Megadeth – Hell Wasn’t Built in a Day

2004 has been a good year for Megadeth fans.

Almost two years to the month after announcing the end of Megadeth, Dave Mustaine announced that Megadeth would rise again. Along with a new album (The System Has Failed), the complete Megadeth back library is also being remixed, remastered and re-released. Hell Wasn’t Built In A Day contains a taste of that library, and damn does it taste good.

I know Megadeth. I grew up on Megadeth. I’ve bought at least one copy of each of their cassettes, two of the ones I wore out. I own all their CD’s as well, and I can honestly say this — Megadeth has never sounded this good before. Period.

“Peace Sells”, the titular track from the 1986 album sounded so different to me I had to dig out both my old CD to compare the two. Compared to the original CD, the song sounds completely different. The instruments have more depth, more clarity, and more definition. You can tell the two apart simply from the sound of the opening kick drums. Mustaine’s voice is much clearer in the newer mixes. The cymbals sound clear and clean. Any muddiness in the mix has been completely eliminated. The aural facelift (“earlift”?) is more noticable on older tracks like “Anarchy in the U.K.” and even Symphony of Destruction.

Hell Wasn’t Built In A Day also contains a couple of remastered ‘deth bonus tracks, like “Crown of Worms” from Countdown to Extinction and “Absolution” from Youthanasia. I swear the “Crown of Worms” opening riff is from a Metallica song (“The Prince”, maybe?). Neither song sounds particularly impressive following “Hanger 18”.

Both Alice in Chains’ Nothing Safe – Best Of The Box and Iron Maiden’s – Edward the Great served as samplers and greatest hits releases for their multi-disc box sets, and in both cases I felt no remorse in recommending those discs to fans over the actual box sets. I can’t do that here though. Ten tracks doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Megadeth’s discography. There are literally SO many good Megadeth tracks out there that I can’t in good conscious recommend this over any of the early Megadeth discs. This promo sampler did exactly what it was supposed to do — it got me behind these releases 100%.

If you don’t own albums like So What?, Peace Sells, Countdown to Extinction or Rust in Peace, these are the versions you’ve been waiting for. And even if you do, if you’re a fan you’ll want to replace your old discs with these releases. They’re that good.

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