Sunday is National Metal Day. Music has been the soundtrack of my life. I am truly a fan of most styles of music…Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, and of course 80’s Pop. However, the bane of my existence has been Heavy Metal Music. I am the epitome of your hardcore Metal fan….I have dabbled in all styles of Metal from the forefather’s Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, to the British Heavy Metal movement with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Def Leppard…to the Thrash Movement with Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer…the Glam Metal Wave with Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Ratt, Cinderella, Great White, Whitesnake…to the Grunge Era with Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, SoundGarden, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine…to the industrial/goth scene with Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie/Rob Zombie…to the Speed Metal Pantera, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage…to the newer wave of Heavy Metal with bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine, Atreyu, and Slipknot. I generally will listen to any type of metal and enjoy it besides Death Metal, which I really don’t share in my archives. As National Metal Day fast approaches, I’m taking this time to reflect on my timeline of metal and of course everyone has their own personal favorite band. My all-time favorite Metal Band happens to be Megadeth. If anyone were to interview any of my close friends, family members, or aquaintances, all of these people would say that my favorite band is Megadeth. The Big 4 (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer) all happen to be at the top of my list. However, Megadeth has always stood out among all of these bands as the one that has had the most influence on me as a Metal fan. One of the very first CD’s I purchased was “Countdown to Extinction” by Megadeth in 1992. It just happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the release of this album, Megadeth’s 4th Installment in their discography. The album was actually released in July of 1992. Dave Mustaine, the founder of Megadeth just released the 20th Anniversary copy of “Countdown to Extinction.” The special CD includes a remastered copy of the Triple Platinum megahit as well as a 2nd CD, which is a live recording of one of the first shows in San Francisco during the Countdown Tour. Last week marked the beginning of Megadeth’s 20th Anniversary “Countdown to Extinction” Tour, which will feature the band’s most famous and successful album played in it’s entirety. I actually have secured two tickets to the sold out show next wednesday, which was supposed to be played in the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, New Jersey. This famous venue is close to the birthplace of Metallica who most fans are familiar with the fact that Dave Mustaine began his career in Metallica. The concert has been forced to change venues due to damage and flooding caused by the recent natural dissaster “Hurricane Sandy.” The venue has been changed to the Best Buy Arena in Manhattan, New York. I must admit, having the chance to see Megadeth in New York for me would be like seeing Motley Crue play in Los Angeles. This opportunity to see a band play it’s best album in it’s entirety only comes around once in a lifetime. A few years back, I saw Motley Crue perform the entire Dr. FeelGood Title in Camden, and just this past summer Metallica’s Black Album in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Black Album just happened to be released the same year, shortly after Countdown to Extinction.
I am so excited to see Megadeth play this concert and it has special meaning to me as it not only was my first CD ever purchased, but also my favorite all-time Megadeth Album. I have listened to the album so often I know the tracks in order by heart as well as most of the lyrics. The album consists of the following tracks in order: Skin o My Teeth, Symphony of Destruction, Architecture of Aggression, Foreclosure of a Dream, Sweating Bullets, This Was My Life, Countdown to Extinction, High Speed Dirt, Psychotron, Captive Honor, and Ashes in Your Mouth. My personal favorite song happens to be one that received hardly any airplay, unlike most of the other big hits Symphony of Destruction, Sweating Bullets, Foreclosure of a Dream, and Countdown to Extinction…this is……”Ashes in Your Mouth.” Megadeth has went through many lineup changes over the years. The band first started out with Dave Mustaine on vocals and Guitar, David Elleffson on Bass Guitar, Gars Samuelson on Drums, and Chris Poland on Lead Guitar. This lineup produced Megadeth’s debut album, “Killing is my Business and Business is Good.” They also made “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” which was a much more successful album both commercially and sound produced. After Gars and Chris were fired for heroin addictions…enter Jeff Young and Chuck Buehler. This lineup was short lived as they released “So Far So Good So What.” Young and Buehler were replaced by Marty Friedman on Guitars and Nick Menza on Drums respectively…and now Megadeth had not only it’s most famous lineup, but also it’s most successful. This lineup released Megadeth’s 4th album, multi-platinum hit “Rust in Peace.” Rust in Peace was a “master peace.” It was hard to see this album being topped, but Megadeth did just that when it released “Countdown to Extinction” which quickly rose to second on the Billboard Charts, the highest Megadeth ever was and ever has since then. In a cruel twisted fate, Mustaine’s former band Metallica released their Black album which took Number1 on the Billboard Charts that same year. However, although this was a blow to Mustaine’s confidence, Countdown was truly a work of art. In my opinion Countdown to Extinction blows away the Black Album and Megadeth blows away Metallica. Dave Mustaine was recently voted as the 8th Best Guitarist of all-time by members of his peers. Not only is Mustaine a genius on Guitar, but he also excels with writing lyrics. Most of Megadeth’s early material centered around political themes as well as dark themes such as addiction which has always followed Mustaine until he finally kicked his addictions recently. Countdown to Extinction has stayed the test of time and is still Megadeth’s best piece of work. Everyone who has a favorite band also has their favorite albums by that band. Well…h=Megadeth has produced Thirteen Studio albums, their last this past year actually called “13.” Here are my Top 10 Megadeth Albums:
1) Countdown to Extinction- The Second album with their most successful lineup….Dave Mustaine, David Elleffson, Marty Friedman, and Nick Menza. This album is a classic and will always be my favorite of all-time…so looking forward to going to see this played next week.
