Countdown to Extinction (20th Anniversary Reissue)
Capitol Records/EMI Music Australia
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Still a suitable symphony of destruction!
You know you’re getting old, at least in my instance, when all these albums that I grew up with are now being reissued as 20th anniversary editions, or 25th anniversary editions or more in some cases. I guess that’s ok – growing old is mandatory, growing up, on the other hand, is not. But I digress. The thing is though with reissues that not all albums still sound relevant or timely after all these years. Thankfully, for Megadeth and what was their first foray into a more dare I say commercial style, Countdown to Extinction still sounds as good today as it did when first released two decades ago.
The album gets the boxset treatment featuring a bonus CD, a 24” x 36” poster and four post cards that are included. The first of the two CDs is the original Countdown to Extinction album from 1992 excluding the four bonus tracks that found their way onto the 2004 reissue. The original album has a punchier sound thanks to the remastering wizardry of Tom Baker and I for one am grateful that the album’s tracklist matches that of the original all those years ago. The updated liner notes intro from Kory Grow (who contributes to several high profile music mags including Rolling Stone, Spin, Revolver and Guitar World amongst others) offer an interesting historical time capsule shot of the state of the world and the band’s intentions with what would eventually become a divisive album among fans.
The poster and postcards are nice as is the presentation box but really, the big kicker for fans here to shell out their hard earned cash on a third copy of this album is the live CD that is included. It was recorded at the Cow Palace in San Francisco (California, U.S.A.) on December 4, 1992. This is a mostly unreleased recording with two songs (Ashes In Your Mouth and Sweating Bullets) both appearing on the second CD of the multidisc Warchest best of that Megadeth released in 2007. However even the blistering 16 song (excluding the obligatory Intro track) set could upset a few old school fans. Every album from Countdown to Extinction back to the classic Peace Sells... But Who’s Buying? is given good air time. What’s missing? That’s right – the band’s killer debut Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! Not a single song. Not even the one that Dave Mustaine has introduced as the song “that other band stole”. Nada. The set is full of staples but I think to ignore that album is a crime so early on in their career. Others will disagree I’m sure. If you can move past that, then you’ll be treated to a crushing performance that highlights just how good Mustaine and Co. really are when they are on fire. This could also be considered the perfect snapshot of what many consider to be the band’s best line-up as well – Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Friedman and Nick Menza.
Is there enough here to fork out for this album once again? Clearly the original album isn’t going to change the opinion of those that were on the “nay” side of its release two decades ago. It really depends on how much value you put on the live album from that era. It is good, don’t get me wrong. Sounds tops, mostly solid set list (bar the aforementioned omission). So if that’s your thing, then go for it. This is more a fans only release and having said that, I reckon it’ll hit the spot with them, as well.
More from Megadeth
- Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good - The Final Kill [review]
- Dystopia [review]
- Super Collider [review]
- Th1rt3en [review]
- Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (25th Anniversary 2CD release) [review]
- Rust in Peace - Live (CD/DVD) [review]
- Endgame [review]
- Anthology: Set The World Afire [review]
- Warchest [review]
- United Abominations [review]
- Arsenal Of Megadeth (DVD) [review]
- Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? [review]
- System Has Failed, The [review]