Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Megadeth
Album : Countdown To Extinction
Released : July 14, 1992
M.M. Album Rating : 4.5/5 (The “Mainstream” Record.)
It’s obvious that throughout his career that no matter how much he denies it, Dave Mustaine seems to look in many ways to his former band Metallica for directions on where to take his own music. Even with the way he treats his bandmates (or employees depending on how you look at it). Though he has been very vocal about the way he was fired from Metallica, and his feeling of betrayal that didn’t stop him from firing past members Gar Samuelson, Chris Poland, Chuck Behler, and Jeff Young for, in some cases much more trivial reasons. The same thing can be said of his music. In 1991 Metallica goes mainstream with the very successful Black Album, so Dave after recording one of the greatest Metal albums of all time “Rust In Peace” over two years earlier also decided instead of following the killer path of that record to go for a much mainstream sound.
The good news was that the now most successful lineup of the band was returning to make the new record. Mustaine, Friedman, Ellefson, and Menza would all contribute to the songwriting, making it almost feel like a real band for awhile (history proves that wasn’t the case) all pointing to Metallica’s Black Album for inspiration, and also acceptance that it was okay to polish the sound. One of the mistakes the band would make through would be recording the record in Burbank, California. The reason this would become a problem was because of the Riots caused by the 1992 Rodney King verdict which put a 6pm curfew on the city. Many times the band would be in the creative zone, and have to stop dead in their tracks to go home. Obviously that didn’t help the overall chemistry of the record.
That being said though, in many ways the band, and Dave especially was still in the creative zone from Rust In Peace, which helped them through the difficulties they were facing. In the end they definitely would accomplish their goal. The record would become nowhere near as successful as The Black Album did, but would debut at number two on the billboard charts, and introduce them to a whole new audience that had never heard their music before. Songs like “Symphony Of Destruction, and “Sweating Bullets” would get a ton of airplay, keeping the album a huge seller all through 1992.
As the years have past it does seem like Extinction has aged somewhat better overall than The Black Album among metal fans. And although it’s not the classic record Dave now promotes it to be, it’s an excellent piece of work from a band taking a chance to expand their fanbase. Is it selling out ? Yes, but then again it’s understandable too. Dave was trying to keep up with Metallica not just artistically , but also commercially. In that sense you have to call this record what it is. A very good (not classic like Peace Sells, or Rust In Peace) record of a band following a trend, not breaking new ground like they had just two years before.
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
10. Captive Honour
11. Ashes In Your Mouth