Review by Dave Palmer

It was inevitable that Megadeth was gonna join the likes of other metal acts in getting their catalog reissued. The difference may be Dave Mustaine's involvement. Dave was the main guy in this project and really did a great job in getting the sound updated. One thing to point out is that in most cases the albums have been dynamically enhanced which really is the main intent of a remaster anyway. There is a good solid punch to each album and in some cases a bit more clarity. I don't really wanna focus this whole review on that because I think most will already be aware of that. There are extra goodies on each disc that I feel may be a better focus, not to mention the excellent liner notes given by Mustaine. Let's dive right in and take a look at each album.

Peace Sells ...But Who's Buying?
This is my favorite Megadeth album of the catalog. I did buy 'Killing is my Business... and Business is Good', but this is the album for obvious reasons that set the hooks in me.. This was also the first time I saw the band live. This is one of the albums that although sounded decent on the original, would definitely benefit from an updated sound. And does it ever. As far as bonus material on this album, you get 4 tracks that were originally mixed by Randy Burns for the bands Combat test pressing. The tracks included are 'Wake Up Dead', 'The Conjuring', 'Peace Sells', and 'Good Mourning/Black Friday'. The songs to me sounded true to what was released in the final pressing although the vocals sounded a bit aired out. Very cool to hear these nonetheless. Megadeth was always a very rhythm oriented band and this album was one of their best in this area.

Favorite Tracks: Wake Up Dead, Peace Sells, The Conjuring, Devils Island, Good Mourning/Black Friday

So Far, So Good... So What!
This album to me was pretty solid although not as solid as 'Peace Sells'. Some of the tracks were just good with the rest being total ass kickers. The album still got plenty of play time in my tape player. The music I generally liked on this album once again was the rhythm oriented stuff. The liner notes were comical in places, especially the part about Paul Lani feeding the deer in his 'bun-huggers'. Typical Mustaine humor if you have followed him through the years. The bonus tracks on this include the Paul Lani mixes of 'Into the Lungs of Hell', 'Set the World Afire', 'Mary Jane', 'In My Darkest Hour'. These tracks were mixed with Dave as well early on and really do pack a punch. They do remain true to the originals, just different people at the mixing board. You have to have a good ear to hear the minor differences that do exist as their are a few there. I noticed it definitely in 'Mary Jane'. There were some things going on there I didn't remember from the final recording. A casual listener may not notice however. Put on a pair of headphones and I think the minor things tend to be more obvious. I do like that mix of 'Mary Jane'.

Favorite Tracks: Into the Lungs of Hell, 502, In My Darkest Hour, Liar, Hook in Mouth

Rust In Peace
This album definitely ranks as my second favorite. This album was really big for the band. From the large production in the videos right down to the songwriting and musicianship. The lineup was probably my favorite of the bands to this point. Basically, the band hit on all cylinders with 'Rust In Peace'. This is another album that recieved a bit of a boost in sound quality. I always found the original good, but not quite great in the sound department. Never took away from my enjoyment of this album though. The bonus material with this particular album includes 1 unreleased track 'My Creation', and 3 demo's in 'Rust in Peace ...Polaris', 'Holy Wars ...The Punishment Due', and 'Take No Prisoners'. All sound good albeit a bit raw which is natural in demo cases. There are slight differences that most may not even notice. 'My Creation' is pretty short and a tad humorous. Kind of a heavy tune.

Favorite Tracks: Holy Wars ...The Punishment Due, Hangar 18, Take No Prisoners, Tornado Of Souls, Dawn Patrol

Countdown To Extinction
This album to me is where the band seemed to embrace a bit of slowdown in intensity. Whether it was due to the rapidly changing scene or not who knows. I'm saying the band sold out either. This album was big for them. With the major hits 'Symphony of Destruction', 'Sweating Bullets', and 'Foreclosure of a Dream', the band seemed to be more of a household name at this point. Their popularity really soared. There are some intense moments and some more subdued one's as well. Some interesting things were done with the mix of this album including a totally different start to 'Sweating Bullets' or the minor change in 'High Speed Dirt'. Looking at the bonus material, we get 4 more tracks with 1 new unreleased studio track and 3 demo's once again. The unreleased studio track is 'Crown of Worms' was written with one of Mustaine's favorite bands Diamond Head. A fairly heavy track that most should find pretty cool. As far as the demo material, definitely raw stuff, but very cool. Every song has a beginning, and these tracks in particular give you an idea of where they were and how they changed. I really like this version of 'Symphony of Destruction'.

Favorite Tracks: Symphony of Destruction, Foreclosure of a Dream, Sweating Bullets, Psychotron

Another favorite of mine. I was really clinging to more traditional metal at this point due to it's demise to grunge a couple of years earlier. Megadeth was one of the few bands that was not phased by the musical climate. They just kept releasing great stuff. It really is amazing to hear some of the stuff that Dave did with the mixes on these albums. Listening to 'Reckoning Day' you can hear added clarity to the mix especially in the drums in the outro of the song. This album was also represented by 'Evolver-The Making of Youthanasia' the video. It was a fun watch and gave us some insight to the recording and what the band went through to get this record to retail. Looking at the bonus material, it's quite good on this disc. There are 3 unreleased tracks and one demo of 'A Tout Le Monde'.Of the unreleased tracks, 'New World Order is my favorite due to the rhythm work in the closing minute of the track. Probably my favorite bonus track to this point. 'Millenium of the Blind' and 'Absolution' are both instrumental. There are some interesting notes on 'Absolution' that refer to a later hit. Do check that out. 'A Tout Le Monde' is definitely raw, but I always liked this track alot and found an appreciation for this early version.

