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As we all know, Megadeth had entered into the mostly thrash-less 1990s era of metal with their album "Countdown to Extinction" released two years prior. In my eyes, that album was the logical answer to Metallica's 1991 album. With "Youthanasia", we see the band moving further down into commercialism and leaving their thrash metal roots even further behind. This album basically expanded the sound Dave and Co. were going with on "Countdown to Extinction" and added more of a traditional heavy metal/hard rock soundscape to the already commercial-aimed music. "Youthanasia" was released in 1994, during the height of the grunge/groove metal movement and managed to stand out quite a bit regardless. Here, we see Megadeth writing songs that could be played both on MTV at the time and the radio, as well as at your standard heavy metal show. This is still obviously a Megadeth album and really, it's not a HUGE departure from the band's previous sound.
The guitar work on here is similar to "Countdown to Extinction" but Dave and Marty have both seemed to add more melody and catchy hooks to the mix. If you came here looking for thrash, you'll probably only be slightly satisfied. Songs like "Reckoning Day" and "The Killing Road" and the lyrical oath to Megadeth, "Victory", all contain some nice speed metal riffs. However, these songs are still very much in the vein of 1990s Megadeth. There really is no thrash metal to be heard here. Instead, the band takes "Countdown..." and slows down the pace, even more, adding more radio-friendly aspects to the music. This is metal, but it's commercial metal. It's still not as simplistic as Metallica's infamous album released three years prior. There is a lot more going on here. Dave is able to put far more emotion into his guitar playing in here than he had before. "À Tout le Monde" is a fan-favorite from this album. Really, most people I talk to absolutely love this song, even if they're stuck in the days of 80s thrash metal. It's a somber piece, and translates to "To All the World". This song captures Mustaine's emotions absolutely perfectly. It's not a particularly complicated song in terms of structure, however, it is very effective in creating a melancholic atmosphere. The solo in this song is also fairly simple when compared to earlier works such as "Holy Wars" or "Devils Island" or most of the stuff released during 'Deth's glory days, but its simplicity actually complements its beauty. There are other songs that follow in this path of beauty, such as within the acoustic intro to "Blood of Heroes" and even the lyrically incestual-based "Family Tree". Songs like "I Thought I Knew It All" and the aforementioned "Family Tree" actually are two of my favorites on the album due to the choruses of these songs being absolutely breathtaking. Sure, they're catchy and radio-friendly, but very controlled and effective.
The guitar work coming from Dave and Marty was probably at its most mature point on this album. Now, mature can mean one of many things. Either the band sold out and stopped playing heavy music, they got more melodically mature, they changed their sound to appeal to an audience, or they started playing music that your fucking grandfather would enjoy. When "Countdown..." came out, Megadeth had already matured. And here, it's the same thing. They've matured a bit, but in a positive way. This would be maturing in a more melodic way, with a key emphasis on songwriting and overall musical flow. This album has NOTHING on "Rust in Peace" or "Peace Sells...but Who's Buying?" and while those albums both get much higher scores than this album from me, "Youthanasia" contains a certain melodic element and musical flow, as I said earlier, that the band's thrash albums never had. While the band's classic thrash albums focused on technicality and precision, the 90s Megadeth albums, including the abhorred "Risk" from 1999, all focused more on simpler ideas of flow rather than long, technical solos. Make no mistake, however, we still got plenty of amazing guitar solos from Megadeth in the 90s. "I Thought I Knew It All" and "Elysian Fields" for example, as well as the groovy title-track, are amazing when it comes to guitar solos. Luckily, as with Megadeth tradition, all 12 songs on this album have ripping guitar solos. Most Megadeth songs at least have a somewhat interesting solo and these songs are no exception. I'm glad the band didn't let the simpler song structures affect the guitar solos.
Remember how I said Dave Mustaine's vocals on "Countdown to Extinction" were his best offering up to that point? Well, now that we have "Youthanasia" here, that changes. On this album, Dave offers an even better performance than prior. He sounds more spiteful and far more focused here. Honestly, here, he even rivals James Hetfield in terms of quality. Anyone who really knows me knows I like Hetfield's vocals more, regardless of the music as a whole. Dave manages to rise to his level here. Hell, maybe even above that! The emotion he puts behind his vocals is nearly unmatched here. He still utilizes the traditional higher-pitched voice that he had been using at the time but it works in favor of the music.
This album, to my ears, is the finest Megadeth record of the 1990s. While 1997's "Cryptic Writings", the album following this one, would be Megadeth's second best 1990s album, this was really their best for the time. Hell, it's even better than some of their 1980s work! Truly a testament to heavy metal and a kick in the face to the 1990s alternative style, "Youthanasia" remains one of Megadeth's finest albums and should be celebrated as such.
"It's not like we're gonna change our next album to try and follow the trend. We don't really change with the times."
Marty, I love you, but you could not be more incorrect. This album may not exactly follow the grunge fad that was on its last legs, but it follows the musical direction of another band. A band that Mustaine is well associated with. After the gargantuan success of The Black Album, it seemed that Megadeth had to sacrifice their thrash metal roots on their next album in order to compete with Metallica. In some ways, it worked. Countdown to Extinction was a huge critical and commercial success. It sold like hot cakes and enjoyed the praise from critics, as well as fans. I myself, very much enjoyed Countdown to Extinction despite its simpler sound. It's not on par with Peace Sells...but Who's Buying? or Rust in Peace, but for what it's worth, it's a fantastic album. Now, the band reaches a dilemma. Should Megadeth switch gears and go back to their thrash metal style resulting in mainstream irrelevance or should they continue down this path to make a profit? Well, Dave and the gang chose the latter and they should've regretted that decision. This album is horrible.
I'm not trying to be some douchebag who goes against the grain of the popular opinion just to seem special. I hate this piece of shit. It takes Countdown to Extinction's worst qualities and turns it to eleven. All of this album's problems can be seen on "Elysian Fields". What a shitty track. You're initially intrigued by what sounds like an alien spaceship landing, but then you're hit with Dave's whining vocals. God, Dave, what the hell happened to your voice. Your vocals always sucked, but at least they often fit the music. Here, they just stand out against the music. They're more high-pitched than usual which makes his trademark snarl sound even worse. That's before we even make it to the bridge. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to let Dave do "harmonies" if you can even call them that. They sound like the sound you make right before you sneeze. Oh, and that chorus. Dave just clamps a clothespin on his nose and cries, "Elysian Fields!". Speaking of which, what are these "Elysian Fields". Well, in Greek mythology, they served as the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous. Does this watered-down horseshit sound like it incites that at all? Not even the instrumentation makes up for it. Junior's bass is far less prominent than it was on previous albums. I can barely fucking hear him. Nick's drumming is simplified to a kick-snare approach only to be broken up by a motherfucking cowbell. What is this? An overrated SNL skit? Marty is by far the worst offender given that offers up one of the worst solos in his career. It's just a squealing mess that's as far from shredding as it comes. This song has lackluster instrumentation, horrible vocals, intrusive production quality, poor songwriting, and an overall watered-down sound. You see how that one song perfectly represents this album? I could end this review right here, but there's more.
