* - Asterisk means I already had a good mp3 copy of this album, but threw up a few words anyway in the name of having an internet-based chronicle of all my legally-purchased, store-bought music
Killing is My Business... And Business is Good! (1985, Combat) - Megadeth was born out of Dave Mustaine's desire to throw down and humiliate James and Lars, and while he pretty much failed miserably toward that end, they still managed to spit some GOD DANG HOT FIRE for a few years. I like how it displays all the symptoms of a First Thrash Metal Album, where the production sucks (I mean, it really sucks here) and they're just going blazingly fast for speed's sake, but it's also manages to show how Megadeth was the most WE ARE SERIOUS MUSICIANS band of The Big Four. I guess to fully categorize those groups by their classic output, Megadeth was the Serious Musician band, Slayer was the Shocking and Evil band, Anthrax was the Fun band, and I guess Metallica was kind of like the Baby Bear's Porridge "just right" mix of just enough of all of the above to get the full effect without turning off the normals. Anyway, my Cd copy of this is the False version that doesn't have the weird cover of "These Boots," which isn't much of a loss, honestly.
Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (1986, Capitol) - I have been able to do very few impressions over my lifetime, and in addition to Homer Simpson, (an ability that left me once my voice changed) The Undertaker, (somewhat inexplicably was the same situation as Homer) Paul Bearer, Phillip Anselmo, ("it wwwas a mmmeellldiinnng") and Dave Mustaine when he's in his weird sing-talking mode. The secret is to say everything through gritted teeth, because that's how he does it. For many years, "Whattaya MEAN I ain't kind?" from the title track here was one of my staple lines, along with "HELLO ME, IT'S ME AGAIN," and it was terrible, because I was the only Megadeth fan I knew, so no one knew what the hell I was going on about. It's why I didn't get into any of the good schools.
So Far, So Good... So What! (1988, Capitol) - This album is so weird. On the surface, nearly everything about it is bad. The production is godawful, like it was recorded inside a gigantic PVC pipe. It's the awkward lineup of the band between the classic Poland/Samuelson and Friedman/Menza lineups, with Jeff Young and Chuck Behler as the Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay of early Megadeth. And on the best song on here, (the cover of "Anarchy in the U.K.") he gets the damn words wrong - It's "passerby," not "possibly." Yet despite all this, this album rules, and the album cover rules, and I wanted a t-shirt of it so bad forever, and just never got it, and I'm really thinking about it now, dang.
Rust in Peace (1990, Capitol) - OHHHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT. Like I don't think I could ever straighten out my thoughts enough to put together any sort of "best of all time" list for any of the applicable genres, but this would have to at least receive consideration for #1, even if it did end up falling just short of something by 1980s Metallica, because Dave Mustaine shall forever remain heavy metal's heroin-addled, Christian conservative Charlie Brown, always getting the football jerked away by Metallica-Lucy. But everything about this is perfect and amazing, just four dudes who absolutely could not be stopped who just WENT FOR IT. Rust in Peace was like Michael Jordan just cruising up to an elementary school playground and dunking all over all the children until they died. It... Is ridiculous.
Countdown to Extinction (1992, Capitol) - This is probably the absolute peak of that weird sort of post-thrash movement of the early 90s, where bands had been comfortable off of major label life long enough to just chill out a little and lean a little more toward rocking than purely thrashing. Again, grunge took off almost immediately after this became a thing, so all these bands were hurled screaming back to Metal Blade or Sanctuary or wherever, but in a weird sort of way, it's a good thing. Not good in the sense that dudes who had put the down payment on a swimming pool were back to having to raise a family on normal civilian wages, but good owing to how a band's post-thrash phase usually meant one really good (or at least pleasantly decent) record, followed by varying degrees of decline. I think this is all just an extremely roundabout way of saying that Megadeth really started to fall off after this one, but that this is still excellent, and the early 90s Rust/Countdown/Youthanasia period was the one time in history when Megadeth had utterly eclipsed Metallica, at least at a point when both bands still mattered.
Youthanasia (1994, Capitol) - I remember when this came out, they did some really weird deal where it was released at midnight on Halloween, and I guess they were expecting people to line up around the block, but 1994 Megadeth was just not a big enough act to pull that off. Where I lived, nothing ever stayed open that late except Taco Bell and Walmart, and they weren't going to make people come in and unlock the mall to open one store so that maybe twenty people could buy a CD. I think even Dave said the whole thing was stupid later. Anyway, the only place to buy CDs that weren't just like Phil Collins or Garth Brooks was the Camelot Music at the Greenville Mall, maybe a half an hour drive away, and after school and various other obligations, I think we just barely made it in time for my brother to get a copy the next day, like I think that steel curtain thing was already halfway down and people were vacuuming and shit. Anyway, this is why Amazon exists now.
