11 May 2008

Month of Megadeth: Countdown to Extinction

Countdown to Extinction album cover, Megadeth album cover


After the success of Rust in Peace, Megadeth aims for the number one spot. A calculated balance between radio friendly song structures and a scorching line-up ready for immolation makes Countdown to Extinction one of the few heavy metal records with pop sensibilities that won't make you hurl.

PETA protest I'd rather go naked than wear fur

PETA protesting against the use of fur. Even though I support seal clubbing, I must admit I prefer women without fur. I prefer them naked too.


There's nowhere you can really go after a record like Rust in Peace. Of course, if Megadeth became louder and heavier, nobody would have complained. But Countdown to Extinction is a very good record, despite being lighter than its predecessor.

The 2004 remixed and remastered version features demos for the tracks "Countdown to Exctinction", "Symphony of Destruction" and "Psychotron". In the liner notes, Mustaine claims he felt a certain energy in the studio after about a week of recording. This energy told him that this record is the big one. The demos reveal just how perfectionist they were at this stage. Friedman and Mustaine tracked their guitars through tuners to ensure everything is perfect for the final recording.

Listening to the album, one can't help to notice this clinical perfectionism seeping through each track. Instead of sterilising the record, it helped to highlight the nuances in Megadeth's often complex tracks.

I used to listen to this album on cassette deck. My dad had a cassette of bird calls which was quickly transformed into a second generation copy of Countdown to Extinction. It made our mandatory game drives much more enjoyable for me, despite the fact that I got a hiding and gave my dad a headache.

The CD – now ripped to Megadeth mp3 for convenience – is in a state of pure digital perfection. Listening to it is truly awesome. Like Divine Intervention by Slayer, I can't really be objective about this record because I grew up with it. If you get a hiding for it, or if you get taken to the principal's office for a record, it automatically scores five skulls.

Useless information

  • "Crown of Worms" features lyrics written by Sean Harris of Diamond Head. Mustaine tried to write music in a classic Motorhead style to fit the lyrics. I am grateful that they included this hard to find track on the remixed and remastered version.

  • "Countdown to Extinction" is a song about canned hunting. The track won accolades from PETA and other pussies. Canned hunting is obviously much different than frolicking around in an animal's natural habitat with a hand weapon, so in this case I support PETA's views.

  • "Ashes in Your Mouth" has some of my favourite guitar solos of all time.

  • "Psychotron" is one of several Megadeth tracks about comic book characters. In this case, the topic is Deathlok, the demolisher.

This is part of the month of Megadeth series on the Necro Files. All the posts of the series are listed below:

Track listing

  1. Skin o' My Teeth

  2. Symphony of Destruction

  3. Architecture of Aggression

  4. Foreclosure of a Dream

  5. Sweating Bullets

  6. This Was My Life

  7. Countdown to Extinction

  8. High Speed Dirt

  9. Psychotron

  10. Captive Honour

  11. Ashes in Your Mouth

  12. Crown of Worms

  13. Countdown to Extinction (Demo)

  14. Symphony of Destruction (Demo)

  15. Psychotron (Demo)



five awesome rating skulls top heavy metal albums and horror movies get five skulls in the review


Kaitee said...

I decided I liked Megadeth when I was a kid because this album had an awesome cover. Symphony of Destruction was one of my favourite songs for a long time until Guitar Hero came along and butchered it, but then I saw them play live and all was forgiven.

mantiz said...

I gotta say Megadeth's one of the few bands that have remained true to their thrash metal roots. In fact, it was 'Tornado of Souls' that got me hooked into heavy metal in the first place.
nice review, loved the album :)

Carson F. Ball said...

Nice review on Countdown to Extinction! Megadeth is one of my favorite groups and this was the first album of theirs I bought back in high-school. I wish Ellefson were still in the group.

If you want to see my opinions on several of their albums, feel free to check out http://music.ballweb.org/artist/Megadeth.php.

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