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Megadeth
Warchest (box set)
Capitol Records
www.megadeth.com


At a retail cost of $65, Warchest is probably only for hardcore Megadeth fans, and in that regard, I say up front that it's totally worth it. I only had the sampler version of the box set for review, which is missing many of the tracks I would've liked to hear, but a perusal of the track listing on Amazon has given me a basic idea of what's contained herein. But first, the bitching: Notably absent are "99 Ways to Die" from the Beavis & Butthead Experience, which was a mostly average track but would've been nice to see on here since it wasn't from a Megadeth studio album, and their vicious cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots." For those who don't know, this song is no longer allowed because Sinatra took affront to the savage re-imagining of her ONLY song worth mentioning by Dave Mustaine & Co. So here it is, my callout to her:

Seriously Nancy, shut the fuck up. Take your goddamn royalties and stop pretending like anyone cares about you and your pathetic living-in-daddy's-shadow complex.

Now, for the good stuff: 6 of the 9 tracks from Rust In Peace are contained in this set, which is good news to most fans, since that seems to be their overwhelmingly favorite album. I say most, because I personally didn't care for it; I thought most of the album sounded the same from start to finish, and consisted of lots of wanking. I prefer the out-of-control Megadeth albums where Mustaine is so strung out that his slurred vocals are nearly incomprehensible, or he's in such a foul and depressed mood that it affects the entire album. That means I like Killing Is My Business…, So Far, So Good, So What? and uh… okay, Youthanasia basically sucked, but I think he found religion around that time which ruined everything. For me, Countdown To Extinction is probably their most accomplished album, and Cryptic Writings was an excellent foray into what might best be called "pop-thrash." Ha, I kinda like that phrase… although, now that I think about it, albums 1, 3, 5, and 7 are my favorites, which I guess makes me… Wait for it… The odd man out. (insert collective groan)

Ugh. Sorry about that.

Other tracks (beyond the perfunctory, yet necessary studio ones) I enjoyed seeing were "Angry Again" from the Last Action Hero Soundtrack and the cover of "Paranoid" from the NIB Black Sabbath tribute album. I particularly like the mellow and restrained tone of "Angry Again" that belies the seething rage contained with the subject character. The hyper, frenetic angst that Megadeth applied to "Paranoid" made it one of the critical faves of NIB and I'm glad it's been spread around to yet another compilation. (I hope they still have the ending where Mustaine has to yell at Nick Menza to stop drumming after the song has ended.) I wish I could comment on the post-Cryptic tracks, but since I haven't actually purchased music on my own since delving deep into the music writing gig, my knowledge of their subsequent catalog is lacking. Similarly, I have no way to evaluate the DVD, which makes me think that Capitol Records believes that music writers don't actually listen to their promo crap before writing about it anyway. Either that, or they're terrified we're going to file-share it to death, something I think is a little unfounded when promoting a box set. Most of this stuff is already available through file-sharing anyway, and the whole point of a box set is to have that collectible "thing" sitting on your shelf, with the nice case and booklet and other fan stuff. To me, ripping a box set is kind of pointless, since the very thing is one part status-symbol and one part uber-fan support.

But, I'm a cheap bastard now that music is freely thrown at me, and while I would love to have such a thing, I can't make myself plop down the necessary scratch for it. So please, Capitol, c'mon, don't make me beg for it.

-JD


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Mike Doughty



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