Two decades later, the 20th anniversary edition of Countdown To Extinction has been released. The two disc collection includes the original album remastered along with a 1992 San Diego concert being released in its entirety for the first time. In addition, there are postcards of the band members and a poster.
Countdown To Extinction found Megadeth simplifying their sound, writing more direct songs. It spawned songs that remain a staple of their live set to this day, such as “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets.”
They toned down the thrash somewhat in favor of a more traditional metal approach. There’s still plenty of intensity, but the tempos are generally slower.
Lyrically, Dave Mustaine addressed many different subjects. Several songs are politically charged, such as “Foreclosure Of A Dream” that features George Bush’s famous “read my lips” speech. He also takes on caged hunting on the title track and mental illness on “Sweating Bullets.”
This was the second album with the lineup of Mustaine, Marty Friedman, David Ellefson and Nick Menza. Even though the songs are more straightforward, there is still ample opportunity for Mustaine and Friedman to display their chops, although it’s not an all out shredfest like some of the band’s past albums.
The 2012 version of the album sounds great. The remastering gives it even more punch. The sound quality of the concert is also really good. The 16 song (plus intro) set at the Cow Palace includes seven of the 11 tracks on Countdown To Extinction plus classics such as “Holy Wars,” “Wake Up Dead” and “Hangar 18.”
Megadeth completists will definitely want to add the 20th anniversary edition to their collection, and if you want to replace your old cassette this version works nicely. For those who already have the original CD, it’s not an essential purchase, but the live show is a nice bonus.
(released November 6, 2012 on Capitol/EMI Records)