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Nice, just very nice! - 79%

Agonymph, July 24th, 2005

There has been a lot of discussion on how "live" Megadeth's first official live release 'Rude Awakening' really is. Of course, there must have been some polishing in the studio here and there, but if you listen really well, you can hear some off-key backing vocals and the lead vocals of Dave Mustaine himself are awfully off-key here and there also. Mustaine has never been a really good singer anyway, so I wasn't really expecting that either. If you listen really closely (headphones are always a good tool to do so), you can here some of those little nuance mistakes. Those kind of mistakes, that almost no listenere hears, but that can really annoy you if you're a musician listening to your own stuff.

Is that meant as a kind of criticism? No, not in any way. Those little mistakes are in my humble opinion always the things that give live albums a certain charm. A lot of people think the same about live albums with an average sound quality also, but I don't count myself to those people. Luckily, the sound quality on 'Rude Awakening' is about as good as it gets; every instrument is heard pretty clearly and mixed in the right way (Al Pitrelli's guitar could be just a little bit louder at some points in the beginning though) and the thing in its entirity is mixed loud enough to do some decent headbanging on!

On to the song selection then. Figured that the recordings for 'Rude Awakening' were made during the tour in support of the 2001 release 'World Needs A Hero', it didn't really surprise me that, though the mediocre level of that album, 4 songs off of that album were included. However, 'Return To Hangar' and '1000 Times Goodbye' (luckily without those dumb quotes that actress makes on the album!) are the highlights of that album, so you won't hear me complain. Apart from those tracks, the song selection is great! The fact that the album contains three songs from 'Youthanasia' kind of surprised me, but apart from 'Skin O' My Teeth', basically every classic song is included on this album. From 'Mechanix' to 'Trust' and from 'Peace Sells' to 'Hangar 18', they're all there! And luckily, the dreadful 'Risk' is skipped completely! Two pleasant surprises for me personally were 'Devil's Island' and the breathtaking 'Ashes In Your Mouth'.

The way the songs are performed also deserves some compliments. As I've stated, I'm not too fond about Dave Mustaine's vocals at all and of course the lineup with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza is the lineup I would have prefered a live album with, but Al Pitrelli is a fabulous guitarist (of course! Why else would he be in Savatage?) and Jimmy DeGrasso is probably better than his predecessor from the previous lineup. The band performs the classic tracks just the way they're supposed to sound (although the backing vocals are a little weak here and there) and there are even some nice extra adds to the songs. There are some parts that speed up during the guitar solo of 'Hangar 18' (you'll have to listen to understand what I mean) and one of my personal favorites, 'She-Wolf', has a very cool extended solo section. Including a very cool drum solo by Jimmy DeGrasso.

Mustaine doesn't talk to his audience to often, but in my humble opinion, Mustaine is one of those people you have making music than talking, because making music is something he is definitely great at. Though 'Rude Awakening' probably wasn't the CD or DVD many fans were waiting for, it's a live album that is definitely worth checking out! Maybe one day, there will be an official live album with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza on it. Or maybe with the new lineup, with the Dover brothers and Jimmy MacDonough, that lineup definitely rocks live! Until then, we'll have to do it with this perfectly fine live recording.

A lame duck - 65%

Vim_Fuego, August 8th, 2004

Musically, this album is good. Very good. Perhaps too good?

The guitars, bass and drums all have a good clean sound, but hey, after so many years in the business, Megadeth and their roadcrew must KNOW a good live sound. The riffs, soloing, leads, fills, and acoustic guitar parts are note perfect. The drums are aggressive, and Jimmy De Grasso shows he was more than just a hired gun, adding extra kick to some of the songs. Dave Ellefson's basswork has oft been ignored, but a good balance on the mix lets many of those fat, tasty bass lines rumble up through the sound. It all sounds good so far, so where's the problem?

It's Megadeth's Achille's heel, Dave Mustaine's vocals, which sound too good. There have been a number of reasons given as to why Mustaine stepped up to the microphone and stayed there. The official line was Megadeth couldn't find a good vocalist. Many other suspect it was Dave Mustaine's ego. Whatever the reason, Megadeth always managed to recruit excellent drummers and second guitarists, but never a singer.

Even loyal Megadeth fans have to admit Mustaine does not have the greatest vocal range in the world. The music has always been written to accommodate his vocals, but sometimes even that is not enough. At times, Mustaine sounds flat, off key, strained, and just downright out of place. Reckoning Day, for example, sounds very strained, with the correct notes seemingly just out of reach. He regularly misses the top note on Devil's Island.

Mustaine sounds his best when he sings with a sneering growl, like on In My Darkest Hour, Hook In Mouth and Angry Again.

Is this a fair indicator of Megadeth live? The answer is no, it isn't. The vocals have been tampered with, tidied up and enhanced in the studio. While they're less than perfect on "Rude Awakening", they're considerably worse on any other Megadeth live recording.