I can't ignore the elephant in the room for much longer. "A Tout Le Monde" is a horrible song. The song itself is not that bad compared to the rest of the album. By that means, it's probably the best track off here right next to "Addicted to Chaos". No, but the impact that this song had is what makes it so bad. This song is almost as overplayed as "Symphony of Destruction" and I'm tired of it. It's overplay made this touching, tonally inconsistent song reviled by my ears. Not to mention, the United Abominations version is simply awful and doesn't help the original's case very much. It also doesn't help that this song's beginning notes are an instant earworm. It just gets stuck in your head and has you singing along to Mustaine's Butchering of the French language. I hate the lyrics to this song most of all. It has this woe-is-me attitude to them, and maybe it's because I have the emotional complexity of a brick, but I can't sympathize with that at all. Dave, you're not someone that deserves self-pity. It doesn't help that he doesn't even bother to rhyme the lyrics, but if that's your biggest complaint, then I wish I was you.
In conclusion, I highly do not recommend this album. It's watered-down sound is more present on this record and it's not even catchy. Clearly, Mustaine was more concerned with album sales than their integrity. The instrumentation is incredibly weak and not a hint of virtuosity is present on here. This album is the first sign that Dave Mustaine's vocals are increasingly getting worse for wear and weaker. The lyricism and songwriting takes a nosedive in quality to create some outright stupid lines(Yeah, making an entire song referencing your better work is so clever). As I implied, there are a couple of average songs here, but the damage has already been done. Sadly, this was just the beginning of career slump that the band wouldn't recover from until Endgame. Sigh...kill me.
Bonus: The 2004 digital remaster includes four bonus tracks. Three of them we'll be skipping, because they're just demos. The bonus track "Millennium of the Blind" sucks. It was originally recorded as a demo back in 1991 which explains why it's heavier than its contemporaries. However, it's rather short and lacks any substance. It features Dave Mustaine directing sort a mass of blind people in the lyrics. The lyrics are quite cheesy and lack any clever ways to insert the theme of the song. It just bangs you over the head with it. It has a somewhat interesting guitar interlude in the middle, but it's pretty insignificant beyond that. Overall, I wouldn't recommend picking up this album up for the bonus track. Then again, even if the track was good, I still wouldn't recommend getting this album in any way.
This album is by no means a classic and it's not as good as its predecessor Countdown to Extinction but it does have a number of songs which can be deemed as classics. Gone was the speed and intricacies of Rust in Peace and to a lesser extent Countdown to Extinction; in its place is a more streamlined and simplified style. It's an album that sacrifices speed for catchy songs and it uses standard verse and chorus patterns with a good degree of success. There are very few fast rhythm sections and not many duel guitar solos which were so often associated with their earlier work. Nevertheless Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman's riffs, licks and solos throughout the album are still very accomplished.
The album begins with a powerful medium paced opening guitar riff which provides the first indicator as to what will follow. As the album progresses I feel that it doesn't have enough pace to it. The opening two tracks warrant faster riffing and an increased tempo which is how they are played on live sets; never the less they are still very good. The pace then quickly drops with a very slow song called "Addicted to Chaos" which only needs to have an increased tempo and this applies to the entire album. It even begins with a tediously slow opening drum rhythm section. This is where I first notice that the drums have this bassy echo which doesn't sound very good. Nick Menza's [RIP] drum track is proficient although at times slightly underwhelming. This clearly isn't Menza's fault as he's just playing in unison with the other rhythm sections.
I also noticed that the guitars have been tuned down and this has a negative affect on the overall sound; they should have used standard tuning to retain that gritty Megadeth tone. I think that they tuned down half a step to create a thicker sound which would compensate for the slower tempo and this slow tempo was created to produce a very mainstream album in order to achieve that no. 1 record which incidentally never came to fruition. There has been some suggestion that it was Max Norman, the producer, who encouraged the slower tempo and if that's the case then it also suggests that Mustaine wasn't in total control over his musical direction and this would be detrimental to Megadeth in the later part of the decade.
These are only minor flaws that don't ruin what is essentially a very good album. The writing is still very strong with subjects which range from drug and gambling addiction to a phenomenally well written song about someone's imminent death. This shows that Dave has focus in his writing which is a major plus for the album. The mid section of this album has two stand out tracks, "The Killing Road" and "Blood of Heroes," but it also gets bogged down in monotonous melody and mediocrity. Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with the written content here; it's just the delivery that's the issue. For example "Elysian Fields" has this tediously repeated vocal harmony in the second verse along with the song title being over used during the chorus, and to top it off there's a harmonica played at the end which is completely pointless. Also "Family Tree" begins promisingly but fails to deliver any of those trademark jackhammer riffs thus slowing the pace of the album. I therefore find myself skipping through half of the mid section to get to the title track.
The entire last third of the album gets much stronger after the mid sections melodic slump. The title track "Youthanasia" is a fantastically heavy sounding song with a timely tempo change and a great riff in the middle. It would have been good if some of the other songs had a few varied structures. I was also pleased that in the last third of the album there was more content in relation to nuclear destruction which is reminiscent of "Set the World Afire" from the So Far, So Good, So What! album. In actual fact this was the last album for a decade which would vocalize matters of nuclear war and political turmoil in the world. The next two albums would completely move away from these subjects which had been the mainstay for much of Mustaine's material. It only seems fitting that Mustaine wound pen the last track titled "Victory" using words and sentences constructed from past songs. It's like showcasing their entire discography in 4 minutes and this is also one of the few moments when we can hear one of those fantastic duel guitar trade-offs. The track also appears, even if unintentionally, to signify an end of a chapter in Megadeth's history. They will be moving onto new ventures; ventures culminating in the Risk disaster.
In retrospect this album reveals that the band were in transition. This is where Mustaine became more influenced by the success of the previous album Countdown to Extinction and by the direction of the record producer Max Norman. Norman suggested that they record the songs at a "heart beat" and essentially that is what Mustaine did, but the lyrical content and the speed at which the songs are played live suggests that this album would have been even better if Mustaine had ignored this direction. It was only after hearing several of these songs live in concert that I began playing all of them with an increased tempo of between 6-16% and I have to say that it makes such a considerable difference; it's a much more enjoyable listen. Even though these factors dictated the final version of this release Megadeth didn't completely abandon their heavy metal roots unlike some of their peers during this decade, and it's definitely not a complete "sell out." The album has some really excellent songs with only two that I really dislike, and then there's the bonus tracks which consist of two good instrumentals and a really good demo of "New World Order." The standout tracks are the openers "Reckoning Day" and "Train of Consequences," followed by "À Tout le Monde," then "The Killing Road," "Blood of Heroes," "Youthanasia," "Black Curtains" and "Victory." To all intents and purposes this album was a victory.
