Greatest Hits: Back to the Start



by spoon_of_grimbo USER (74 Reviews)
November 12th, 2005 | 53 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Megadeth... To some people (myself included), they are the greatest band to have emerged from the melting pot of 80s thrash... To others they are merely a Metallica offshoot.

Fact is, Megadeth is Dave Mustaine (and to a point, Dave Ellefson, but "The System Has Failed" proved the band can survive without him). The band is his vision, he writes most of the songs, and then there's THAT VOICE. Some love it, some hate it, but no-one can say it's not distinctive.

Mix that with Dave's insane and rather unorthodox rhythm and lead work, the skills of various guitarists (most notably Chris Poland, and the inimitable Marty Friedman) and drummers (especially Gar Samuelson, and of course Nick Menza), and the distinctive basslines of the aforementioned Mr. Ellefson, and you've got a recipe for the perfect metal band.

This Greatest Hits set covers the whole of the band's career (barring the recent "The System Has Failed" due to it being released a matter of months before this compilation), and takes in most of the singles and influential tracks the band produced over the years.

From the early days we have the infamous "Mechanix" (the original and superior version of Metallica's "Four Hoursemen") from the debut, "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good," which demonstrates the furious thrash intent of the fledgling Megadeth.

From the follow-up "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying" we have the title track, with its legendary bass intro, sarcastic lyricism, and manic soloing, and "Wake Up Dead" a largely instrumental number chock full of signature riffs.

1988's "So Far, So Good, So What" is represented solely by "In My Darkest Hour," a fine song that shifts nicely between slow and fast paced riffing, with some atmospheric acoustic work thrown in.

From "Rust In Peace" we have "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" which is in my opinion THE DEFINITIVE Megadeth song, with some demented riffing and some great eastern solo melodies, and "Hangar 18" which gives Mustaine and then-new Marty Friedman's lead guitar prowess with a monumental guitar duel.

Megadeth's biggest commercial success came in the form of 1992's "Countdown To Extinction" and it is amply represented here by the quirky "Sweating Bullets," the frantic "Skin O' My Teeth," and the song that made them famous, "Symphony Of Destruction." All three of these show the progression the band made, and demonstrate their ability to slide effortlessly into the mainstream without the music suffering.

The album which first really divided their fanbase was the aforementioned "Countdown..." but its follow-up "Youthanasia" divided opinion further, with the introspective rock-balladry of the beautiful "A Tout Le Monde" and the weird muted riffery of "Train Of Consequences," both of which are included here.

Often viewed as a dissappointment, 97's "Cryptic Writings" is a favourite of mine, and saw the band (who were going through a rough time during recording) meld the polished heaviness of "Countdown..." with the more poppy, songwriting-oriented sounds of "Youthanasia" to great effect with offerings such as "Trust" (the band's highest charting single, with good reason) and "She-Wolf," a chuggingly good song with an amazing harmonised solo, and some addictive melodies.

I once saw 99's "Risk" described as a "radio-rimming sh!t pie." Although that is a pretty harsh view, the further forays into poppier territory contained on the record were not the best the band produced. "Prince Of Darkness" is the only song taken from this album to be included on this compilation.

In addition to these songs, we are also treated to "Angry Again," a film-soundtrack rarity, from the hard-to-find (in the UK anyway) "Hidden Treasures" release, "Kill The King" from a previous (and inferior) retrospective ("Capitol Punishment"), and "Dread And The Fugitive Mind" from 2001's "The World Needs A Hero."

The bands various cover versions are wisely avoided, good as they are, since they are not really representative of the band's style.

There are no inherently bad songs on this collection, but the only gripe I do have is concerning the songs that WEREN'T included. I know it's a Greatest Hits, and as such should focus mainly on singles, but there was such an opportunity for this to be expanded to a 2disc set, to include "Set The World Afire" (the first song Mustaine wrote after being unceremoniously kicked out of Metallica), "Tornado Of Souls," "Countdown To Extinction," "Reckoning Day," "Almost Honest" and (despite the views of the majority of fans) "Crush 'Em" among others. Some of these may not have been singles, but I feel that they are essential material to include in order to fully demonstrate the many facets of the Megadeth sound.

Despite these missing tracks, the compilation as it stands is a great way for the casual metal fan, or interested listener to get into Megadeth, as this is the first Megadeth CD I bought (and felt immediately compelled to buy the whole back catalog soon after!), although it won't be of much interest to those who already own the albums. All the tracks included are taken from the remastered reissues of the albums, so the sound quality is top-notch in all cases.

With the good news that Dave Mustaine is continuing the band with the new line-up, we can only hope that in 10 or 15 years time, there will be another similar retrospective. But until then, this is an essential purchase.


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user ratings (380)
other reviews of this album
altec (3.5)
All in all this album is above average, and should only be bought as a collectors item. It has flash...

Dethtrasher (4.5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
November 12th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

Beats the other review for this. Nice job. I bought this mainly because I only own Cryptic Writings and I thought I needed to own more of the bands material.

November 12th 2005


cheers kripes! i wrote this review cuz i thought the other one was a bit poor lol.

November 13th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

¨was a bit poor lol¨, I've lost tons of respect for you spoon for those words. And how poor is mine compared to yours?

November 13th 2005


i apologise greatly for that comment dethtrasher, ive just read yours again, and it seems i had it confused with a really shit review i saw on another site. i frequent quite a few reviews sites, so this isnt the first time iv made a fool of myself like this!

your review was actually really good, you gave a lot more info on the band than i did, which i thought was good, seeing as this pretty much a retrospective compilation.

sorry again mate.

November 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

Apology accepted, just be a bit careful when you write stuff like that. Your review was a bit to long but you got stuff that I don't have on my review and that was interesting though.


December 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

HEY SPOON!! Do you got the MECHANIX DEMO yet?

Two-Headed Boy
December 17th 2005


Album Rating: 2.0

i hate these guys.

December 17th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5


December 18th 2005


i think iv got the mechanix demo. it was labelled as "motorhead - four horsemen (metallica cover)" on limewire, but its definitely mustaine singing. im not sure if its a demo though, the one ive got could be a live recording. im not sure.

December 18th 2005


HAHAHAHA! i just saw the video for Hangar 18. VERY CHEESY! its megadeth playing in a military base and there are all there cheesy clay-looking aliens

anyway theres a good megadeth song lineup here

January 26th 2006


i though this album kicked ass it was better than going through my whole collection and fanding all the good songs i dont like kill the king that much but all in all good album worth buying

January 27th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5


I can give you the demo if you get me your MSN maybe.

Storm In A Teacup
February 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, this is the best of trash.

February 27th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I was a bit hesitant to pick up this album, but I will now reading this review. Well done.

March 8th 2006


Megadeth is Awesome!

March 25th 2006


i bought this album the other weekend, great album and is great how they let the people on the forum decide

March 25th 2006


'Enaged in crime I grasp my throat, my wretched mind starts to smoke, full force of mental overload, angry again, angry AGAIN...'
Probably not the actual lyrics, that's just from memory.
Thrashtastic, anyway.

April 21st 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

i liked "kill the king", very thrashy!

April 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Kill The King is the song that made me get into Megadeth. That classic riff is fucking awesome great review :D

April 25th 2006


kill the king is the one i liked least to begin with, but it's grown on me now. can't beat holy wars, or tornado of souls (which isnt on this, shame...)

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