Formed and pretty much run by ex-Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine, Megadeth has always been a household name among metal die-hards and casual listeners alike. Though the band has had ups and downs, they have always been hailed as the most consistent of the Big Four. To celebrate the upcoming album and rumored 2016 tour with Suicidal Tendencies we have decided to make this current installment of Alternative Nation’s “Ranked Up” series on Megadeth.
Super Collider (2013)
After an awkward commercial rock phase, Megadeth started coming back strong with albums such as The System has Failed and Endgame. Somehow it led to this. Here Megadeth combine elements of post-grunge and glam metal. Funny considering Dave Mustaine always called glam “Gay Los Angelos Metal”. Some tracks, such as “Burn“, start out with good intros, but then turn for the worst within seconds. Even the most open-minded fans will have a hard time finding merits to this train-wreck.
Risk is one of the most infamous releases from the Big Four and Megadeth’s second most infamous album. Like the title implies the album was a big risk for the band as it was a pretty experimental release. The song “Crush’Em” sounds like an attempt at industrial, “Breadline” sounds like something 3 Doors Down would make while, “Insomnia” sounds like a failed attempt at atmosphere. The closest this album has to a good song is “Prince of Darkness“, which starts out decent but goes downhill fast. Fans blamed the contemporary nu-metal trend for this album, but Dave Ellefson claimed Risk was a reaction against it.
2011 was a strange year for metal albums; many bands released albums of unbelievably bad quality, such as Morbid Angel’s llud Divinium Insanus and Metallica and Lou Reed’s Lulu. While those albums were weird experiments gone wrong, Th1rteen is the exact opposite, pretty much being Megadeth by numbers. The album is just filled with generic song writing and recycled riffs, making it completely forgettable.
The World Needs a Hero (2001)
After the negative reactions to Risk, Megadeth decided to go back to their roots. Guitarist Marty Friedman would leave the band, move to Japan, release a J-pop album (not making this up) and be replaced by Al Pitrelli. While the album was a return to form, it was very bland and forgettable. Some tracks, such as “Promises” sound like they could have come from Risk.
Cryptic Writings (1997)
Continuing the path of their previous album, Cryptic Writings is more of a rock release then a thrash one. The album sold very well even getting it a platinum status and the song “Trust” still appears in the band’s set lists. However musically, Cryptic Writings is only okay and sort of was an omen of what was to come next.
After Countdown to Extinction gave the band more mainstream attention, their next album, Youthanasia gave them a more mainstream sound. This album is most known for the hit song “Train of Consequences” and the ballad ‘A Tout le Monde“. While far from their best release, Youthanasia is still an alright record.
Countdown to Extinction (1992)
By 1992 most of the 80’s thrash bands were putting out embarrassing albums, but Megadeth showed the world they still had it. The album is most known for the singles “Skin O My Teeth“,”Sweating Bullets“, and “Symphony of Destruction“. The deep cuts on this album are cool to especially “Psychotron” and “High Speed Dirt“.
So Far So Good… So What! (1988)
Megadeth’s third album is also their most underrated. Originally panned for its bad production and “Anarchy in the U.K.” cover, this release is usually considered to one of the band’s worst. However, if one gives the album a chance they shall find some great tracks such as “Liar” and “In My Darkest Hour”.
The System Has Failed (2004)
After ten years of okay to bad albums, Megadeth finally gave fans the comeback they had been waiting for. Guitarist Chris Poland who played on the band’s first two albums came back and gave this record an old school Megadeth feel. This was also the first album not to feature long time member Dave Ellefson who would not return till 2010. While the album has some cheesy tracks like “Of Mice and Men” it also has plenty great ones such as “Black Mail the Universe” and “Die Dead Enough“.
United Abominations (2007)
In 2004 the band showed they were coming back strong. Three years later they show it even more with United Abominations. Chris Poland was swapped out for Glen Drover and his brother Shawn Drover joined on drums. Some of the best tracks from this album include “A Call to Arms”, “Washington is next” and the Japanese bonus track “Black Swan“.
Continuing the path the band was on in the 2000’s, Endgame is the best post-Rust in Peace album. Glen Dover was replaced by Chris Broderick who brought with him amazing guitar work. This album is filled with awesome energy and technicality. Tracks like “This Day We Fight” and “Headcrusher” showed the world that Megadeth were still at the top of their game. Sadly this moment didn’t last forever…
Killing is Business… and Business is Good (1985)
Megadeth’s debut is still one of their best. Self produced by the original line up of Dave Mustaine on guitar and vocals, Chris Poland on guitar, Dave Ellefson on bass and Gar Samuelson on drums, this debut is their rawest effort to date. Some of this album’s gems include “Rattlehead“, “The Mechanix” and the cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots“.
Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying (1986)
Containing the same exact line up as Killing is Business, Peace Sells is the band’s breakthrough album. The band got signed to Capitol Records and the production values went up. This is also the first Megadeth album to have politically charged lyrics something that would become a stable of the band, though also had songs with satanic lyrics such as “The Conjuring“. Other great tracks include “Peace Sells“, “Wake up Dead” and “Devil’s Island“.
Rust In Peace (1990)
Megadeth’s best album is also one of the best metal albums of all time. Added to the band was guitar master Marty Friedman who would stay with the band throughout the 90’s. Marty’s technical guitar playing brought some of the best riffs and solos ever created to the table. “Holy Wars“, “Tornado of Souls“, “Hangar 18“, “and “Poison was the Cure” and just about every track on this album is a classic. The band would celebrate this album with a tour that consisted of them Slayer, Anthrax and Alice in Chains. In 2010 the band would do an anniversary tour for the same album with Slayer and rotating openers Anthrax and Testament.