Release DetailsLABEL Capitol
RELEASED ON 6/28/2005
Greatest Hits - Back To The Start
posted on 6/2005 By:
I know what you are thinking, and you’re not completely wrong about Back to the Start, but you’re not quite as right as you think you are, either. You’re thinking that this new best of collection from Megadeth is, to paraphrase from Kill Bill, about as useful as an asshole on your elbow. First of all, in the age of CD burning and ipods, fans can create their own “best of” CDs and playlists, and do a much better job than this. Secondly, the band has already done the rerun thing on 2000’s Capitol Punishment collection, and furthermore went on to release the double live Rude Awakening and the eyebrow raising cash grab best of/live Still Alive…And Well? This latest offering will be viewed by many as yet another effort by the label and Mustaine to cash in on the band’s glory days. And it is, of course. But Back To the Start will be useful to some. Lets start with the obvious—the young listener who hasn’t yet had the time or the allowance to pick up the Megadeth back catalog will put this collection to good use, and a young headbanger could do much worse. Then you have the completists—the guys who have all the albums, singles, and remasters; who refer to themselves as “droogies” and try incessantly to convince you that Risk is still a good album, if you just drop your preconceived notions of what Megadeth should sound like. And then there is the rest of us. And honestly, Back to the Start is probably superfluous for most of us, but may serve as a curiosity for long time fans. The selling point is that these tracks are culled from last year’s catalog makeover, when the Peace Sells… through Risk albums were both remastered and remixed. The remastering is nice, but what is most interesting is the remix work, which in some cases resulted in a significantly different sound in parts of songs. The success of the new versions is hit and miss, and many fans who bought the new versions have held on to their original copies as well, but it is interesting to hear these songs in a new light. Long time fans who chose not to splurge on last year’s new versions of the Megadeth collection now have a chance to explore those renovations on this otherwise entirely duplicative collection.
Take away all the bullshit—the name calling with other bands, the rift with Metallica, the law suits from ex-band members, the new anti-Satanism tour philosophy, and the ever present giant egos, and we are left with classic metal. Some of the best, actually. I’d put Rust in Peace and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying up to the Pepsi Challenge with just about any other album out there and think they can hold their own amongst the classics of the genre. The seventeen song collection kicks off with the technical firestorm of perhaps the quintessential Megadeth song, “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, it is impossible not to have a physical response to the precision and aggression of this warhorse. The tracklist for Back to the Start was chosen, with a few rules, by the fans via the Megadeth website. As happened when Anthrax did the same thing for The Greater of Two Evils, the results of the collective votes insured that the old standbys made the cut at the expense of some fan favorites. So even though the songs were chosen by the fans, it seems unlikely any fan would be satisfied with this tracklist. The collection includes nearly all of what was on Capitol Punishment, and adds five tracks, including “Mechanix ‘02”, “Angry Again”, “Skin O’ My Teeth”, “She Wolf”, “Prince of Darkness”, and “Wake Up Dead”. This is a Capitol release, so don’t expect any Killing Is My Business…And Business is Good or post-Risk stuff. The songs are spread out fairly evenly across the other albums, with most albums contributing two songs. Cryptic Writings, Risk, and So Far, So Good, So What each make a single appearance. So Far… badly needed a facelift, and it is disappointing that only the well worn “In My Darkest Hour” made the cut. On the other hand, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia are both represented three times. Considering the new tracks for Capitol Punishment, “Kill the King” and “Dread and the Fugitive Mind”, are both included here, the collection is weighted towards their later material. It was a mistake to short shrift So Far…, Peace Sells…, and Rust in Peace in favor of some of these later tracks, especially the inexplicable favorite “Sweating Bullets” and Risk’s “Prince of Darkness”.
A deluxe version of the collection will also include a bonus DVD that features six live tracks, a video for “Kill the King” and a teaser for the upcoming motherload of a DVD, Arsenal of Megadeth. If you haven’t heard remixed and remastered albums, it may be worth checking out Back to the Start to hear a new take on these classic (well, most of ‘em) songs. If you picked up a couple of the new albums last year, you may be better served putting your money aside until Arsenal of Megadeth’s release.
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