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LEGACY OF BRUTALITY 


Poor, pitiful Dave Mustaine. Dude gets kicked out of Metallica for being a drunk dick, starts up Megadeth, a band that both rocked and sold some records (but is nonetheless shit upon as second-rate). And then, in a two-decades-too-late attempt to bury the hatchet, he's re-screwed by Metallica, who use him as some sort of prop in their psychotherapy movie. In between, he gets ripped off by managers, sued by ex-band members and screws up his arm. And still the guy thinks he's king of the world. Good for him.

Which leaves us with the recently released batch of seven Megadeth albums (plus his side project with Fear vocalist Lee Ving, MD.45), all of which have been "personally remixed by Dave Mustaine." Clearly emboldened by the 2002 remix/remaster he did on the band's debut, Killing Is My Business ... and Business Is Good, Mustaine has taken an incredibly heavy hand to these eight discs. So heavy, in fact, that he recorded his vocals over Ving's on the MD.45 album, saying the originals were "missing.")

Granted, the first two albums in the set – the classic Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying? (1986) and So Far, So Good ... So What! (1988) – were in definite need of sonic improvement. But Mustaine's remix approach reshapes the albums in a somewhat disingenuous fashion. Yes, the songs are essentially the same. But the raw aggression of these two albums has been replaced with a sharp meticulousness that's at odds with what was once an undeniable energy. Punchy? Tight? Sparkly? Sure. Venomous, spit-flecked fury? Not really. (To be fair, this approach sonically crystallizes fully formed albums like Rust in Peace, but even Mustaine's revisionist hand can't help mediocre turds like Risk overcome their prosaic songs.)

That said, it's nice to have the Megadeth catalog given some sort of special treatment, even if Mustaine was the guy who had to do the doctoring. Listening to the caterwauling solos and thuddingly heavy riffs that define a Megadeth album, you realize that Mustaine's legacy really wasn't ever in any danger, because unlike the members of a certain other metal band, Mustaine's unwavering belief in himself and his music means that he's not gonna need a $40K/month therapist any time soon.

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