Album review: Megadeth, Countdown to Extinction (1992)



By Steve Newton

Used to be that whenever Megadeth albums like Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? or Killing is My Business…And Business is Good came my way, I’d pass them off as just too thrashy and evil-sounding for my more melodic sensibilities. That was good news for my teenage nephew, who was more than happy to take them off my hands. But the metal-hungry kid won’t be getting his meathooks on my new copy of Countdown to Extinction, ’cause this one’s a keeper.

Megadeth leader (and former Metallica member) Dave Mustaine has welded his group’s previously hardcore sound into something that rock ’n’ roll fans—and not just headbangers—can appreciate. The most obvious example on Countdown to Extinction is “Symphony of Destruction”, a searing indictment of political folly that—apart from Mustaine’s sinister vocal—could pass for a ’70s rock tune by Thin Lizzy or Blue Oyster Cult.

Socially- and environmentally-minded tunes like “Foreclosure of a Dream” and the title track also show Megadeth expanding its musical territory, lightening up the thrash element, and staking out more varied and accessible territory.

Mustaine would undoubtedly claim that his band still kicks ass, but it does so with a sleek new pair of Nikes rather than its old, blood-stained combat boots.

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