Megadeth
Countdown to Extinction


4.0
excellent

Review

by LaughingSkull USER (32 Reviews)
January 14th, 2014 | 21 replies | 679 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Successfully achieves accessibility without sacrificing integrity

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

By releasing the ridiculously good Rust in Peace in 1990, Megadeth had achieved the pinnacle of songwriting that the thrash subgenre allowed for. With it, the band proved capable of interweaving stellar instrumental work within complex arrangements, resulting in a sophisticated product that was nonetheless very catchy and memorable. At that point in time, metal was on the verge of breaking into the mainstream, with Metallica releasing their famed self-titled album in 1991. And rivalry-fueled Dave Mustaine, ever-eager to outdo his competitors, decided that the only logical path for his band to take was to also expand their sound into a more accessible format. The result was Countdown to Extinction.

Countdown to Extinction had its eyes on the grand prize of radio airplay and fame. As a result, the band has sacrificed most of the complexity that had accompanied Rust in Peace in favor of a more streamlined and polished sound. The songs are primarily straightforward four-minute rockers, sporting an emphasis on catchy guitar hooks, vocal lines and choruses. Despite this sharp turn in style and simplification of sound, however, the album's attitude still screams "Megadeth!". Mustaine's snarl hasn't lost its edge, and neither have the instrumental capabilities of Ellefson, Friedman and Menza who don't waste the opportunity to show off their prowess every now and then. The solo in Symphony of Destruction is still among the finest the band ever put out, whereas the tasteful opening bassline to the title track and the drum solo in closer Ashes in Your Mouth are successful as well. Even ridiculous-yet-cool design decisions such as the "Hello me, meet the real me!" monologue in Sweating Bullets don't take away from the fun factor that this release possesses. In addition, a high degree of consistency is achieved throughout the record's eleven songs, which successfully prevent this from being a singles album.

The band hasn't entirely lost touch with its past self, as there are a few moments which remind us of older Megadeth. Architecture of Aggression and Ashes in your Mouth are heavier, more complex and more aggressive than the rest of the songs, even sporting some off-time 2/4 and 7/8 riffs here and there. Captive Honour, on the other hand, features a pretty complicated riff that almost sounds like a lead. If there are songs I'd criticise, one would be Psychotron, which simply doesn't manage to be interesting. Also, High Speed Dirt, despite being decidedly catchy and upbeat, is about the quite dull and un-metal subject of skydiving.

Overall, Countdown's crowning achievement is that it successfully breaks into radio-play territory without sacrificing the integral ingredients that make the music Megadeth and not some other band. Do listen.

Notes:
*2012 marked the 20-th anniversary of the record. The band released a special concert DVD featuring the album played in its entirety, including songs that haven't been played before. It's an interesting listen, so make sure to watch it.
*There's a demo version of the title track floating around the web, featuring a heavier, more accentuated drum rhythm plus an additional riff. It adds a whole new, more thrashy feel to the song, which provides insight on the various design decisions that the band was going through during the recording process.
*Anyone remember how Mustaine has writing credits for Metallica's Phantom Lord off their debut LP? If you're looking for the Megadeth song that features his contribution, it's in This Was My Life. Compare the 2:34 segment in Phantom Lord to the 2:58 one in This Was My Life. It's the same thing!
*The bonus track Crown of Worms is a pretty awesome stab at NWOBHM.




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user ratings (2116)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
dannyboy89
January 14th 2014



11911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Review is well written, so pos'd.

KILL
January 14th 2014



70599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

GOD HAVE MERCY

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

KjSwantko
January 14th 2014



9054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah nice review; pos'd.

dannyboy89
January 14th 2014



11911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

KILL
January 14th 2014



70599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ashes is top 10 megadave foreal

LaughingSkull
January 14th 2014



216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AND SHOULD WE REALLY CARE??

BigHans
January 14th 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dave did a good job of copying Metallica's career arc yet again here.

DominionMM1
January 14th 2014



9541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so much good on this

Digging: Neurosis - Through Silver in Blood

KILL
January 14th 2014



70599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is the better album tho m/

LaughingSkull
January 14th 2014



216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, black album is just a bunch of really good singles interspersed with mediocre filler

BigHans
January 14th 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

some of the best songs on Black album were the non radio songs.

WOLF
NEVER
GOD
MISERY

DominionMM1
January 14th 2014



9541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

even though some of those songs ended up making it to radio

BigHans
January 14th 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dont remember any of those being on, at least in the metropolis of Fargo

dannyboy89
January 14th 2014



11911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Hans', is there a bigger 'Tallica fan than you on Sputnik?

NodScene23
January 14th 2014



264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos

psyclonus
January 14th 2014



126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review. album's great. and their last for me.

WatchItExplode
January 14th 2014



3204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album's got the goods. Hard to pick but Ashes in Your Mouth or This Was My Life are probs my favs.

BigHans
January 14th 2014



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hans', is there a bigger 'Tallica fan than you on Sputnik?


^ Probably not

Fluttertrank
January 14th 2014



17098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tallica is ass.

DominionMM1
January 14th 2014



9541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

think they've played just about every track from that record here except for a few like my friend of misery and the god that failed



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