As someone who’s been a MEGADETH fan for the better part of 15 years, I’ve long been wary of the dubious nature of many of this band’s compilation releases. This one is, by far, the most dubious of the lot, essentially functioning as an ironically titled get out of jail free card for a band that spent 14 years with the same record label. That’s really the only purpose that this thing severed, aside from being a promotional release for “The World Needs A Hero”, the band’s return to the Metal world after a couple of years in a Modern Rock hiatus, and perhaps as a place for the homeless opening track “Kill The King”, at least until 2005 when the better compilation “Back To The Start” came out.
The important thing to note is that this is a promotional compilation guising as a best of, because you don’t have a best of compilation when you start off with two new songs and essentially throw in a miniscule collection of radio hits in backwards chronological order without any accounting for pacing or stylistic contrast. For those who have already heard MEGADETH’s entire discography, the abrupt change in feel that occurs between “Trust” and “A Tout Le Monde” is a surreal reminder of the band’s confusion during the mid 90s, let alone the massive jolt that occurs between “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Hangar 18”. All things considered, if you know most of these songs, or even if you don’t, listening to this straight through is not advised.
Naturally many of the songs on here are obligatory classics, while much of the rest is solid, but having an entire album set up without any thought of what it would sound like when played through defeats the purpose of a compilation. Granted, in this age of ripped playlists, CD compilations are obsolete minus as a dumping place for unreleased rarities, which is what they’ve become. But considering this came out a good 9 years ago, before buying individual songs online became truly widespread, there’s no excuse for this. Throwing together a bunch of songs that happened to be audience and radio favorites happens, but at least format it in a way so that it doesn’t sound like it’s on random play.
And as if the bad track ordering wasn’t enough, before the whole thing withers away and dies we are treated to a trippy medley of MEGADETH classics, put together to form a random, jagged collage of sound that I don’t care to listen to again. Random art might be a fancy for some, but anyone who thought that “Risk” had too much quirky sound effects and production gimmicks; this makes that entire album sound like DANZIG’s debut. But for all of you who love old MEGADETH but scrambled your brains a bit too much head banging to “Peace Sells”, which would probably explain why you might have bought this at full price when it came out, this translates into “this is pointless, don’t spend money on it”.
That’s basically the best advice I can give for anyone toying with buying this for the sake of having a good listening experience. Maybe if you can find it for under $2 at a flee market bargain shop the way I did it might be worth it for “Kill The King”, which is a pretty solid song in the slower “Youthanasia” style. This now has a bright future of picking up dust while sitting in on my shelf between my heavily dust covered copy of “Risk” and my moderately dusty copy of “The World Needs A Hero”, a fitting fate for a compilation that was probably put together over a weekend yet might have made Capitol Records more money than “Risk” did.
(Online April 12, 2009)