The second catchy album brought to you courtesy of Dave Mustaine and the boys in their crusade to out sell the Black Album. Unfortunately for them it didn't sell as well and did quite a number on the metal crowd of the day, it's often considered a misstep and not as well received as Countdown to Extinction.
At the end of the day there is one thing that prevents Youthanasia from being Countdown to Extinction part 2. Countdown to Extinction was definitely more melodic and centric on a catchy chorus but they still did their best to appease the thrash crowd that made them famous. Countdown to Extinction, Sweating Bullets, High Speed Dirt and Skin O My Teeth were all catchy and melodic but still definitely thrash. Here however the music rests somewhere between a melodic hard rock and a melodic heavy metal.
First off, vocals and lyrics. Once again Dave chooses to preach his outspoken views of the world, however now he lays off politics and war a bit and moves towards more street oriented topics, obviously a move intended to give audiences something to relate to, bolstering his sales, but its also a healthy change in terms of how the album plays out. If I were to describe his actual vocals he still very energetic and enthusiastic, lots of charisma. To add to this his singing has improved so his choruses are a bit more smooth.
The guitars now have mostly abandoned the idea of speed. The riffs are still nicely muscled and melodic. The riffage seems to be put on autopilot though, still passable riffs but no one seems to be pushing for anything extraordinary. All the focus as far as songwriting goes went into the chorus parts to emphasize the catchy lyrics with strong guitar hooks. The solos are all still present but seem to be cut shorter to minimize time between choruses. For what its worth though pretty melodic soloing. The chances are though if you don't like catchy choruses you'll find this to be a complete waste of time and money, they're the complete focus of the album.
The bass again does what all reliable bass players have been charged with doing since they were incorporated in any form of rock or heavy music and that is to round out the sound. He does this job very well, he seems to have missed the "everyone emphasize the chorus" memo upon entering the studio because he does seem put a bit more effort into it. He has some nice bass lines sprinkled throughout the album. The drums are probably as dumbed down as they could be. They don't pound, they rarely go fast. I'd take bets that he was influenced by AC/DC this time around (the kings of love 'em or hate 'em with no real in between hard rock) because he just loves the simple bass snare bass snare patterns.
All in all though its still a pretty good album, even if it leaves an excess of things to be desired.
Standout tracks: Train of Consequences, A Tout Le Monde, The Killing Road and I Thought I Knew it All
Megadeth, alongside many of the other big name thrash metal bands, began to move away from their signature sounds in the 90s to more accessible traditional rock and metal styles. Their songs slowed down, their guitars were downtuned, and the new direction created a division amongst critics and fans alike. Youthanasia was Megadeth's second album to display such a shift in direction, following Countdown to Extinction, which contained simplified song structures and slower songs. Youthanasia, therefore is the next stage in the hard rock-influenced direction the band was taking. The most surprising thing about this album, however, is how well this musical style is executed. Metallica, for instance, released two albums full of hard rock in 1996 and 1997 that each lasted nearly 80 minutes, and many listeners turned their backs on the band due to the drastic change in sound and a lack of "metal". Those albums had a considerable amount of excess. Youthanasia, on the other hand (which actually came first) had much less excess and mostly powerful, hard-hitting memorable music and retained a heavy metal style. No messing around with 6-10 minute songs with long-winded jamming to be found here. Just pure straight heavy music.
I consider Youthanasia to be my favourite Megadeth album and harbour no shame in admitting it. The songs still pack as much of a punch as anything else the band had previously released, and there are several seriously crunching riffs to be cherished. The drumming is more simple than on Countdown, but it works very well with the rest of the music. Although I say the direction is hard-rock influenced, it still feels very much like a great heavy metal album. There are songs that still remind you of the band's 80's thrash output, such as "The Killing Road" and "Victory" (which is full of references to Megadeth's past songs), but certainly don't feel out of place with the rest of the album.
Like all good hard rock, there are a lot of memorable melodic riffs on Youthanasia. The choruses, in particular, demonstrate Dave Mustaine's ear for a good melody. Highlights in this department include the choruses to "Reckoning Day" and "Addicted to Chaos". And then, of course, you have the beautiful "A Tout Le Monde", a surprisingly thoughtful song from a band that was infamous for their attitudes and heavy drug use, which concerns an individuals last words they wish to speak to their loved ones to serve as a worthy send-off (and may I say the original version found here is far superior to the 2007 re-recording with Christina Scabbia). Metal bands that are brutally heavy but still have a great ear for melody are usually the best bands. Megadeth fits into this category.
Dave Mustaine has always been rather outspoken on his political and religious views. The subject matter of this album is often serious, touching upon that territory and covering real life issues Mustaine has observed. The album cover and title track, in particular, were inspired by the decline of children's well being, as well as drugs and crime, things that Mustaine himself has dabbled in and is more than familiar with. "Family Tree" is also a good example, as it seems to be about incest. Its chorus is therefore particularly haunting, with Mustaine singing "Let me show you, how I love you, it's our secret, you and me". The music on much of the album, especially the second half, carries the atmosphere of a constant struggle.
It's a surprise to think that Dave Mustaine's desire for a no.1 album at least partially influenced the sound on Youthanasia, because, there seems to be little sacrifice in heaviness, particularly riff-wise, and even little sacrifice in the strength of the songs themselves, both musically and lyrically. The album is definitely a self-reflection as well as a reflection on world issues and addictions. The fact that I actually prefer this album to Countdown to Extinction is probably a testament to how good it is. These days, the album is probably seen as less of a mis-step than perhaps it was before. As of this writing, Megadeth plan to play the album live in its entirety, which should be a treat for anyone lucky enough to go to a show. Youthanasia is a must buy and is up there with Megadeth's best work.
To all those people who have to argue whether this is "metal enough" to be listened to or those who ignore everything this band put out after "Rust in Peace", let's just call it hard rock, and move on shall we?. The 90's wasn't an arms race, Dave Mustaine wasn't an angry guy in his twenties anymore. This is just natural progression for the band, no matter how you put it. The guitar strings are tuned down half a step, with more focus on the lyrics and choruses than before. They left behind almost all their thrash metal influences on 'Countdown to Extinction', which isn't to say that there are no memorable riffs or solos on this record. Unlike the surprisingly mediocre and forgettable 'Load' by Metallica, Megadeth do everything right and put out a solid record. Ignore this only if you're a fool.
Mustaine's vocals have always been a 'touchy' subject. How much you enjoy them depends mostly on your tastes. Lyrically, the album is a reflection of Dave's views on war, life and other sensitive issues. Everything sounds good enough on the re-mastered version and you need not go out and search for the originals. The riffing is far more simpler than anything else they've ever did. The songs are slower, more melodic, which makes it easier to digest for beginners. The hooky riffs are enough to keep the mainstream rock fans interested. "Reckoning day" and "Train of consequences" begin the album with some monster riffs that would still make any classic Megadeth fan happy.