Moving away from the sound debate, this double album collection was never intended to be Megadeth's swansong, but it's a fitting tribute to a sparkling career. While many old school fans have been disappointed with the band's direction in recent years, Megadeth have always done what they wanted, and done it well. While some of the newer material has a more commercial, slightly bland feel in the studio, dropped in alongside some of the old classics here it fits flawlessly. 1000 Times Goodbye sits very comfortably next to Mechanix (still superior to Metallica's Four Horsemen after all these years!), and the Hangar 18 story is revisited on Return To The Hangar. Perhaps the best indicator of Megadeth's quality is that although this is a double live album, it seems to be over too quickly, but has a very satisfying feel to it.

All in all, it's a fitting requiem for one of the greatest metal bands ever to emerge from the thrash scene.

Um… and does anyone else think the guy in bed falling from the skyscraper on the cover is supposed to be James Hetfield?!

Best Live Album Ever. - 99%

langstondrive, September 6th, 2003

Note - This is an edit of my previous review. I didn't think that it truly did it justice.

This is probably my favourite live album ever released. Period. There are 24 songs of Megadeth goodness contained here spanning their entire career (minus Risk, thankfully). Dave has managed to pick the best songs off each of the Deth albums are put them all together on a flawless live performance in which each of the band members are given an oppertunity to shine at various points in the show. As the other review said, Dave doesn't speak with the crown much, but his little speech before "Mechanix" is amusing and showcases his giant ego. This is where each of the songs came from -

Killing is My Business...And Business is Good! - Mechanix is performed perfectly musically. The vocals sound a tad like a whine, but otherwise perfect. Probably the most headbangable song on the whole album and one of my favourite thrash songs ever, period.

Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? - Wake Up Dead, Devil's Island and Peace Sells were taken from this. All 3 are performed perfectly. The chorus in Peace Sells, where the crowd sings is especially cool, a large improvement over the album version where Mustaine sounds whiny. Wake Up Dead is another Deth classic and probably the most energetic song on here. Devil's Island is my favourite from "Peace Sells" and maintains it's title on here.

So Far...So Good...So What! - In My Darkest Hour is one of my favourite Megadeth songs of all time and this live performance definetly does it justice. The part at the end (which is at the beginning on the album version) is simply orgasmic. Hook In Mouth is one of the thrashier songs and another true headbanger.

Rust In Peace - Yes...the best Megadeth album. Hangar 18, Tornado of Souls and Holy Wars were taken from this. Holy Wars and Tornado of Souls are my two favourite Deth songs and are done perfectly. The ending to Holy Wars was a treat as well. Hangar 18 has excellent soloing by Pitrelli and Mustaine and turns into a duel for the last 2 minutes (which on the DVD, I feel Mustaine wins!)

Countdown to Extinction - Sweating Bullets is great with just the guitar and Dave singing during the verses. Many of these songs are a bit different from their respective album versions, but it is always much better. Symphony of Destruction is a Deth staple and is performed with the excellence that we all come to expect, the post-solo part is really neat as well. Ashes in Your Mouth is good, but not one of my favourite songs as the riffs are not up to par with the rest of the album.

Youthanasia - Train of Consequences, A Tout Le Monde and Reckoning Day are all done flawlessly. Honourable Mention to Train of Consequences for the cool intro, as well as Mustaine for sounding like Louie Armstrong during A Tout Le Monde.

Cryptic Writings - A very misunderstood album. Trust is a great song with an excellent buildup which reminds one of "Enter Sandman" .She Wolf is done in a strange way, but still very appealing in which the band members really get to show off during the long instrumental break. Almost Honest has a really cool riff and a catchy chorus, but the USA!! USA!!! is fucking lame at the beginning.

Kill the King and Angry Again were both on "Greatest Hits" albums and were previously unreleased. Kill the King has a machine gun drum beat and the chorus is fucking addictive as hell. Angry Again has a neat chorus with a killer main riff.

The World Needs a Hero - Return to Hangar, Dread and the Fugitive Mind, 1000 Times Goodbye are all great songs that made up for the shittiness of Risk. The latter is much better without the annoying as hell phone calls. It would have been nice to see "Disconnect" on here as well. Return to Hangar is just as great as the original, in my opinion and is performed back to back with it, which makes it all the more cool.

Every metal fan should own this. It takes the best aspects of an already essental band and puts them all onto one album. Truly incredible.

An Awakening Indeed - 87%

Demon_of_the_Fall, August 21st, 2003

While Megadeth hung on to existence mainly because of front man Dave Mustaine, Rude Awakening spans most of Deths entire historic career. Dave rarly speaks with the crowd...actually is there even a crowd present? It sure doesn't sound like it, or much of one for that matter. The songs are all portrayed flawlessly, and I can't even begin to ponder on how much better it would have been if Nick Menza was still in the band. Oh well off that topic now, deth left out every song from Risk as more of a testament to their more heavy material, and to their fans. The production is very clear and crisp and the band is very tight. Al Pitrelli plays Friedmans solos nearly note for note and that in itself is reason enough to buy this mammoth 2 cd live disc set. What an accomplishment it must be to know your playing some of the most acclaimed heavy metal solos of all time. Mustaine and Co picked some of Megadeth's most classic songs in their illustrious career. Rude Awakening is good but could have been better and had abit more energy, but seriously how could you go wrong with a live megadeth album. This is still one of the mst killer live albums ive ever heard. If you like straight up great quality, slaughing heavy metal at it's finest live...you need Rude Awakening.

The whole album is great