Countdown To Extinction
Review by Luka on February 22, 2002.
MegaDave strikes us once again with a very strong and memorable opus. It would be unfair to compare (and probably degrade) it to the previous masterpiece "Rust in Peace" because the band’s sound has had a considerable makeover. The fork-in-the-road has been passed and it’s clear where Megadeth are heading. The thrash metal hellride is over, the NO3 has burned out, and we’re left at a comfortable, cruising tempo.
Following Metallica’s black album lead, "Countdown..." has decided to turn down the bass, turn down the speed, and focus more on powerful groove and heaviness that Pantera would eventually come to master. Admittedly, the two-chord formula that made 'Symphony of Destruction' such a hit is not the basis for any other song here, but the lack of melody, speed, and progression is still apparent.
The simple approach definitely makes this album the most accessible in Megadeth’s career. And with metal’s short-lived golden age in the early 90’s, a more mainstream single meant a platinum record. I still have a hard time swallowing idiotic-minded tracks like 'Captive Honour' and the folky 'High Speed Dirt', but there is enough served on the plate here to satisfy anyone. The very technical 'This Was My Life' and the surprisingly melodic 'Psychotron' are a few worth mentioning as being definite winners. I just miss the complex song arrangements that made the other albums so powerful and unique! Seeing Mustaine’s compositions resort to the classic rock-n-roll song formula is definitely a bad sign.
Bottom Line: Slower but heavier. Still strong, ass-kicking Mega-metal but the energy and intensity is starting to wane.
Rating: 7.8 out of 10