2) Rust in Peace- The Debut album with this classic lineup…it was the First Megadeth album to really make it big in the mainstream community but also stayed close to it’s underground roots. Tunes like Hangar 18 and Holy Wars…The Punishment Due are major hits.
3) Cryptic Writings- This album was one of the last with the classic lineup and spawned one of Megadeth’s most successful singles ever to date, “Trust.” This album continued the heavy roots of Megadeth, but added some industrial sound to stay with the times.
4) Youthanasia- This album was released soon after Countdown and was almost as good. It still featured the classic lineup and had many songs that were not only heavy, but received some serious airplay. A Tout Le Monde still remains one of my Favorite Megadeth tunes.
5) The World Needs a Hero- This album marked the end of the Marty Friedman/Nick Menza era as Jimmy Degrasso and Al Pitrelli took over on drums and guitar. The World Needs a Hero is a highly underrated album in my opinion and will always be one of my favorites.
6) Peace Sells But Who’s Buying- This was Megadeth’s sophomore album and was a huge hit and still houses many of Megadeth’s best tracks such as the title track, The Conjuring, Wake Up Dead, and Devil’s Island.
7) The System has Failed- This album was supposed to be a solo album after Dave Mustaine disbanded Megadeth for a short time due to his chronic hand disease that he struggled with, which doctors said he may never play again. At this time, Megadeth still had to commit to one more album under the current contract so they released the album under that brand. This album marked the return of original Lead Guitarist, Chris Poland and actually went back to the Heavy roots that Megadeth had since deserted.
8) United Abominations- This album was released after System and once again is highly underrated in my opinion. This album goes back to the political theme of early Megadeth. An awesome rendition of A Tout Le Monde is found on this album which features Christina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil, an awesome Italian Heavy Metal Band.
9) Thirteen- Thirteen is the latest Megadeth album, and really brings Megadeth to another level. The single Public Enemy Number One may crack the Top Ten Megadeth singles of all-time.
10) So Far So Good So What- The lone album with Jeff Young and Chuck Buehler. This album was not produced as well as most of their other material and was a low-budget album, however, it still is one of the best and has one of my Top 3 Megadeth Tunes….Hook in Mouth…which is a huge theme about the fight against the PMRC (Parental Music Record Commission) who started the Parental Warnings and tried to say that Metal was a tool of the Devil.
And now my Top 10 Megadeth Songs:
Hangar 18, Ashes in Your Mouth, Hook in Mouth, Symphony of Destruction, Angry Again, Holy Wars…Capital Punishment Due, Public Enemy Number 1, Kill the King, Dread and the Fugitive Mind, and Scorpion. These are my Favs….not necessarily the favorites of mainstream Megadeth fans, but each one of us always has a favorite. Anyways, as we fly towards Sunday and National Metal Day, I reflect on my favorite bands. I do not consider Megadeth the best Metal band of all-time, that would be crazy, but they are my favorite. I can relate to Dave Mustaine in a lot of ways…being displaced at a younger age, struggling with addiction, and a genius talent for writing powerful lyrics. Dave Mustaine is one of the best Front men in Metal and will always be one of the leaders of his trade. Megadeth may not be the most popular of the Big 4…that would be Metallica, nonetheless, Megadeth has been the most successful as far as what they have accomplished and their ability to stay at the top of the Heavy Metal Scene, even now with their most recent album “13”. Once again, if you are a fan of metal, try to make it to one of their shows on this next tour which truly will be monumental. I Cannot Wait!!!