Saturday, 2 April 2011

CD Review: Youthanasia, by Megadeth (1994)

Megadeth slow down the pace, scrub off their manic edge, aim for a higher quality average and more consistent songwriting, and tackle weighty issues. As a result Youthanasia is a mature album that yields dependable results rather than stunning peaks and disastrous valleys.

With Dave Mustaine turning his life around (God receives the first Special Thanks in the CD booklet) and making the decision that a longer career (and a longer life) will require some evolution, Youthanasia is a clear attempt at finding a new sound for Megadeth. Completely gone are the out-of-control guitar solos, crazed but incoherent song segments, and break-neck speed. Instead, mid-pace melodies dominate, harmonies are woven in at every opportunity, and the songwriting is complex and sometimes intricate. All the vocals are articulate, and the lyrics examine dense topics including the meaning of life, the consequences of actions, death, and incest.

What is lost is that killer track that causes the world to stop and gasp. Youthanasia achieves a lot of small victories, but no massive triumph.

The excellent tracks include Addicted To Chaos, with Nick Menza's exuberant drum introducing a sure-footed melody; The Killing Road, driven by a more straightforward riff, and the grandiose Blood Of Heroes, celebrating Megadeth's survival with the most ambitious and most satisfying song structure on the album. But Mustaine has the most celebratory fun with closer Victory, cramming 23 Megadeth song titles into the lyrics while the fastest but also most soulful melody on the album chugs away.

Youthanasia has a solid metal core, but none of the nuggets cause a magnificent sparkle.


Dave Mustaine - Guitar, Vocals
Marty Friedman - Guitar
Nick Menza - Drums
David Ellefson - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Reckoning Day - 7
2. Train Of Consequences - 7
3. Addicted To Chaos - 9
4. A Tout Le Monde - 8
5. Elysian Fields - 8
6. The Killing Road - 9
7. Blood Of Heroes - 9
8. Family Tree - 8
9. Youthanasia - 6
10. I Thought I Knew It All - 8
11. Black Curtains - 6
12. Victory - 9

Average: 7.83

Produced and Mixed by Max Norman and Dave Mustaine.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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