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Probably the catchiest Megadeth album ever - 87%

CannibalCorpse, April 15th, 2009

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!