This is the same Megadeth of old, only now in a more accessible and radio-friendly package. "A tout le monde" is the first proper hard rock ballad written by Dave, which is way better than the version found on 'United Abominations', which was an abomination itself. The lyrics are crafted in a simple but touching manner. Because unlike bands like Def Leppard, who decided to abandon their balls altogether and make sugary pop rock ballads for mainstream consumption, "A tout le monde" was made with integrity still left intact. "Elysian fields" and the 4 tracks after it, including the title track are firmly in hard rock territory. Mustaine's song writing is at it's most mature. Nick Menza is the best drummer this band ever had. The drums are mixed brilliantly to complement the thick riffs and snarling vocals over them. Ellefson's bass is ever present and lays a solid foundation for the guitars, although he isn't given too much solo time. Mustaine even finds time to experiment and dabble with mythology and greek history on songs such as "Elysian fields" and "Blood of heroes". The other tracks fit nicely into the album and plod along without being boring or repulsive. At 50 minutes long, It feels just right.
This is NOT a second class Megadeth album by any means. This is as good as any they've ever released. Their best record in the past two decades and to this day they haven't topped it yet. This is a band who shaped their sound with changing times but still produced an album of integrity and genuine quality. It is a worthy successor to 'Rust in Peace' or 'Countdown to Extinction'. The remastered version has a few bonus tracks including a demo of "New world order", which is very rare. The band would further simplify their sound and fall prey to monotony on their next few albums but 'Youthanasia' is a solid 90's hard rock album and one of the best albums of 1994.
Once upon a time there was a speed/thrash metal band called Megadeth. They came out of nowhere but as the years went by they turned into a great band that released two metal masterpieces driving their fans delirious. But all good things finally come to an end. In their place, another band with the same name was born. And this album ends the era of Megadeth as we knew them. The thrash metal hymns belong to the past, replaced by more classic heavy metal compositions. Songs, somewhat more commercial make up this album probably aiming for a wider audience. No, I am not saying that Youthanasia is a bad album, on the contrary it is pretty good and solid. It is just not Megadeth. But for the familiar vocals, it would have been difficult for me to recognize them.
Many had foreseen this change from their previous release Countdown to Extinction. All the elements that had become the bands trademark have reduced dramatically. The guitar riffs, though still heavy, are much slower and the pounding, thrashing drums more technical and calm. The vocals are well improved and this is really good. You can almost say that he sings this time. The rhythm section is quite strong and the solos very inspired and interesting. Then why do I fell so disappointed? I admit that when I first heard Youthanasia I was very excited but with time all this excitement faded away. And that’s because of the quality of the compositions. Even though the band is in a very good shape, the songs are not that great and breathtaking. Even now that I’m listening to the album I feel kind of bored.
There are some very nice moments in here like the opener Reckoning Day which really is a good song, with a bit fast and catchy riff and hard drumming. Friedman still delivers excellently, playing some truly melodic guitar themes. Okay, it’s not Rust in Peace, it’s not Skin ‘O My Teeth but still it’s very good. Train Of Consequences begins with sharp guitars and has a very strong, steady pace all the way. The use of harmonica may sound kind of strange but I think it fits quite well in here.
The other two good songs of the album are Blood Of Heroes and The Killing Road. They feature some heavy, fast at times riffs and a general heavy feeling, hard to experience in most of the album’s playing time. They are not very speedy but they possess something of the old Megadeth in them. They clearly stand out compared to the mediocrity of other compositions that are few but truly boring. I’m referring to Elysian Fields, Family Tree and Black Curtains. Completely dull and meaningless these ones take out points from the album and are just plain fillers. Ignore them!
There are also some slow, dark atmospheric tracks like Addicted to Chaos and I Thought I Knew it All, that have some pretty melodies and make a nice package but that’s all. The closing song, Victory and the self-titled one are decent compositions, above the average yet not in the spirit of earlier Megadeth.
In my humble opinion, I believe that Youthanasia does not stand up to the expectations of the fans. Not mine anyway. Megadeth found a safe path to tread on and this is what they chose to follow. I don’t blame them for that. This release is not horrible but it is miles away from the brilliant albums they gave us in the past.
Many fans see this 1994 effort as the kickoff to a long-lasting downward spiral for Megadeth. It's true that there are maybe only two or three thrash riffs to be found on the whole record, but hell, it doesn't matter as Mustaine managed to embrace a completely new sound for his beast and made it work for the most part.
It seems as if he had opened a box full of 80s heavy metal riffs and fused them together in a way only Dave could. Sure, the amount of riffs decreased and the speed of earlier times is never matched again, but a lack of ideas is something Mustaine simply cannot be accused of.
One of the best examples for this new sound is the great (and heavy) opener "Reckoning Day" with its gallopping main riff and truly amazing vocals by Dave (never forget, it's Mustaine I'm talking about, so for god's sake don't expect any greatness in TECHNICAL terms, but passion oozing from every word of his lyrics). The only thing I'm missing here is a great solo, as there are only a few rather simple leads present.
Probably the most well-known song of this album (besides "A Tout Le Monde") is "Train of Consequences" with its very original trademark riff, sounding like a train chugging along on its railroad tracks. Ah, and we can finally hear a great and memorable solo by Marty Friedman! Another honorable mention is again the very passionate vocal performance by Dave, who really seems to tear his vocal chords apart in the song's chorus.
Some more highlights are "Addicted to Chaos" (a track with a melancholic, almost depressing atmosphere), the epic "Blood of Heroes" which shows Mustaine in great shape, the über-catchy and bass-heavy "Family Tree" (which also has the best riffs on the whole record) and the concluding "Victory"; probably the only song that wouldn't have been very out of place on an 80s ´Deth record. It also features some awesome lyrics, paying homage to the band's classics (even the guitar solo sounds like a summary of different classic Friedman solos).
The only painfully negative thing here is the lack of convincing lead work. Megadeth have always been a band that wasn't about the riffs only, as their blistering and flashy soloing has always been a very important factor in the band's sound - Mustaine and Friedman were a force to be reckoned with; yet there are no ear-shattering moments like the godly solos in "Holy Wars"/"Tornado of Souls" or even "Ashes in Your Mouth" to be found here and that is simply a shame. A solo here, a lead there, but nothing to write home about and nothing that really manages to ram a hook in your mouth...or memory. Sometimes it feels as if Dave & Marty held themselves back...
Either way, you surely can't got wrong with any of the tracks here, as the overall quality level of the songs displayed here is high, making this one of the most consistent releases of the band.
I recommend this to any metalhead who'd love to hear an 80s record with a little more balls and darker lyrical subjects than usual. If you liked "Countdown to Exctinction", I see no reason for you not to like this even more convincing and stronger record; a little surprising, considering the great downfall that would follow this LP.
