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Megadeth: Youthanasia - 30%

Never_Enough, June 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Capitol Records (Remastered)

"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 Friedman

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.