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Even though this release didn't come out until 1995 and technically isn't a Megadeth album, the songs that are present on this compilation showcase what may have been the peak of Megadeth's career both critically and commercially. Not only did guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza prove to be a great fit after the release of "Rust In Peace," the band itself manage to successfully weather the time's grunge takeover and remained in high demand on all sorts of movie soundtracks and tribute albums. This compilation showcases the interesting results of their outside-album endeavors...
In my opinion, the exclusive original songs are what really make this compilation worth hunting down. While most of these songs would still sound somewhat out of place on "Rust in Peace" or "Countdown to Extinction," they are excellently written and even show a bit of the evolution that had taken place between those two efforts. "Breakpoint" is an excellent thrasher that was no doubt an influence on future songs like "Kick the Chair," "Go to Hell" and "Diadems" are both darker numbers with menacing lyrics, and "99 Ways to Die" is an upbeat track with a memorable hook during the chorus that hints at the "Youthanasia" album on occasion. My favorite song on the collection is none other than "Angry Again;" it is one of the greatest Megadeth songs ever written and features a bouncy main riff and an infectious chorus.
On the other hand, the cover songs are where this collection shows its weakest points. That is not to say that these songs are poorly performed, they just sound rather elementary when compared to the successful originals on here. Their cover of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is rather sloppy in execution but is made amusing by Dave Mustane's probably drunken banter, a somewhat forced guitar chug and strange vocals (compared to Ozzy's original performance) make their cover of "Paranoid" rather average (though Mustaine's yelling at Menza at the end is pretty funny), and their cover of the Sex Pistols' "Problems" is ultimately forgettable due to a slight lack of attitude. On the bright side, the latter song kicks the crap out of their version of "Anarchy in the UK..."
Ultimately, this is an interesting compilation with essential originals and some decent cover songs. Track it down if you can find it. I'll be adding "Angry Again" to the list of songs that I want to cover sometime in my life...
1) Excellently written original songs
2) Takes a look at the evolution between "Rust In Peace" and "Countdown to Extinction"
3) Humorous moments do make the covers enjoyable
1) The covers' execution is somewhat elementary
2) The originals' lyrics can sound a little generic here and there
My Current Favorites:
"Breakpoint," "Go to Hell," "Angry Again," "99 Ways to Die," and "Diadems"