PS: Try to get a version with the "Crown of Worms" bonus track, it's worth it!
Well, nobody can say this is a thrash metal highlight with a straight face, but it sure is a great heavy metal album. I don't think many people are surprised with this direction that Megadeth took, I mean, Countdown is not too different. This was probably one of the first Megadeth albums I REALLY got into. I remember each song getting 100+ plays the first week I got the album. OK, so it is definitely slower than Megadeth's previous releases, and it is not very technical, but it is extremely catchy, I mean just look at the cover. The album has more hooks than Rattlehead's mouth, that's for sure.
So the most obvious differences are probably the drums, and the speed of the album. Menza's drumming simplified, and got slower. There are no more of those light-speed riffs present in songs like "Poison was the Cure". The solos are also more simplified. Hell, I think even Dave's voice changed a bit for this album. The songs have also become quite melodic with the addition of some melodic interludes that exist in "Victory", "Addicted to Chaos", and many other tracks on the songs.
The high point of the album is definitely the chorus and though much slower, the the riffs still do have something to offer. The riffs on "Train of Consequences", and "The Killing Road" are among some of my favorites. The majority of the tracks are all decent. They all have the signature Megadeth riffs, and maintain a degree of crunch in them. I don't think anybody can disagree when I say that the riffs are catchy. They stick in your head, and it's quite easy to recognize them within the first 5 seconds of each song. Whether it be the pick scratching intro of "Train of Consequences", or the opening of "A Tout le Monde". Ellefson's bass line has also been given more dominance. There are more Peace Sells-esque bass intros, and the bass lines are louder, and heavier. A very obvious example of the bass dominance would be "Family Tree".
However, this album has some major shortcomings. The solos... well they have been simplified and slowed down to the point that most of them would have been considered riffs on the first 4 Megadeth albums. Bad! Bad! The overall speed of the album is sacrificed for the catchy tunes. The songs lack the ear splitting madness of the first 4 Megadeth albums, and the songs can't really deliver the speed induced high or the punch of the previous songs.
Though most of the speed is lost, you can hear echoes of the Megadeth of the 80s in the songs like "Victory", and "Reckoning Day". Quite literally when it comes to "Victory". The songs do preserve some of the speed and aggression of the previous albums, and "Victory" has those catchy lyrics.
The best songs of this album are probably "Victory", "Train of Consequences", and "Family Tree". They all have their own catchy parts. Victory preserves the Megadeth essence, Train of Consequences has those catchy riffs, and Family Tree probably has the catchiest chorus of all Megadeth songs.
Overall, I'd say by heavy metal standards, this is near the top, but for Megadeth standards, it is a fairly strong release. The thrash elements have fallen back, and have been replaced with catchy choruses. I think some die hard thrash fans can enjoy this album too. I would recommend this album to anybody that likes heavy metal, and thrash metal, or just to anybody who likes metal in general.
Everyone knows that there are some bands out there that know how to deliver catchy albums. That type of albums that don't scream technical playing or fantastic riffage, but are still interesting and appealing. Scorpions, Lizzy Borden, Bruce Dickinson, even The Vision Bleak – if you want a record centered in catchy choruses just ask them. Well, this was what Mr. Mustaine aimed for with Youthanasia: he wanted to create a CATCHY album.
And he was able to make it: almost every song is extremely catchy, especially Train of Consequences and A Tout le Monde. But, my God, he centered ALL the record in the choruses and forgot that there are other things than vocals - there are drums, guitars, bass, and if you want a good record there must be, at least, some good and remarkable instrumental passages.
That is what this album lacks: powerful instrumentation. The powerful and heavy riffage is gone, the solos are simplified and so is the drum work, with Nick Menza using too much the AC/DC'ish kick-snare-kick-snare pattern.
I don't understand what happened - suddenly Metallica released a heavy metal album (the Black Album) and Megadeth changed, instantaneously, their sound, in order to follow Metallica's style. Weird. Why not keep putting out thrash records?
There are some good ideas here, however, and I don't deny it: the first riff of Train of Consequences is a killer and there is another interesting riff, played during the middle section of the title track. The bass line of Train of Consequences is extremely good too. Hell, the drum beginning of Addicted to Chaos is decent too, and works well as an intro to the song.
Another good thing is the improvement of Dave Mustaine as a vocalist. He sounded like a dead old woman trying to sing on their first albums but, at this time, he sounded much better - raw, on songs like Addicted to Chaos and Victory, and melodic on the calmer ones.
In fact, the album begins with some decent tunes; they aren't metal monsters but are still good. Reckoning Day contains some aggressive lyrics and competent riffage. The vocal performance is very raw too.
Train of Consequences is the second track and it is, surprisingly, the best song of the album. The chorus is addictive AS HELL, the solos are pretty good and the drum lines are listenable - yay! The first riff is, as I've already said, amazing. Addicted to Chaos is weaker than the previous two tunes, but it's listenable, and so is A Toute Le Monde, the ballad that the band composed in order to surpass the Metallica's ones (look to the track listing, woow, the ballad is the fourth track of the record, guess why?), but, despite working well, it isn't a masterpiece and doesn't even kick, for example, The Unforgiven's ass. Features a french chorus too, which is rather bizarre.
Then, everything goes downhill. The beginning of Elysian Fields sounds like a softer version of the intro to Set the World Afire and, after it, the song becomes forgettable. Well, in fact, all the other songs are very forgettable, except two: Victory and the title track.
Youthanasia would be extremely forgettable too, but, fortunately, it contains one hell of a guitar riff, played during the middle section, which is absolutely top notch, very reminiscent of the one on the break of Metallica's Frayed Ends of Sanity. Victory has some nice lyrics that feature many titles of past Megadeth songs and works well as a speed metal take, being, of course, pretty fast and headbangable.
...And the album ends. We have eleven songs, but, in fact, only six tunes are worth listening and, in the end, they aren't that great; however when you have a record full of awful songs, even the average ones sound like masterpieces, you know.
If you, after reading this, still want to get Youthanasia, I recommend you to search for the remastered and remixed version of it. The bass is more audible and everything sounds great. It also features some bonus tracks, but, meh, they aren't that great.
Oh, there is one thing, though, that rules about this record: the ARTWORK.
38 points – Meh, not great, not great at all!
This album was unique amongst the collection of releases that MegaDeth set to CD in the 1990s, in that it was a complete changeover in style, yet it still worked quite nicely. Whereas "Countdown to Extinction" featured a heavier emphasis on strong chorus, but still contained a good collection of speedy songs with thrash-inspired riffs, this album is completely slowed down and all emphasis is placed upon solos and choruses.