Hidden Treasures (1995, Capitol) - The heavy metal based motion picture soundtrack is something that's been lost to the culture, and I think that's a big part of why metal hasn't been a thing that regular folks have been into for a while. How many people never would've gotten into this nonsense if it hadn't been for all those 80s slasher movies, or say, "go to Hell" being featured in the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack? Hollywood needs to re-embrace rockin' guitars behind its gratuitous sex and violence instead of this orchestral nonsense for the sake of the youth. Anyway, Megadeth and Anthrax were kind of tied as the undisputed god-kings of stuff like that, and soundtrack songs make up the vast majority of this, and it's great and amazing, except for that damn "Diadems" song. I just wish Anthrax would finally make their own version of this, although it would probably have to be a boxed set by now.
Cryptic Writings (1997, Capitol) - And here we go, that steady decline I mentioned earlier. I know I keep mentioning Metallica throughout this thing, but this was an insanely blatant attempt at making Megadeth's Black Album only a scant six years after the original version. "Trust" is an almost note-for-note copy of "Enter Sandman," to the extent that I'm legit shocked that there was never a lawsuit, and the whole thing is riddled otherwise by "ohhh, that is from that one Metallica song" moments, and it's just sad and awful. Also, the decision to remove Vic Rattlehead and the actual Megadeth logo from the cover would be the worst mistake of art direction that they'd ever make, at least until Twilight Dreamy Hunk Vic debuted on the cover of that godawful United Abominations record. Anyway, I tried really, really hard to enjoy this when it came out, but this album is a turd.
Special Limited Edition - Previously Unavailable in the U.S. single (1997, Capitol/Blockbuster) - Back in the day, I had this deal with my brother, where I would record Extreme Championship Wrestling off the shitty local bootleg channel, then once a 6-hour tape was full, I'd mail it to him in exchange for money or merchandise, so that he and his stoned friends could enjoy the magic of The Eliminators beating up various members of the Dudley family. Anyway, Oklahoma had Blockbuster Music stores and Mississippi didn't, (lol) so I got my brother to get the exclusive version of Cryptic Writings for me that came with this as a bonus CD in exchange for a couple Barely Legal-era ECW tapes. At the time, Metallica was dying, I didn't know how shitty Cryptic Writings would be yet, I was convinced that they'd become the new A-Number-One of the Big Four, (When it had really always been Anthrax the whole time, you guys) and live Megadeth stuff was bizarrely hard to find. Anyway, this is just live versions of "Tornado of Souls" and "A Tout Le Monde," and I probably should have just kept those ECW tapes, but the "it's time to play Name That Tune, let's see if you recognize this one" Dave Mustaine pre-song banter got a lot of mileage for me on various mixed tapes.
The World Needs a Hero (2001, Sanctuary) - Oh boy, here we go. This was part of that endless death spiral of Megadeth's "BIG COMEBACK!" albums, where this was the big comeback from Risk, The System Has Failed was a big comeback from this, United Abominations was a big comeback from The System Has Failed, and one of the more recent ones, like 13 or whatever, was a big comeback from that hilarious Super Collider album. Anyway, this album is a godawful shitburger, and I'm pissed off that I bought it. Especially because that Capitol Punishment greatest hits CD had two new songs, and between the two, "Kill the King" was pretty much officially the last good thing Megadeth will ever do, but "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" is just Megadeth shittily covering their own song, "Sweating Bullets." And of course, the bad one is the one that made it on to a studio album. Shit. Also, "When" is another lawsuit-worthy ripoff, this time of "Am I Evil" by Diamond Head, which y'all may be more familiar with as a song by... some other band. Ugh, fuck this CD so much.
Killing is My Business... And Business is Good! (2002, Loud Records - remixed & remastered) -Dave Mustaine spent the early 2000s doing big remix/remaster jobs on the first eight albums, regardless of whether or not they actually needed it. The good news here is that the original Killing is My Business sounded as good as dog shit probably tastes, and it's probably blasphemous to say this, but this is insanely better than the 1985 version. You can actually tell what's going on now, which is pretty important when your whole thing is having two guitar shredders and a jazz drummer. The bonus material here is a few demos, which are always cool to have, and almost make up for the guy who wrote the song legally forcing them to bleep out all the cusses on "These Boots."
Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (2004, Capitol - remixed & remastered) - Thing here is, the original "Peace Sells" probably didn't have the most pristine and perfect sound, but it was good enough. So what we have here is an album that's had the bass turned up a little (good), the snare drums resampled as this weird, dainty little tapping sound, (terrible) and the volume has been cranked up until it's a brick wall of shit. Stupid. The extra bonus stuff here consists of four songs from the original Randy Burns mix that they didn't use in 1986. And it's super awkward, because it's not as good as the Paul Lani version from the original release, but it still sounds way better than the 2004 Dave Mustaine mix. They should've just remixed Killing is My Business and So Far So Good So What and called it good, but I guess Dave needed a new boat or something.
So Far, So Good.... So What! (2004, Capitol - remixed & remastered) - Hey! It's the other one that actually needed a new mix! And by god, it no longer sounds like it was literally recorded in a sewer! And it's weird, because all of these Megadeth remix/remasters sound awful for the most part, but the only two that arguably needed it don't have a lot of the same problems. There's no weird overdubs, no sad little ineffectual snare drum pitter-pattering, and I might be crazy, but it seems like neither this nor the Killing is My Business one are quite as loud as the others. This all leads me to conspiratorially theorize that Dave knew that most of these re-releases were unnecessary nonsense, so he screwed up the mix on purpose. But I dunno, he seems like a dude who's too much of a perfectionist/egotist to screw things up for any reasons besides accidental ones. I dunno, the theory needs work. Anyway, bonus material is along the same lines as the Peace Sells stuff; four songs from the original Paul Lani mix that was somehow actually worse than what ended up on the original record.
Rust in Peace (2004, Capitol - remixed & remastered) - The thing with the Peace Sells remix was that it the original mix wasn't really bad enough to warrant attempting to fix. The thing with all the ones from this point up to Youthanasia is that they were all put together pretty much exactly as well as they could have been, and had absolutely no need to be fucked with. (Cryptic Writings probably could have used all the help it could get from any direction, and the best thing they could have done to fix Risk was to just burn all the masters and bury them on consecrated ground) This album was pretty much absolute perfection to begin with, and this really gives me the feeling that Dave was just pissed off that someone other than him could get any credit for it, and had to go back and put his own personal touches onto it. So we get the same brickwalled, anti-snare approach here, with absolutely shitty vocal tracks added to "Take No Prisoners" that ruin the song utterly. This fucking sucks, dude. Bonus crap is a terrible unreleased song that should've stayed buried, plus three demos that sound way better than the versions presented on this CD. Ugh, Jesus.
Countdown to Extinction (2004, Capitol - remixed & remastered) - A lot of the same complaints with the Rust in Peace CD repeat here, but a few little things made this Cd almost cool: First, there's an added guitar intro to "Sweating Bullets" that shouldn't have been cut from the original version, and it makes me want to go into Audacity and cut and paste it on the front of the original 1992 mix. Second, "Crown of Worms," which was a b-side or something originally, is on here, and I'm fairly certain that this is the original mix. I guess since most people couldn't find it on CD to begin with, Dave made the right call of not screwing with a pretty decent song most people had never heard. Sure, it's a blatant ripoff of Diamond Head's "The Prince" in part, but I'm pretty sure one of those guys helped write it, so blame him. Finally, three demos get tacked on at the end, and the original arrangement of "Psychotron" is insanely better than the official version. So if this had been a five-song EP, this would've ruled.
Youthanasia (2004, Capitol - remixed & remastered) - Ugh, useless. Completely fucking useless, I hate this CD so much. The remix is bad, and the bonus tracks are all even worse. Ugh, unnecessary cash-in re-releases. A dog, a barrel... Ridiculous.
The System Has Failed (2004, Sanctuary) - Ugh, god damn it, there has never been a valid excuse for me to have ever bought this. I hate to put this kind of evil on someone, but I sometimes kinda wish Dave's dope-shootin' nerve injury had never been healed by the power of The Risen Christ. Does this make me a bad person? Yes, yes it absolutely does. I'm going to hell for this, but if I go to hell, I'MMA GO TO HELL TYPIN' ONLINE, YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO