Review by Luka on February 22, 2002.
The quote from the title-track best summarizes the band’s situation at the time. It’s 1994 and metal is officially dead to MTV and the media as a commercial power. The Big Four among others are scrambling to keep the sales steady but it’s getting harder every day. Slayer and Testament stayed heavy and suffered. Pantera and Sepultura built upon the simple and stripped down, groove-oriented style that would influence much of nu-metal and succeeded. Metallica and Megadeth slowed down and softened, and I have to admit, while not many would agree, that this is Megadeth’s most mature and powerful album to date!
The first two tracks open the album with the complete "Countdown to Extinction" hard-edged style but the true, mellow character of the album quickly shines through. 'Addicted to Chaos' is a very powerful song with strong melody lines that conveys Dave Mustaine’s near-fatal heart attack and miraculous recovery much better than the melodramatic 'A Tout Le Monde'. The riffs in the somewhat heavier 'Killing Road' still have that bite of technicality that Mustaine is famous for, and Friedman’s lead (especially on that song) is stronger than ever! Every time I hear this guy play it’s unbelievable, Dave really hit the jackpot when he hired him.
There are some faults in the songwriting as some of the ballads still sound very amateurish, but that’s only to be expected from the newly reincarnated Dave Mustaine. Near the end of the album we’re treated again with two very uncharacteristic songs: the heavy-as-hell 'Black Curtains', which is basically a faster, darker version of 'Symphony of Destruction', and the fast and thrashy 'Victory'-definitely one of my favorites. Composing the lyrics almost entirely out of previous album and song titles was definitely a fun treat to a long time Megadeth fan like myself, 'Victory' is like a final farewell to the entire Megadeth career and I was not the only one who got the impression that this was going to be Megadeth’s very last album, as most of the members started doing side projects shortly after this. Luckily... I was wrong!
Bottom Line: Euthanasia would have been a bad move, Megadeth are still as strong as ever, though not the way many have grown to like them.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.2 out of 10