The consequence of the songs on here is quite massive, other than Dave Mustaine's highly distinctive voice, this is almost like a completely different band. Nick Menza has slowed down a bit and is utilizing the toms a lot more in his beats, and Marty Friedman is tailoring his solos more for dramatic effect and less for impressing the audience with speed. All of this fits together nicely, and gives a fresh and original sound that was not merely unique in 1994, it stood completely alone in a desert of creative desolation. The one release that kept me from hating that year like a passion was this one, which was one of my early CD purchases as a post-grunge metal head.
Out of the collection of mid-paced anthems and slower paced rockers, about half of the songs deserve specific analysis, as they do tend to run together a bit. The opening track "Reckoning Day" is probably the fastest song on here, and has a great opening riff that reminds me a bit of Whiplash off Metallica's debut album. "Addicted to Chaos" has a neat drum intro, although the collection of fully developed and varied riffs are what push it over the top. "A Tout Le Monde" is my second favorite tune on here, pretty much a less repetitive and more melodic version of "Fade to Black". "The Killing Road" and "Black Curtains" both have exceptional leads in them, although I would say that the radio-friendly "Train of Consequences" takes my pick for the best solo.
However, the two true highlights of this album are "Victory" and "Family Tree". The former has some great nostalgic lyrics for steady fans of MegaDeth who have followed them since their inception in the early 80s, not to mention some good driving riffs. The latter is my personal favorite for that amazing chorus, in the past 12 years I've never been able to get it out of my head, even after not listening to it for more than a year.
This album may not sit too well with Thrash fans, but fans of Traditional 80s Metal will like this. Anyone who likes a strong song, with all the right hooks, and a good balance between instrument and voice will not be let down. I proudly give this gem, cut from a mountain of coal that was 1994, a strong endorsement.
Megadeth hit it big in the "mainstream" metal world with the release of Countdown to Extinction and everyone was just waiting to see what direction Megadeth would head next. Would they move in a more general metal direction or would they revert back to their no holds thrash sound again? Once one listens to Youthanasia it's pretty easy to hear that they continue down the Classic Metal path.
This isn't a bad concept at all. Megadeth prove that they are able to write under this approach and write it well. There are some very catchy songs on Youthanasia that don't lose the technicality or heaviness. Youthanasia proves that one can write great songs without compromising validity.
Dave and Marty take their guitar abilities back a few steps for Youthanasia. Although its not balls out speed and tech work, they do play wonderfully catchy riffs intermixed with some amazing solos and leads. There are some new concepts that Megadeth try out on this album, like chunkier riffs (the awesome train imitating riff in "Train of Consequences") and new timing concepts. There are some great time changes on this album and Megadeth did seem to discover the concept of negative space. That sometimes it's the silence that can speak. A Tout Le Monde uses this timing concept perfectly and it creates one of the best metal ballads I have ever heard.
The bass and drum work is also top notch once again with Ellefson and Menza really taking a bigger role in the music. Since the music is slowed down a bit and there is a bigger emphasis on the heavy chunky riffs, the bass and drums do have an increased sound. I don't ever really remember thinking that the bass and drums were anything to blow my underwear off - but they obviously get the job done and do it well.
Dave Mustaine doesn't try too much different with his vocals since Countdown to Extinction although as it turns out he does have a wonderful singing voice on the ballad, A Tout Le Monde. There is a less harshness in his vocals than on previous efforts and he does do more melodic parts but overall he does exactly what he does. If you enjoy his vocals, you'll love it. If you hate his vocals, you'll hate it.
Overall this is a really solid album. What is does lack is charisma. It's very hard to explain but it seems as though the album has plenty of great songs but nothing that's GREAT. There is no edge that just leaps out and snags the neck of the listener. It's a solid and good album but its missing that one thing that will make it special.
Songs to check out: Reckoning Day, A Tout Le Monde, Blood of Heroes.
This was the hardest Megadeth album for me to get into. Other than Reckoning Day, this album did nothing for me. A few years later, I gave the album another listen and enjoyed it a lot more.
This is defnitely their catchiest album. There are some wonderful choruses that make you want to sing out loud! But the band has not forgotten about the riffs! The aforementioned Reckoning Day has a classic headbanging riff and still remains my favourite song from the album. The Killing Road is my second favourite on here. It's arguably the fastest on the album although it's more power metal than thrash. Blood Of Heroes is the catchiest song and another highlight. A Tout Le Monde is the best ballad Megadeth ever did. It has just the right balance between lighter and heavier moments. The live version is even more fantastic. Although the later version was a decent remake, the original will always remain superior.
The main problem I have with the album is the lack of variety. Since many of the songs are the same tempo, they all seem to sound similar to each other. This was the reason it took me so long to get into the album as I could not find anything that really stood out. Despite my newly found admiration for the album, there are still songs which leave me cold. Black Curtains and the tit;e track are especially boring to me. In fact, the second half of the album is much weaker than the first aside from Blood Of Heroes.
Overall, this is a solid release that 's worth owning.
"We are the damned of all the world / With sadness in our hearts / The wounded of the wars / We've been hung out to dry"
So sings Megadeth vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine on the title track of his band's 1994 effort, Youthanasia. In many ways this line is quite reflective of the 'turmoil' that the band's fan base was going through at the time. Both Youthanasia and Megadeth's previous album, Countdown to Extinction, did extremely well Both releases propelled Megadeth to the top of the charts (as high as #2 at one point), and the American band was finally enjoying the fruits of their labour. However, this would not come without a price. Countdown to Extinction took them away from their thrash metal roots in pursuit of a more accessible sound. Does this mean we automatically write them off as sell-outs? Of course not. But many fans who longed for the technical thrash found on the likes of Rust in Peace or Peace Sells did write them off when they took this new musical direction. But Dave and the crew didn't care, and continued making the music they wanted to make. Despite what many will tell you, Youthanasia is not a bad album. However, it does continue the progression that began on Countdown started in 1992.
Though the music found in songs like Reckoning Day and Youthanasia remains quite heavy, it is obvious that thrash metal is very scarce on Megadeth's sixth album. In its place is a more traditional type of metal. Much slower than the likes of Rust in Peace…Polaris or Set the World Afire, the material on Youthanasia is set at more of a medium pace, yet makes up for the lack of speed with a level of catchiness similar to that of Countdown to Extinction. This is accomplished through steady, consistent riffs and memorable vocal efforts (But we'll stick with the musical side of the album right now). One song that showcases this catchiness is the song Victory. Aside from being one of Dave's more clever tracks, it's also one of the album's thrashier cuts. Victory's riffy structure represents the build of several of the album's songs, and even detractors of the album should find it interesting. One of the most enjoyable parts of older albums was the technical shredding that Mustaine and Co. subjected listeners to in many of the group's songs. Youthanasia lacks the three minute soloing from Dave and Marty. But it isn't completely devoid of soloing. Mr. Mustaine and Mr. Friedman both showcase their talents on the axe through (for the most part) shorter, slower, yet still competent guitar solos which remain a staple in the arsenal of Megadeth. Music is not an issue with Youthanasia, and like Countdown to Extinction, is very well done.
