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As a long time Megadeth fan, I find this release fairly unexciting because it’s obviously nothing new. I've heard everything before and I'm sure you have too. I own most of the albums, Back To The Start, and The Arsenal Of Megadeth. Other fans of Megadeth will most likely agree with me and be bored and probably feel conned out of their money, considering the X number of compilations and Best of’s already out there. This release is the same old Megadeth, just in different order, in a different package. But I'm not here to review this for its content relevance; I'm here to review this for what it is. An anthology. A good anthology should contain the major songs from a bands entire catalogue. Which is covered here relatively well with the omission of some newer stuff. Unlike Back to the Start, which was the first album I bought that got me into Megadeth; this is a two disk collection. It spans from 85’s Killing is my Business to 01’s The world Needs a Hero, respectively, with some live tracks thrown into the mix.
The coverage of Megadeth’s career goes as follows: 3 from Killing is my Business, 3 from Peace Sells, 4 from So Far, So Good, So What?, 4 from Rust in Peace, 6 from Countdown to Extinction (including Demos), 3 from Youthanasia, 3 from Hidden Treasures, 2 from Trust, 2 from Risk, 1 from The World Needs a Hero, and some very good live tracks as well.
This anthology is pretty solid as far anthologies go. However, I did not like the fact that The System has Failed was not included for it has some excellent tracks. The inclusion of 4 tracks from So Far, So Good, So What? I thought was a bit much because although it is a very good album, it is (in my opinion) not as important as Peace Sells or Rust in Peace, and I don’t think Anarchy in the U.K. should have been included. I also thought that countdown to extinction was heavily represented and more should have been from the thrash era Megadeth. Although I'm not surprised at this considering the popularity of 90’s mainstream Megadeth and Dave’s goal for success. Overall though, this is a competent anthology and a decent illustration of the history of Megadeth. Especially the live tracks, which are my favourites.
Covering the history of Megadeth in one release is almost pointless to fans of the band because there are already so many releases available. To fans that already have all of the albums and I would advise not buying this because it contains nothing you haven’t all ready heard before (and paid good money for). I do however, recommend this for youngsters who have never heard Megadeth before and are interested in them to buy this because it covers all the Key songs throughout the history of this legendary band. On the plus side, it’s relatively cheap. I bought it at Wall-Mart for $15!
Yes another one. As much as I love Megadeth, this has to stop. Dave must really be pressed for cash or something. Not only has he re-released and remastered the entire back catalog, which were horrible next to the originals, he dumps another "Greatest Hits" album on us. So far, we have "Capitol Punishment", "Back to the Start", and the "Warchest". Three is already too many for any band to have, but apparently Dave doesn't think so. As such, we now have "Set the World Afire", a two disc greatest hits compilation that includes songs from the beginning up to Ellefson's departure. This is a positive for me as, even though I enjoy the new Megadeth albums, after Ellefson left it was really just a Dave Mustaine solo project under the Megadeth name. The other positive thing about this release is that "Killing is my Business" was not shafted, although only two tracks were included. "Killing is my Business" is my third favorite Megadeth album, behind "Peace Sells" and "Rust in Peace" respectively, and I'm very pleased with the album's inclusion. The last positive comment it is possible to make are the live bits from 1992. This should be enough to excite any serious Megadeth fan, as anything featuring the Mustaine/Friedman/Ellefson/Menza lineup live are few and far between. It also somehow manages to be the best Megadeth compilation so far, outside the "Warchest."
As much as I would like to keep the positive comments rolling, it is here that I can go no further. What you have read above is not enough to keep me from giving a bad review. First off, all the songs are the remixed and remastered versions. If you are a big enough Megadeth fan, you should know why this is a problem. Dave practically ruined these classics when he remixed the albums, but including them on a "Greatest Hits" compilation is going a little too far. This is the second compilation of the 2004 remixes, and by now it is pretty apparent Dave is forcing us to accept these mixes as the standard. The problem is that anyone new to the band will probably start here and assume this is how these tracks are supposed to sound. The only thing I know to compare this to is George Lucas and Star Wars. There was nothing wrong with the original movies, but Lucas insisted they were not good enough and edited the hell out of them. The basic elements remained, but something was seriously wrong. The fans of the originals were horrified and newcomers didn't know any better, not realizing how much was destroyed. The same goes for these remixed tracks. The basic elements of the originals are there, but enough was changed to make them not sit quite right with longtime fans.
Another complaint I have with this offering is the track selection themselves. The bulk of the material here, is heavily focused on 90's Megadeth. Obviously this would be the case, as this is a "hits" album after-all, but still I find myself quite disappointed. Only nine tracks of the thirty-five are from the pre-"Rust in Peace" albums, and only four tracks are from "Rust in Peace". Not only this, but three of the included songs are fucking demos. Seriously, demos do not belong on an album such as this. Hell, they don't really belong anywhere, as most people listen to them once and never listen to them again afterwards. Why put demos when you could just include the actual studio album recordings. One thing I'm just confused about is fact "Crush 'em" was omitted. I'm not complaining because I don't like "Risk" anyway, but you would think the song would be featured on such an album. Even though this collection spans 2 discs, It offers nothing new. Sure you get what you expect, maybe a little less, but nothing more. It scrapes by with the bare minimum and is pretty expensive as well. I can't see why anyone would want to spend 30 bucks on this. You could just as easily buy 3 used studio albums for that price. "Anthology: Set the World Afire" should have been titled "Half-Assed Attempt: Dave Takes a Piss on the Fans". This whole collection and the way it is put together, apart from it being the fourth compilation, was just an obvious attempt at making Mr. Mustaine a quick buck. You don't even get what you pay for in the long run. Remember when I said this was the best compilation? Well that wasn't really saying much because the other ones were so shitty they somehow make this one seem acceptable.
In conclusion, Megadeth fans should really stay away from this album. If you are a long time follower of the band, I suggest you burn your own "Greatest Hits" CD for yourself since you probably own the original discs. You will save money and you will be much more pleased with the result. As for people wanting to get into Megadeth, I suggest tracking down the original albums, as they are far better and well worth the money. I feel as though I am being a bit generous with the rating; however, I give this a 50 for the live bits, the inclusion of "Killing is my Business" tracks, and the fact this is the best Megadeth compilation thus far, even though that doesn't mean much.