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Evolution from "Countdown To Extinction" - 96%

Fatal_Metal, October 13th, 2005

“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.