Now, one of the most ridiculed aspects of Megadeth lies in the vocal delivery of guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine. His efforts on Youthanasia will do nothing to change your mind. But for those who do appreciate his efforts, well, Youthanasia will not disappoint. While I didn't think it was too bad to begin with, Dave's singing significantly improved on Countdown to Extinction. Though the difference is definitely not as large between Countdown and this release, it is still noticeable. He really excels during the various choruses found through the album. The likes of Family Tree and Blood of Heroes have Dave elevating his performance above anything he had ever done at the time. However, the catchiness does not stop there. Songs like Train of Consequences and New World Order also have acceptable vocal lines, yet are somewhat more difficult to get into. This is especially the case in Train of Consequences, where Dave's voice is somewhat irritating the first time you give it a listen. You know, his trademark snarl/growl/vocal style. But aside from some minor moments such as that, Dave has a very good showing on Youthanasia, perhaps his best at that point of his career.
Despite recording a very enjoyable album, Megadeth still got plenty of criticism from their "tr00 fans." No, there aren't any Hangar 18's or Good Morning/Black Friday's or Set the World Afire's, but instead there are an abundance of simpler, more accessible, yet still heavy songs which many can enjoy. The second half of the last verse could be interpreted as the band's response to these hecklers, through the slightly odd career path that they decided to tread (by time Risk came around, Megadeth had lost a lot of it's mainstream appeal as well as most of the tr00 thrash fans which got propelled them to their highs in the first place) If you don't enjoy Megadeth's material (especially Countdown to Extinction), chances are you will not like this, but I find that it's a perfect album for newer Deth fans, along with Peace Sells. Get this album if you have the chance.
"You didn't want us anyway / And now we're making up our minds / You tell us how to run our lives / We run for youthanasia"
(Originally written for Sputnikmusic)
If there was a time period in Megadeth's history that totally redefined the band, it was the 1990's. During the 1990's, Megadeth released a collection of ground breaking albums, changed their sound, and had a consistent lineup; Megadeth also received some mainstream success when their 1992 record "Countdown To Extinction" reached the number two slot on the Billboard Charts! Before Megadeth began slipping with "Risk," Dave Mustaine and crew recorded an album that launched a turning point in the band's career; that album was "Youthanasia."
The main focus on "Countdown To Extinction" was the easier song structure, the lesser emphasis on riffing, and the overall chorus catchiness. To sum it up, a majority of Megadeth's thrash influence was gone and the band was now playing a vintage heavy metal style, and that's where "Youthanasia" comes in. "Countdown To Extinction" was the first record of this new sound, but "Youthanasia" is where they perfected it.
Instead of the somewhat sloppy guitar playing and drumming on "Countdown To Extinction," "Youthanasia" has musical work that flows like a stream. The riffing and the drumming have both slowed down a bit, but they compliment each other perfectly. "Reckoning Day" is the most suitable example of this because of the strong rhythm section. Mustaine and guitarist Marty Friedman play a smooth mid paced riff while bassist David Ellefson matches Nick Menza's simple, yet steady drum patterns. The solos here aren't as crazy and fast as previous Megadeth efforts, but they do fit well and match the tone of the music. When a song sounds slow or depressing, like "A Tout Le Monde," the leads are simpler and epic, but when a track is heavier and has faster riffing, like "Train Of Consequences," the solos are technical and swift. The riffs are common to "Countdown To Extinction" in the sense that they sound more traditional then thrash. The riff on the title track sounds almost identical to something stripped out of a Black Sabbath album. "The Killing Road" is probably the only track that could be considered somewhat thrash because of the steady riff, but don't expect anything similar to "Rust In Peace!"
"The Killing Road," "Elysian Fields," and "Reckoning Day" are defiantly the prime cuts from this album. As previously stated, "Reckoning Day" has a fantastic rhythm field along with some great vocals. "The Killing Road" is my personal favorite song from this album because it has this thrashy riff that makes it sound unique from the pack of traditional metal songs and Mustaine has some really great vocals too. "Elysian Fields" has a delightfully memorable chorus, good riffing, and it even has a freakin harmonica solo! I find every song on "Youthanasia" to be fantastic, but these three stand out to me the most.
Instead of lyrics about occultism and dark imagery, the lyrics on "Youthanasia" are focused around different subjects. There are a ton of lyrical topics here; everything from depression, to incest, to nuclear war, and even gambling. "A Tout Le Monde" is probably the most well known song from this album because of its suicidal lyrics. The title track is an interesting tidbit about the problems youths face, such as drugs and violence. The famous "We've been hung out to dry " line inspired the controversial artwork and it basically sums up the song's content.
If you do plan to buy a copy of "Youthanasia," try to seek out the 2004 reissue. Not only is this version of the album completely remastered, it contains a series of amazing bonus tracks. The two demo tracks of "A Tout Le Monde" and "New World Order" sound great. The demo of "A Tout Le Monde" is extended in time length, has a different chorus and added backing vocals. The demo of "New World Order" sounds quite similar to the original version, but it does have some minor changes not in the actual track. The instrumental "Absolution" is a nice soft rocker with an interlude that hardcore Megadeth fans will recognize immediately. These bonus tracks are great and I highly suggest you buy the reissue to get them.
I've listened to the entire Megadeth catalog countless times, and "Youthanasia" is my favorite by far. This record rules in every possible way. "Youthanasia" might not be as influential as "Peace Sells...But Whose Buying" or "Rust In Peace," but it does rank among one of the best releases of this timeless band.
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com
“Youthanasia” has been criticized by many as being commercial and bland. Truth is - it’s neither! It's every bit as good as “Countdown to Extinction” and better. “Youthanasia” is built on a solid power metal foundation (not Rhapsody style, Power the way it should be done!) and has that distinct Megadeth style to it too. Mustaine did have competition with Metallica but with this release, Mustaine opts for a power metal base rather than the modern rock one of Metallica. Thank goodness for that.
The band has progressed in songwriting. Now instead of writing riff-oriented, heavy as hell material that they used to earlier, the band has progressed to a more traditional metal sound that's emotional and catchy. Countdown to Extinction was the first step in this direction and this is the next. They have slowed down the pace of Countdown and brought in more melody which works well and is probably the most they can take this sound to. Cryptic Writings was a letdown and didn't push forward this sound further but the band has returned to this sound with “The System Has Failed”. “TSHF” is heavier and faster than “Youthanasia” and therefore goes back to “Countdown” style of metal. This album in its own right is a classic and should have been an inspiration for power metal bands but is sadly, not.
