This gives glimpes of Megadeth's rapid ascent to the top of the thrash world (culminating with Rust in Peace). The guitars and vocals are rough and the music is heavier. But the roughness also leads to some awkard moment. The chemistry seen in the later albums between Mustaine and Friedman is not that evident between Poland and Mustaine. Still, this is a classic Megadeth album with songs like the title track, Wake up Dead, and Devil's Island packing a powerful punch.
This is a great follow up to their last release. Different guitarist and drummer, but again it is extremely aggressive. A lot of thrash metal has punk influences and this is clearly evident in Megadeth's cover of the Sex Pistols' anthem, Anarchy in the USA. This album also includes classics like Set the World Afire, Mary Jane, In My Darkest Hour, and Hook in Mouth.
This is the definitive thrash album. It not only defines what thrash is, but provides a intricate texture of excellent drumming, guitars, and solos which demonstrate the incredible talent in this group. Every song in it kicks butt. The solo in Tornado of Souls has some of my most favourite guitar solos ever, showing some brilliant teamwork by Mustaine and Friedman (who's an excellent guitarist). If you are one of those people who complain "metal is a bunch of untalented musicians making noise", check this album out.
"Up on my podium as the know it all scholar. Down in my seat of judgement gavel's bang, uphold the law. Up on my soapbox a leader out to change the world. Down in my pulpit as the holier than-thou-could-be messenger of god! ---Megadeth, Holy Wars
The anti-climax after Rust in Peace. The raw sound that was present in the earlier albums has been completely removed by the slick production. Mustaine reportedly dared anyone to find a mistake in the record, and that every note was played with complete accuracy. This might be true, but it makes for a boring album. Still, I wouldn't call this a "sell-out" (it's not that bad if you listen to it 10 times or so), because if they released another album like Rust in Peace, they'd have been a lot more popular.
The new Megadeth album cannot be analysed in a thorough fashion without referring to their previous albums, particularly Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction, and Metallica's last release, the self-titled Black Album. The title of this release is Youthanasia, and this pun is the beginning of their going back to their sarcastic roots ("Peace sells... but who's buying?"), and is exemplified by the sleeve which shows the band playing air guitars. The lyrics also reflect the sarcasm seen in earlier releases (before: "Whaddaya mean I don't believe in god? I talk to him everyday" and "I know if I wake her, I'll wake up dead" and now: "As for me I hocked my brains, packed my bags, and headed west", and "May the past Rust in Peace in Hangar 18"). But, for once, the music of the album almost matches the lyrical grandeur that Mustaine envisions.
Given the 99 Ways to Die single and the searing version of Black Sabbath's Paranoid in the Sabbath tribute album, you would think that the style of the songs in this album would follow suit. But the first striking thing about this is album is that it is really slow compared to any of their previous releases. This makes things slightly less complex too, since mediocre intricacy and high speed give the impression of complexity, but not vice versa. It is by no means Countdown to Extinction part II, since that album was full of slick production and this has the distinctive rough Megadeth edge to it. To me, this is a slower version of Rust in Peace, with better lyrics and vocals (this is the best singing by Mustaine I've ever heard). It is a bit too formulaic and does not exploit Freidman's or Mustaine's guitar wizardry adequately.
People will call this a sell-out album and compare it to Metallica's Black Album: the Black Album is bubblegum pop; this is hard rock. This is truly a case of a band changing style not to make money (if they wanted to do this, they should've stuck to the Countdown to Extinction style), but perhaps to get some sort of a message---it is difficult to top one of the greatest thrash albums of all time. This is also very reminiscent of what Prong did with their last three albums (Beg to Differ kicked; Prove You Wrong was tailored for the masses; Cleansing sort of changed style, but could by no means called a sell-out).
The intricacy is still there, especially in the drumming. The guitar solos in the title track, Addicted to Chaos, and I thought I knew it All, are excellent. No longer are they blazingly fast (maybe they're just growing old), but they're certainly still aesthetically pleasing. Mustaine's singing on A Tout Le Monde, especially the French lyrics, provide a dark contrast between the words and his low-nasal voice. If you really miss the thrash side of Megadeth, you should just speed up the songs and I'm quite sure it'll provide the necessary Rust in Peace effect. The lyrics are no longer angry and bitter; they're simply existential: Youthanasia, I thought I knew it All, the French song, and Addicted to Chaos.
If liked some of Megadeth's previous releases to some degree, you will probably like this album as it grows on you. It's not Rust in Peace , but it's much better than Countdown to Extinction. Chances are that you won't get bored of it. The stupidest thing, however, about this album is the "thank you" to God. For what?
Many Megadeth fans I know were disappointed with their Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia releases, but Hidden Treasures offers solid proof that Megadeth still has it in them to pump out speed-thrash metal along the lines of their seminal Rust in Peace. The "treasures" on this album include Breakpoint, Go to Hell, Angry Again, 99 Ways to Die, a cover of Black Sabbath's Paranoid (Mustaine actually sounds a lot more convincing than Osborne on this one and it is one song where I prefer a cover over the original) and a cover of the Sex Pistols' Problems. Incidentally, the Problems cover reminded me of the group Psychotica (with the female vocalist singing), even though Megadeth predate them. The only cheesy tune is a cover of Alice Coopper's No More Mr. Nice Guy. Diadems is somewhat "alternative" sounding at times, but it is tolerable. It is surprising to me that Megadeth managed to record songs with the calibre of Breakpoint or 99 Ways to Die and still release albums like Youthanasia at about the same periods of time. Here's hoping for the hardest and crunchiest Megadeth album in the near future.
Megadeth's latest release, Cryptic Writings is more in the style of their last original studio release, Youthanasia, than their earlier releases. This is somewhat unfortunate as I think 1990's Rust in Peace is one of the greatest pieces of music ever. But I'm fairly impressed with the disc (especially as I've given up expecting every song to be pulse-pounding thrash metal): it's melodic, catchy, and thought-provoking, even though the vocals have gotten more mellow. The complementary guitar work of Marty Friedman and Dave Mustaine is superlative. Highlights of the album include the radio hit Trust, which, albeit geared for the mainstream audience, is reminiscent of older Megadeth containing powerful riffs and searing solos; The Disintegrators, which is a solid head-banging sort of song; A Secret Place which features a cool Sitar-based riff and some aggressive vocals; Vortex, a fairly experimental, syncopated, and innovative tune; Fff which is a very typical Megadeth tune---it's great to hear Mustaine snarling "fight for freedom, fight authority." Cryptic Writings is a decent melodic thrash metal work.