Countdown To Extinction
The Band: Dave Mustaine- lead vocals, guitar
Marty Friedman- back up vocals, guitar
Nick Menza- back up vocals, drums
David Ellefson- back up vocals, bass
Megadeth, without a doubt one of the biggest thrash metal bands of all time. Theyíre right up there with all the greats Metallica, Iron Maiden etc, and this (Countdown To Extinction) is one of their greatest albums. The instrumentals were top notch throughout. Solid on all counts. The vocals however were another story. For lack of a better phrase Iíll say this. Dave Mustaine couldnít sing his way out of a paper bag. Sometimes I actually wish he wouldíve stayed with Metallica. Donít get me wrong Kirk Hammet filled his shoes nicely, but if he was still in Metallica James would still be the lead vocalist and we wouldnít have to here him sing. Although, recent events (St. Anger) have proved that James vocals are declining, as well.
What Iíd like to do now is sort of dissect the instrumentals one instrument at a time. Iíll start with the guitar. Which by the way was nearly flawless. Plenty of nice thrashy riffs throughout the entire album. Mostly power chords but that didnít bother me as much as it usually does. There was some nice acoustic work in here, also. I found this quite pleasing. Itís nice to see artists branch out a little bit. The acoustic riffs were also well written. Which I didnít really expect because Dave is more accustomed to writing speedy metal distorted riffs. I donít have much to say about bridges/ interludes as they were few and far between, but the ones that were there, were quite spectacular. Now to the solos, all of which were very well written. All the solos were of good length. Nice and long but didnít drag on for too long. It would have been nice to see some slower solos in here. They werenít really any. But thereís nothing particularly wrong with super-fast solos either. Some of the solos also had wah and other FX thrown in there. So to sum up the paragraph the guitar work was marvelous, stupendous, stunning you get the point.
Now moving along, we get to the bass. Itís difficult to describe. This is because during most parts of the album the bass was quite difficult to here. But if you listen closely enough to here it, itís quite good. Itís not top quality but itís adequate. In most songs the bass wasnít really the stand out part of the song. But it did itís job behind the proverbial curtains. It often lifted up tracks, giving them that extra something. I guess you could say it filled in the wholes. Not to say that the bass didnít have itís stand out moments. For example in the intro to ďCountdown to Extinction" after a few brief power chords the bass had a nice little fill. So to some up the bass Ellefson is no Flea, but heís got some skill. Kudos to the bass for being the man behind the curtain on this album.
One to the drums. Not a lot I can say about them really. They had there moments here and there. Never really did too much, with the exception of the little fill or solo that came along every once and a while. For example the intro track ďSkin Oí My Teeth", there was an excellent little solo to start things off. Like the bass the drums were over shadowed by the guitar. But they did their job. Kept very good timing and rhythm throughout. Although, some beats were a bit simple for my taste and I would have liked to see Menza throw in a few more fills here and there. To sum up the drums they were a bit above average and nothing more really.
The vocals. They donít really qualify as part of the instrumentals (and itís a good thing they donít, because if they qualified as an instrument no one would want to play it) but oh well. As I previously mentioned they were sub par. Mustaine really shouldnít be the lead singer. If Megadeth brought in some one else to sing they would be much better. Mustaineís voice is just too horse for my taste. I know I shouldnít be talking, as Iím a Hetfield fan. Tee-hee. But still his voice is just undeniably bad. I think part of it is at some parts he actually tryís to actually sing. If you feel me. Like choir sing. He lets some notes ring out for far too long like heís trying to go up into an opera-esque pitch.
The overall sound of the album was spectacular. The only really noticeable flaw were the vocals. Other than that everything was simply outstanding and even the vocals werenít bad at times. I guess the didnít really bring the album that much. After all, how could they. The instrumentals are just so damn good. Although, it would have been nice for the bass and drums to have a tad more input. Although, this came out in a time where bands were often much more guitar oriented than they are today. So, itís not like when I started listening to this I was expecting a lot of bass or drums. One word to describe the overall sound of the album I suppose would be remarkable.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
The album was actually well produced
Cons: The vocals
Other instruments were in the shadow of the guitar
Recommended Tracks: Skin Oí My Teeth
Architecture Of Destruction
Countdown To Extinction
And so concludes another one of my reviews. Hope you enjoyed it. This is well worth looking into. Especially if youíre a big thrash metal fan, like myself. Even if youíre not really into metal, you might want to look into this. Perhaps it will get you into metal? But if you actually are looking into this to try and get yourself into metal, remember most metal bands have better vocals. So, until next time keep your stick on the ice.