Favorite Tracks: Reckoning Day, Train of Consequences, A Tout Le Monde, Blood of Heroes, Victory, New World Order (bonus track)

Cryptic Writings
I have to be honest. I didn't listen to this album much. Not really sure why as there was some good stuff on it. First off, the cover art was changed and I like the new art better. There is just something about the Megadeth logo on each album and it was missing from the first issue. The color was also changed. This album did spawn some big hits in 'Trust' and 'Almost Honest'. There are some minor changes in tracks like 'The Disentegrators' and 'Have Cool, Will Travel'. It is worth mentioning also that Dann Huff of Giant fame produced this record for the band. Apparently, besides being a great guitar player, he's pretty good at producing as well. The results of this album were astonishing even if the industry was in turmoil. Music in that period of time was downright shitty, but Megadeth released a great effort in this period. I believe at the time I was listening to alot of melodic speed metal from Europe as that scene has been thriving for some time. Looking at the bonus material here, there are 4 more tracks. The first is a Spanish version of the big hit 'Trust'. The song has a large amount of English until the chorus which is sung in Spanish. It is interesting, but I prefer the original. 'Evil That's Within' is the next track. Apparently there was a problem with the lyrics so you get this one as a bonus now. Good song in the Megadeth vein. 'Vortex' is the alternate version with the same problem. 'Bullprick' is the final track and is pretty humorous if you listen to the lyrics. There is an explanation of this tune in the notes.

Favorite Tracks: Trust, Almost Honest, The Disintegrators, A Secret Place, She-Wolf, Vortex, Bullprick (bonus track)

Here is the album that had everyone wondering.  This really wasn't a bad album, just quite a bit misunderstood I think. The songs were definitely more pop oriented than the bands previous releases. I really like some of the changes made to the album on the remaster. I think 'Crush 'Em' sounds better and has more clarity. The new version is more Megadeth in my opinion although the track is very different for the band. This album didn't get alot of play time when I originally bought it, but listening to it with these reviews, I found myself interested in it once again. The style of the album was different than anything the band had done to this point with some of it being laid back, some of it with a bit of fuzz, etc. The fans didn't know what the heck to think. Kind of a shame too. I think Dave has breathed some new life back into it with his input being put back in with the reissue. I personally felt the album was enhanced by this upgrade it was given. Not that the songs are all revamped and sound different. Just some of the elements that weren't Megadeth were minimized. The bonus material consists of 3 tracks. You get the Jeff Balding mix of 'Insomnia' which is a bit different take on the song. The next track is 'Breadline' which is the mix by Jack Joseph Puig.  The final track is better not heard. It is the jock mix of 'Crush 'Em' which is pretty terrible. Never thought I would hear techno anything when it came to Megadeth. Thats okay because apparently Dave Hated it too.

Favorite Tracks: Insomnia, Crush 'Em, Breadline, I'll Be There, Time: The End

MD.45 - The Craving
You know, I never liked the original version of this album. I have to be honest. I never warmed to Ving's vocals on this one. So how do you fix that problem? Yep, thats right...have Dave Mustaine redo the vocals with him at the helm. Wow, what a difference that made. Lee Ving definitely has made his mark with the punk band Fear, but it just didn't quite sound right. I actually found enjoyment with this album that I had not heard before. Now I know this is not an official Megadeth reissue but it did come out with the remasters so we wanna talk about it. Listening to the old versus the new version you get the feel of a Megadeth record. Dave Mustaine has one of the most unique voices in metal so it comes off sounding that way obviously. The remaster is good to. Has a more dynamic kick to it. I feel it is important to mention that if you haven't heard MD.45, it is definitely not Megadeth. Writing this album with Lee Ving, the result was a punk oriented outing. It just sounds closer to Megadeth due to Dave's new vocals. The fans asked for this and Dave gave them what they wanted. There are 3 tracks on this album as far as bonus material goes. The first is titled 'Chutney' and is sung by Mustaine as far as I know. It really doesn't have much in the way of lyrics, but there is some singing going on. Kind of a crucnchy number. The second is and instrumental titled 'Segue'. This track has a groove to it. Definitely sounds nothing like what Megadeth would do. Kinda short too. The final is a demo of 'The Creed' which was recorded with the 'Countdown' lineup of Megadeth. Sounds quite a bit different than the version that ended up on the MD.45 disc.

Favorite Tracks: Hell's Motel, Designer Behavior, The Creed, Voices, No Pain

Final Thoughts:
If you wanna see how much work was done to these albums, listen to each album side by side. Do it track by track. Dave did an amazing job on these of getting the sound updated. It amazed me at how he was able to further enhance the newer albums that people may have though were just fine as they were. The bonus material was a nice addition to each disc. Giving you even more stuff than you may have thought existed is never a bad thing. So would I recommend to you to buy these if you already have the catalog. I would say yes. I think there is enough of a difference and with the bonus material, liner notes, and extra band photos, it tends to be a pretty nice package. It is icing on the cake when a band member is there twisting the knobs too. After all there is only a few people who can realize the vision the way it was meant to be...the band and no one else! Very nice job!

For More Info: Megadeth Official Website

Questions or Comments? Email Dave by clicking here.