This is where Megadeth began to take the "sell out" route. Youthanasia is not a true metal album, and when it first hit shelves, I hated it. Truth is, it's a strong rock album. It's not particularly fast or thrashy, but it contains the kind of riffs that demolish buildings. "Reckoning Day" is one heavy tune, and "Train of Consequences" features a classic palm-mute riff that sounds positively thunderous beneath a wailing harmonica. Both songs may be mid-tempo crunchers, but they crunch all the same. "Addicted to Chaos" and live staple "A Tout le Monde" impregnate Youthanasia with feel and melody. Again, these aren't thrashterpieces, but they still reek of Megadeth.
Tragically, the album does have moments of vitric pop craftsmanship. "Elysian Fields" is hard to keep down, what with its all-too-happy chorus and formulaic arrangements. It has a soapy, sanitized sheen to it that cripples the flow of the album. "The Killing Road" is a superb hunk of angsty metal. You can boil any great heavy metal song down to its riff, and the riff on this fucker demands your attention. The solo is impeccable. Overall, the soloing on Youthanasia is excellent, and Mustaine hasn't been able to top it since (okay, the leads on Endgame and United Abominations come close).
Mustaine's voice is produced well. It sounds rich and full. He seems to have forgotten how to create catchy vocal melodies like the ones that can be found on this record. Then again, he was aiming for MTV with this record. Be that as it may, Youthanasia is a solid collection of hard rock songs. I'm also a fan of Cryptic Writings, but I understand why I'm in the minority. In my opinion, Countdown to Extinction struck a healthy medium between melodic and thrashy. Street credibility be damned, I dig the hell out of 90's Megadeth. Sue me!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 6:19 PM