When LA thrash metallers Megadeth were good, they were mind-blowingly good, as their biggest-selling album, 1992’s Countdown To Extinction, demonstrates. Nobody wrote apocalyptic metal songs like frontman Dave Mustaine; or, indeed, delivered guitar pyrotechnics like he did, especially when he was firing on all cylinders and untroubled by one of his periodic bouts of addiction.
This album, and the accompanying live CD which bulks it out, showcase Megadeth at their best and most coherent, just before the slow descent which eventually did for them a decade later. The parent album is a masterpiece of technical, melodic thrash, rarely diving into all-out extremity and relying on anthemic choruses and riffs to pull listeners in: classic ’Deth songs such as Skin O’ My Teeth, Symphony Of Destruction and Sweating Bullets all debuted here, and sound scintillating both live and in the studio.
The live album, recorded at San Francisco’s Cow Palace, has, until now, remained unreleased “in its entirety” (in other words, you’ve heard some of it before) and reminds you just how devastating Megadeth were at their first peak, with their second return to form being arguably the period they’re in now.