Track by track: Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction (1992)

Ready for the track-by-track of one of my favourite albums of all time? Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction, the fifth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on July 14, 1992, through Capitol Records. 

1) Skin o’ My Teeth 
The opening track is a fast metal anthem, with Dave Mustaine’s snarling vocals and Marty Friedman’s shredding guitar solos. The lyrics are about surviving a suicide attempt, and the title is a reference to the biblical phrase “escaped by the skin of my teeth”. I love the drums by Nick Menza and Dave's vocals on this one (he sings amazingly in all the tracks, honestly). 95/100

2) Symphony of Destruction 
The second track is one of Megadeth’s most popular and recognizable songs, and a staple of their live shows (check out the live in Buenos Aires!) The lyrics are about the dangers of political corruption and manipulation, and the title is a play on Beethoven’s Symphony No 9. There is also a great remix, sort of industrial version, which I love too. 95/100

3) Architecture of Aggression 
The third track is a dark and heavy song, with a complex and progressive structure. The song features some of the most technical and aggressive guitar work on the album, as well as some of the most political and controversial lyrics. The song is about the history of warfare and violence, and the title is a reference to Saddam Hussein’s military doctrine. I love the chorus and the beginning of the solo. 80/100

4) Foreclosure of a Dream 
The fourth track is a mid-tempo and melodic song, with a catchy chorus and a bluesy guitar solo. The song is one of the most personal and emotional on the album, as it deals with Dave Mustaine’s childhood struggles and his father’s bankruptcy (great vocals again, by the way, I love the verses). The song also criticizes the American government’s policies and their impact on the economy and society. The title is a reference to George H.W. Bush’s campaign slogan “A thousand points of light”. 85/100

5) Sweating Bullets
One of the highlights of the record: is a quirky and humorous song, with a spoken-word style vocal delivery and a funky groove. The song is about Dave Mustaine’s inner conflicts and paranoia, as he portrays different aspects of his personality in a dialogue with himself. “Hello me, it’s me again / You can subdue but never tame me”. If you love Dave's vocals and lyrics, you can get better than this. (Just noticed that in the remastered version, the beginning of the song is different. Dave, why?!?) 100/100

6) This Was My Life
It's an introspective song, with a slow and heavy riff and a soaring chorus. The song is about Dave Mustaine’s regrets and reflections on his past relationships, especially his divorce from his first wife. The song also features some of the most emotional and heartfelt vocals on the album (again, great performance), as well as some of the most melodic guitar solos. You can hear some "Metallica" as well (the ending is exactly "Phantom Lord"). 88/100

7) Countdown to Extinction 
The title track is one of the highlights of the album. The song is a powerful and passionate statement against animal cruelty and environmental destruction, as it depicts the plight of endangered species. "Liars anagram is lairs", sings Dave. Masterpiece. I love the bass by Dave Ellefson on this one. Another "Metallica" part (2.57, Fade to black) 100/100

8) High Speed Dirt 
The eighth track is a fun and energetic song, with a fast and furious tempo and a catchy chorus. The song is about skydiving, one of Dave Mustaine’s hobbies at the time, and it describes the thrill and danger of jumping out of an airplane. Great guitars and a fun song (guitar at 3.35!). 80/100

9) Psychotron 
My least favourite of the album, probably. It's a sci-fi-themed song, with a futuristic and industrial sound. The song is inspired by comic books and movies, especially Judge Dredd, Robocop, Terminator, etc. It's a good song with a good chorus but it struggles a bit with the super high quality of the rest of the album. 70/100

10) Captive Honour
The song is based on Dave Mustaine’s experiences in jail, where he was arrested for driving under influence in 1990, and it explores the themes of crime, punishment, justice, corruption, etc. I love the charade at the beginning of the song (after the melodic intro) "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury...", with Mustaine screaming at the court. You got to love this one. 88/100

11) Ashes in your mouth
The final track is the longest of the album. I love the beginning, very technical and amazingly performed by the band, at its best, musically speaking. I love the chorus as well. A great final track for a great album, the most interesting one in terms of composition, in my opinion (maybe a little too long). I love the solos at 3.42. 87/100 

Overall rating 95/100

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post