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Dave Mustaine’s militia had sprung up many surprises in the early to mid 90s, a trend that just carried on till the end of the 20th century. Rust in Peace was their finest hour where they really got their act together to release one of the finest thrash metal albums of all time. The follow up Countdown to Extinction was where they got more mainstream recognition helped heavily by the massive radio play and extensive MTV exposure by virtue of their videos. Youthanasia on the other hand was where they bridged the gap between thrash and power metal to release a very steady album.
At the same time they were writing tracks for many movies back then that have become of cult status now. Finding those soundtracks could be quite a trouble and purchasing them for a few good songs worsens all the effort. Megadeth rescued the whole world from all the unnecessary digging by creating a compilation of all those otherwise unreleased tracks, simply known as “Hidden Treasures” and I must admit that I’m thoroughly grateful to them.
What really sparked my interest in this compilation was the fact that the catchy song called “Go to Hell” from the second installment of the “Bill and Ted” series was present on it. The lineup is the same since Rust in Peace and all the musicians seem to be in fine form. Mustaine also sounds better and seems to utilize his limited singing abilities to the fullest without going off key at any point. It’s hard to call this a total thrash metal album as it’s not as full blooded as the band used to be, but having said there are many pure thrash riffs to be found here and there. The production to me sounds very similar to “Countdown to Extinction”, so yeah there are no complaints there.
The track selection is fairly good and most of the songs are very well written indeed. There are loads of catchy riffs and well timed solos spread throughout the compilation courtesy of Mustaine and Friedman, whereas the bass and drum fills by Ellefson and Menza respectively are done in a very tasteful manner. The Alice Cooper cover is not bad at all and is probably one of the better covers I’ve ever heard. “Break Point” has some really interesting riffs but the mid section slowdown for those spoken verses was not required really. As for “Go To Hell”, I simply can’t get enough of this song no matter how hard I try.
The best song to me has to be “99 Ways To Die” that is pure thrash metal bringing to mind their R.I.P days while the weakest link is the weirdly average “Angry Again” on the godly OST of that ironically retarded Arnie flick. The other interesting composition is the groovily eerie “Diadems” that contains some beautifully haunting clean guitars and good hooks making it another strong track. The other two covers are decent, nothing great about them.
The only problem with this compilation is the length of it. It lasts for as little as under 30 minutes. Now for a random metal head who tries to saves up all the dimes to purchase an album, it might be a difficult choice for him to pick this up at a record store. As for a Megadeth completist or someone who likes good heavy metal, this would make a fine hear and as much as the title says its better to uncover these treasures before its too late or god forbid, the release goes out of print. Cash grabber or not, its none of my concern, the music is good!!!!