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Many would seem surprised as this being a MegaDeth cover song, but in doing so they bring into question their own knowledge about the thrash genre, and where it gets its unique dose of aggression from. Mustaine’s hostility to the majority sentiments of his time is right at home with the likes of the Sex Pistols, who were too principled to dignify an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with their presence. The only contradiction to be found in this re-singing of the classic anthem of British angst is the attitude towards the musicality surrounding the words.
MegaDeth is, at heart, a collection of virtuoso musicians who seek to express their greatness through technical display. The additional guitar solos and Mustaine’s vocal delivery are far superior technically and musically than anything Johnny Rotten and company could deliver, although Steve Jones does contribute a nice little lead riff to this version. The change of UK to USA is somewhat ironic in that it is all that is needed to transfer the context of the song from one nation to the next; that is how similar the trends of both countries were in the respective times that these two versions of the song were committed to the audio medium.
The accompanying live version of “Devil’s Island” is well done, although naturally I have a preference to the studio version as the sound quality is superior. Although several versions exist, if you are on the hunt for this single the version containing these two tracks is the most likely to be available. It is a worthy purchase if you are a rabid collector or a MegaDeth completist, otherwise simply treat this review as extra incentive to pick up “So Far, So Good, So what?”, which also carries this rather unique yet unsurprisingly good cover song.