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Not thrash, but still one of Megadeth's best - 90%

panteramdeth, August 28th, 2004

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.