Musically, the entire group is solid as ever. Menza has always been a monster at the drum kit and now this album and “Countdown” showed his more rhythmic style that flows well with the music on display here. Dave Eleffson is as good as he ever was on earlier releases. Mustaine now writes very very catchy riffs that one is bound not to forget and Marty puts up some excellent solos. As a singer, Mustaine furthers the melodic voice he acquired on “Rust in Peace” initially and developed on “Countdown”. Though his new voice would fully mature on “Cryptic Writings” (even if it was a musical letdown), he sings very well on this one as well. Megadeth plays tight, melodic, emotional and catchy power metal on this album that no-one else has ever replicated in metal history.
Lyrically, the band deals with topics such as Gambling, Suicide and such. The band has matured lyrically as well deviating further from the occultism of “Peace Sells”. Mustaine perfectly transpires the message which he wishes to give through his lyrics. A Tout Le Monde's video was banned from MTV on charges of it talking about suicide. There are many Mustaine classics (lyrics) here such as “Train of Consequences and the emotional “A Tout Le Monde”.
On A Song Level, everything here's awesome and there are a few average numbers as well “Reckoning Day” is up-beat and would appeal even to a thrash fan. “Train of Consequence’s” has a great riff and carries a superb sense of melody thought. “Addicted to Chaos” has a memorable and instantly catchy chorus besides nice leads. “A Tout Le Monde” is a very emotional ballad with a well executed French chorus and solo. “Elysian Fields” is a very strange song with a nice chorus but that "ah-ah-ah" the band does in the background is surely strange. “The Killing Road” is short, melodic and well done. “Blood of Heroes” is the catchiest song on here with a perfectly written chorus and riffs and also an excellent solo. “Family Tree” is a strange song which I put under the average section. The title track is slow and heavy, it gets a bit boring but it’s mainly average. Both “I Thought I Knew It All” and “Black Curtains” are very enjoyable to hear as they're both catchy as nice. “Victory” has Mustaine combine all the song titles he can into a song and it and he does a good job of it! At first I didn't like this song but now its one of my favorites, it features nice guitar harmonies and a nice chorus with that awesome solo perfectly fitting the song.
In conclusion, a solid metal release by Megadeth. It’s often remembered as one of their weak record but “Youthanasia” is better than “Countdown” and “KIMB” and much better than “Cryptic Writings” and “Risk”. Buy or download now!
Standouts: Reckoning Day, Victory, Tran Of Consequences, Addicted To Chaos, Blood Of Heroes, The Killing Road, I Thought I Knew It All, Black Curtains and Elysian Fields.
Metallica had just become the most popular metal band on the planet with the release of the Black album, and after two years of touring, went on hiatus. Megadeth was starting to gain momentum in popularity, in fact, almost to Metallica's level with the release of Countdown To Extinction. But unlike the Black Album, Countdown was more commercial sounding without too many of the "pop-rock" tendencies. After Metallica went on hiatus before releasing Load, Megadeth was in position to become just as popular as Metallica. They had also released two songs that appeared on soundtrack, and eventually on the Hidden Treasures EP ("99 Ways To Die" and "Angry Again") that gave fans hope that the band was "returning" to the greatness of the Rust In Peace album. Then came Youthanasia, released in the fall of 1994. And instead of thrashing out with the songs on here, they focused more on good songwriting than being hellbent of writing mosh-driven rhythm.
Basically, this album is much more commercial sounding than any of the albums from Rust In Peace and before, but it sounds commercial without sounding like a blatant sellout or cashgrab, as another reviewer said. The songwriting is still very good, and at this point in their career, Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman are still one of the top guitar duos in the metal business. While you won't find a lot of riffs in the thrash mold like a lot of chug riffs and stutters, there is still a lot of attention to the lead work. And what excellent lead work it is.
The highlights: In my opinion, almost every song is a highlight in some way, but "Blood Of Heroes", "Addicted To Chaos", and "Reckoning Day" take the spots as the top songs here. These songs have good steady rhythm provided by Dave Ellefson and Nick Menza, as well as top-of-the-shelf lead work from Friedman and Mustaine. "A Tout Le Monde" is Megadeth's first ballad since "In My Darkest Hour" (from So Far So Good So What!) and is definitely no "Nothing Else Matters". Not weak sounding, and not accompanied by a string section, just the band themselves playing a well written song to a chorus that happens to be in French, just like the title of the song. A strong ballad indeed. "Victory" is a tribute to the band's career, with the lyrics showcasing the band's past and containing many of Megadeth's classic songs throughout the lyrics. This is a blueprint to how a good power metal song should be written. A very strong ending to the album! "Blood Of Heroes" and "Family Tree" sound similar, but are strong, especially when dealing with maintaining a consistent head-moving rhythm throughout. "Train Of Consequences" is a nasty sounding song, especially with the chorus, and there is a very good stutter-effect sounding riff that opens the song. "Elysian Fields" - BANG THAT HEAD, SON, this is one of the heaviest songs offered here. The title track and "I Thought I Knew It All" are also good, and while they sound like radio hits, they are still well-written.
The lowlights: It's hard to find a reason for me to put this album down, but basically all I'll say is that this is not as ripping and thrashing as Rust In Peace. But then, what else is? What other thrash band, by anyone, has come close to the godliness of that album? It's hard as hell to find. This is not a thrash album by any means, but I'm not complaining.
Who this album's for: Fans of any of the thrash Big Four. Power metal fans will also enjoy this album, as this album is a blueprint on how to write a good power metal album. Hell, even a casual Megadeth fan will find much to enjoy about this. Just as long as they are not expecting Rust In Peace Part 2, this should definitely suffice.
The bottom line: This is an album that belongs in any collection, especially fans of Megadeth or metal in general. There is good songwriting on here, and the guitar playing on here is still top of the line. Unfortunately, it does go downhill from here until Megadeth makes a semi-comeback with The World Needs A Hero.
No, Megadeth doesn't do much thrash on this album. Nonetheless, it's still an excellent album. It's also just about their catchiest - they manage to write memorable songs without sounding too much like a sellout. They sound more like 80s metal than anything else at times, with the overt, singalong choruses, but if anyone wants to tell me that THAT was "in" in 1994, I will force you to listen to the first Korn album until you die of a brain hemorrhage.
Songs worth hearing are the opener, Reckoning Day, also the nicely done ballad A Tout le Monde, and some of the aforementioned nice choruses: Blood of Heroes, Elysian Fields, and Addicted to Chaos. The album contains some really well-done lead guitar - more fitting with the songs than on the previous Megadeth album, and just as shred-happy as Mustaine and Friedman have ever been.
Special mention goes to the last song: Victory, in which Mustaine runs through the career of Megadeth, putting in as many song titles as he can. The highlight of the song is the guitar solo. It's a tribute to none other than THE PRINCE!! (Diamond Head), which Metallica with Mustaine covered way back in 1982. A lot of people don't really notice it, but the underlying melody is the same.
Yes, this album is worth getting - it's power metal at its finest. For 1994, when heavy metal was at a definite low point, one is hard pressed to find better metal albums.