CD REVIEWS ISSUE 12 Page 3
By Bob Nalbandian
Greatest Hits: Back To The Start
Onto another greatest hits CD, Megadeth and Capitol Records recently released Greatest Hits: Back To The Start to coincide with the re-mastered and remixed Megadeth catalog. The CD features 18 Megadeth classics with a great song selection that includes the bands most popular tracks spanning their Capitol years, from Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good on through Risk. I would have liked to see more songs from the early years included, but then again, this is a greatest hits record. The songs are taken from the re-issued catalog series so they are not only re-mastered but, in many cases, remixed and even re-recorded in certain spots (primarily vocal tracks Dave re-recorded on certain songs). It's safe to say that two or three original Megadeth albums truly suffered from poor production, but the others were brilliantly produced and mixed. So, it didn't really make sense to me for Dave to remix the entire catalog (especially the latter ones which sounded great as is), but needless to say there are some songs that have been enhanced greatly do to the new mix. The tracks I feel that benefit the most from the current mix are from Rust In Peace, Killing Is My Business... and So Far So Good...So What. The original version of the Max Norman produced Rust In Peace album sounds compressed, as if the songs were recorded in a box. The new Mustaine mix on "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18" are brilliant, adding much more depth, giving the music a chance to breathe. This is evident on the extraordinary guitar jam on "Hangar 18," which in my opinion is the greatest duel-lead jam in heavy metal history. I can rewind and listen to this jam over and over again...and believe me, I have. The build-up at the end of that song is phenomenal! And it sounds so much better now that it has a proper mix. The same goes for "In My Darkest Hour" (which includes a pre-medley) and the underground metal classic "The Mechanix." I also prefer the new mix on "She Wolf" (much more raw and not as over-produced as the original version). Although I'm not crazy about the remix of the Peace Sells But Who's Buying? tracks as well as the vocal reverb on "Symphony of Destruction." As far as the others, they pretty much stand the same. Also included here are the riff-raging "Kill The King" and "Dread And The Fugitive Mind" which were not a part of the original Megadeth catalog (and were only previously featured on the Capitol Punishment compilation). All in all, this is a killer compilation and with 18 hit songs featured, you definitely get your money's worth! The limited-edition CD also include a bonus DVD that features a promo video of "Kill The King" (great concept video featuring edits of past Megadeth videos and live footage) as well as seven live tracks taken from the band's '99 tour at the Filmore in Denver. The end of the DVD also features a short trailer entitled The Arsenal Of Megadeth, a film in the making perhaps? Definitely something to look forward to!
A Drug For All Seasons
I've always been a big fan of David Ellefson since I originally met him back in '84 when he first joined Megadeth. I always thought Ellefson was the perfect metal bassist - very low-key, never over-played or over-shadowed the other band members, great stage presence, and he locked in with the band and beat the hell out of his bass. Not to mention he is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I found it shocking when I first heard the news that he parted ways with Megadeth. David stuck it out with that band since the beginning, enduring some of the most hear-wrenching times for any musician to go through (check out Megadeth's VH1 Behind the Music DVD if you don't believe me) yet stayed loyal to 'Deth for twenty years. I am very pleased to see that Mr. Ellefson is back in action with his new outfit F5. A Drug For All Seasons is the band's debut release and it definitely lives up to Ellefson's standard of greatness and his mission of playing heavy yet melodic music. Ellefson secured a great band of musicians to back his musical vision. Vocalist Dale Steele has a powerful voice and has a great sense for heaviness, melody and soul. Drummer John Davis is solid and precise and duel guitarists Steve Conley and John Davis churn out some blazing leads and crunching riffs. The production, courtesy of Ryan Greene is also first-rate. All twelve tracks rock pretty damn hard and are quite memorable, my favorites being "Dissidence," "Dying On The Vine," "X'd out" (dig the line, 'like Paris Hilton you'll be on your knees') the title track, and the somewhat interesting version of Eidie Brickel's "What I Am." It's nice to also see that Ellefson isn't trying to ride on Mustaine's coat-tail, as F5 sound nothing like the mighty 'Deth, but that's not to say that Megadeth fans won't appreciate their music. F5 are a powerful and talented band that definitely know how to rock.
Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 12 Page 4