What can you say about Megadeth that has not already been said? The band's career path defined by its frontman Dave Mustaine and thier sound defined by his immense talent and genius. Dave has been through his own trials and tribulations over the years, all well documented, but through it he has grown as a musician and a man and the band Megadeth we have today is a refined product having learnt with every up and down.
Thirty-five years on from their formation Dave has curated a three compact disc set of tunes, all handpicked from the Megadeth back catalogue to celebrate the milestone. Warheads on Foreheads is the ultimate greatest hits package for the ultimate thrash metal band.
Starting with the artwork, the thought that has gone into it is astounding. Band mascot, Vic Rattlehead, sits atop the nose of a fighter jet riding it like a bucking bronco, whilst the wings are stocked to the gills with missiles and bombs. This compilation has one mission - to destroy you!
Dave has curated the track listing in date order, so we start off with "Killing is my Business" era tracks,
'Rattlehead' and 'Killing Is My Business' show the original sound Dave formulated for the band, driven by his anger at departing Metallica and his desire to show the world he was better than all else. Also featured is 'Mechanix' originally written by Dave in his Metallica days and reused and retitled by them later on. The Megadeth version is faster, louder and features more meaningful hard hitting lyrics, the ultimate in thrash metal.
Disc one of Warheads... continues through the "Peace Sells" era featuring the dark and menacing 'The Conjuring', 'Wake Up Dead' and 'Devils Island'. It must have been hard curating this and Dave had some tough choices to make, leaving out the Peace Sells title track is a hard decision to make but ultimately it missed the cut. The first disc of the compilation is rounded out with a couple of tracks from "So Far, So Good" and then the ultimate finale in 'Holy Wars' a now thrash classic from 1990's "Rust in Peace"
Disc two starts with five further tracks from the "Rust In Peace" era, a testament to the standing the album still has to this day. It was an easily accessible thrash album that many a young metalhead, including myself, used as a gateway to the band. 'Hanger 18', 'Tornado of Souls', 'Rust in Peace', 'Five Magics' and 'Take No Prisoners' all feature.
Grammy Nominated 'Angry Again' from the Last Action hero sound track also makes an appearance. As the curation from Dave turns to Countdown to Extinction and Youthenasia, 'Sweating Bullets' 'Train of Consequences' and ' A Tout Le Monde' all making the cut.
The third disc in the set concentrates on the latter part of their career, 1997 through to present day and
spanning nine full length albums. Why Dave chose to condense the latter half of the bands career to just one disc is a question you'd have to direct at the man yourself. But for those of you who maybe drifted away from the band through recent releases, this disc provides the perfect in road into latter day Megadeth.
'Trust' and 'She-wolf' kick off disc three from 97's Cryptic Writings album. Whilst 'Wanderlust' is the only nod to 99's Risk, and album which at the time received mixed critical response but ultimatly had this track as an excellent highlight. Through the first six albums released since the millennium, Dave choses just one song off each to feature in this set. All stand outs in their own right, but potentially showing Dave's preference to his earlier writing material than to the later day songs.
It's the bands most recent release, Dystopia, that features heavily on disc three with four tracks closing out Warheads on Foreheads. That album was seen by many a critic as the bands return to form, an outstand modern day classic. 'The Threat is Real' driving home Dave's song writing ability whilst 'Dystopia' itself closing out leaves a mark on the listener.
Megadeth have had an outstanding career, given the metal world a myriad of magic thrashy songs and this compilation shows just how they've made their mark on the industry. Megadeth are here for the long haul, this release reminds you of that and leaves you wondering what they will give us next.