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Remixed and Remastered Series

> > Mar 2005

Megadeth - Remixed and Remastered Series
By Chris AyersSince a remixed and expanded version of Megadeth’s debut Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good! was unleashed on Loud Records in 2002, it’s only logical that mega-label Capitol Records should follow suit with the rest of the back catalog. From 1986’s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? to 1999’s Risk, plus the 1996 side project MD.45, eight remasters with bonus tracks spring forth, and most are worth the purchase. Mega-Dave himself, band founder Dave Mustaine, was at the helm during the remixing process to ensure his original vision, and in a few cases he had to reconstruct deteriorated master tapes with ProTools and re-record vocal tracks. The holiest trinity — Peace Sells, 1990’s magnum opus Rust In Peace, and 1992’s mainstream breakthrough Countdown To Extinction — sound the best, with bass tracks exhumed and up front, sparkling solos, and Mustaine’s vocals scrubbed and newly snarling; even the vocals of "Take No Prisoners” had to be completely re-recorded. Must-hears are Rust’s bonus demo tracks featuring guitarist Chris Poland before he was fired (and before the mastery of shredder Marty Friedman) and Countdown’s divergent demos and the rare "Crown Of Worms.” 1988’s So Far, So Good…So What! receives the most significant overhaul, since the original tape had disintegrated. ProTools came to the rescue, with each note laid down anew. The album still suffers from its original curse of an inconsistent line-up, though "In My Darkest Hour,” Mustaine’s tribute to Metallica’s Cliff Burton, particularly howls here. 1994’s Youthanasia eroded their brilliant thrash to mid-paced chug, even if bonus cut "New World Order” is the only true wailer. 1997’s Cryptic Writings has some cool bonus tracks, but despite its spit and polish, 1999’s wimpy Risk is still just that. More interesting is MD.45, Mustaine’s one-off with punk godfather Lee Ving of Fear; all of Ving’s tracks were lost, so Mustaine re-sang the vocals and simulated Ving’s harmonica parts on guitar, resulting in a totally new punk-ified Megadeth album. Second place only to the Van Halen remasters, the Megadeth reissues are inevitably essential, though collectors will want to hang on to their original versions for ultimate sonic comparison.
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