeal is its heavy, catchy main riff. 4/5
3) Architecture of Aggression: Starts with some machine gun fire kinda like One by Metallica. Then comes a very heavy riff thats moderatly fast. This is probably the second thrashiest track. Every riff is pretty heavy and all the parts of the somg seem to fit perfectly together. The solo is also very appropriate and seems to fit right in. 4.5/5
4) Foreclosure of a Dream: Another single. This song deffenetly doesnt sound like megadeth (appart from Mustaines voice). It sounds like hard rock. I wouldnt say its bad for that reason though. The clean riff used for the verse sounds nice and the solo completely rocks thanks to Mr. Freidman.
Also, Menza's metal druming (double bass pedal beats) add that metal edge that makes you wanna headbang. 3.5/5
5) Sweating Bullets: Now this is a weird song. Basically after a little guitar melody intro, Mustaine talks over a pretty basic and repetetive riff. Then as soon as the chorus comes along he sings. Every thing about this song seems basic. I dont think Dave put too much effort into this song. Im surprised they still play it live. But i must admit the lyrics are quite entertaining like "hello me, meet the real me", or "nice story. Tell it to readers digest". 3/5
6) This Was My Life: Although the intro/chorus riff is pretty heavy I think this song is too "poppy" and the lyrics are kinda weak. "This is the part of me that hates/ Paybacks are a bitch/ I throw the switch." Nothing special, just more hardrock filler. There is a pretty heavy palm muted riff at the end though but its not quite enough to save this song. 3/5.
7)Countdown to Extinction: A very powerful intro followed by a forboding bassline from David Ellefson. The verse is kinda mellow as if a climax was building. It seems that Megadth has gone back to thrash... but no. The chorus is too weak. Although it is melodic and Mustaines singing sounds great it doesnt have the intensity that I expected after hearing that riff thats after the verse and that leads into the chorus. Moreover, there is no solo. Instead there is some woman talking. After her little speech is done, there is a very poppy riff that could easily be found in the song Trust off Cryptic Writtings. If this song had a heavier chorus and a beatiful solo by Friedman followed by a thrashy fast solo by Dave, this could have been one of Megadeths best songs!! Its still pretty good. 4/5.
8) High Speed Dirt: Another unMegadth like guitar intro kicks off a song about Mustaines interest in sky diving. I find this song abbit repetitive but there are some cool parts. For example there is a sort of country style chicken plucking (I think thats what its called...) riff twards the end. It fitts in perfectly. One of the better hardrock tracks. 3.5/5.
9) Psychotron: After some sound effects and a little guitar melody intro theres a WICKED riff that leads into the verse. This song is thrash but the lyrics are abit stupid. "A killing machine, just down right mean". Also, the chorus sounda bit strange, as if it didnt fit too well with the verse. I like the rhythm that the verse has. The riff plus Mustaines weird singing and the druming make one hell of a verse. Not an oustanding track though. 3/5
10) Captive Honor: Starts straight away with Mustaine singing over a soft guitar part. Very melodic and soothing. Then, suddenly a heavy riff kicks in with mustaine saying. "Ladies and gentleman of the Jury, have you reached a verdict? Yes we have your honor, we find the defendent guilty! On all counts for crimes against all humanity." After more talking over a different heavy riff, the chorus kicks in and you can see that this song is metal. Not quite as thrashy as pre 1990 megadeth but still heavy. Mustaine and Friendman both do great solos twards the end. 4/5
11) Ashes in your Mouth: Very strong closing track. After a few power chords and a "flight of the bumble bee" type riff comes THE heaviest riff on the album. Mustaine sounds insane as he sings this song. This is back to thrash. After a the second chorus and a little bridge part there is kick ass solo foloowed by a catchy little harmony part. Then back to the insanely heavy riff. Probably the best song on the album. 5/5.
This album is relativly good. Better than any other 90s Megadeth album (besides Rust in Peace of course). Some die hard fans will probably say stuff like: "They sold out with Countdown" but I think although this album does foreshadow a change in Megadeth's sound, it still has some strength and attitude. A similar album is Metallica's self titled album aka the Black Album. Yet, although the black album forshadowed a change in Metallica's sound, it was not very good. But again, that is just my opinion. In addition, I think this was an important release for megadeth because they play quite a few of these songs live even though this was released 13 years ago.
Overall rating: 3.5/5