Capitol, 1994

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It is impossible to even try and separate Megadeth from Metallica. So, when both bands turned to a more commercial bend to their music in the early ’90s, it is a bit intriguing to see how each band handled their own growth.

Youthanasia, the 1994 offering (and sixth overall) from Dave Mustaine and crew, saw the band learn the lessons from their previous outing Countdown To Extinction, and corrected the few mistakes they made on that disc. Where Metallica began a trip off the deep end with Load two years later, Megadeth released a surprisingly tight album that dares to rival Rust In Peace as their best album to this point in their career—yet it remains a bit of a misunderstood album among fans.

If you go into this disc expecting to hear the thrash metal that first put Mustaine and crew on the map, you’re going to walk away disappointed. But that doesn’t mean the 12 songs on this disc are by any means lightweight. There is a healthy amount of metal attitude in the bulk of these numbers to suggest that not only had Megadeth gotten comfortable with this style, they were kicking ass writing and performing songs in this vein.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The one-two opening punch of “Reckoning Day” and “Train Of Consequences” is ample proof of this. Mustaine has never sounded in better voice, nor has the twin guitar attack of Mustaine and Marty Friedman. And with the core lineup of bassist David Ellefson and drummer Nick Menza returning for their third album as a unit, all cylinders were firing perfectly.

Perhaps the best move Megadeth makes on Youthanasia is that they purposely move away from trying to write a hit single, and just let the music do the talking for them. By doing so, they freed themselves up to write the best music for their current style—and by God, it works.

From the hookiness of “Elysian Fields” and “Family Tree” to the solid rockers “Blood Of Heroes” and “Addicted To Chaos,” Megadeth prove that speed isn’t necessarily the key to power, but rather solid songwriting and performances. In that regard, it could be argued that Megadeth actually surpassed Metallica at this stage in their respective careers.

Even a pseudo-ballad, “A Tout Le Monde,” is handled well by Mustaine and crew, proving that even a gentler side to Megadeth can be just as powerful as a song played at 100 miles an hour.

The only mis-step made by Megadeth is on the closing track, “Victory.” Essentially a summary of Megadeth’s career to this point in time, one has to wonder did we really need a song where, through the quoting of other song titles and lyrics, Mustaine and crew spent four and a half minutes patting themselves on the back. Still, it’s one small slip on an otherwise solid album.

Fans seem to be polarized in regards to Youthanasia, and this is very much an album that is awaiting rediscovery by fans and critics alike. If and when they do dust this one off and give it a critical listen, they’ll quickly recognize just how good of an album it was—and still is. Youthanasia deserves to be put on the same shelf as Rust In Peace, and serves as proof that Megadeth hadn’t lost a step over the course of 10 years.

Rating: A-

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