MEGADETH - Warheads On Foreheads (Album)

 
 
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GARETH ENDEAN

 

The big question on the release of MEGADETH’s career-spanning new best of album ‘Warheads on Foreheads’ is: does the world really need another MEGADETH compilation? This will be the sixth ‘best of’ release for the band since 2000, so what on earth can this one offer us that the other five can’t? 

Well, for starters this album has been personally curated by Dave Mustaine himself, each track handpicked to showcase the best of the band, from their nascent thrashings to their current elder statesmen of metal status. And that’s a crucial point too, their other compilations have largely ignored their post turn of the century output, but in recent years the band has had a real renaissance in both terms of quality and popularity, so perhaps there are old fans who need to catch up or, indeed, new fans that want to discover the classics. 

And make no mistake there are plenty of classics to choose from, whether it’s the early speed and aggression of ‘Rattlehead’ or ‘Wake Up Dead’, the technical excellence of ‘Holy Wars...’ or the more measured insanity of ‘Symphony for Destruction’ or ‘Sweating Bullets’ the first two CDs of this triple album have got you covered. 

The third CD of this anthology then charts a course through what could be viewed as their more patchy period and into their modern day rebirth but what really stands out is that, contrary to popular belief, there really is very little let up in terms of quality at any point. The likes of ‘Washington is Next’ and ‘Dystopia’ stand up incredibly well against their earlier material. The chronological progression of the three CDs displays the band's evolution perfectly, however there is a possibility that having all the later stuff on one CD could lead to the songs being overlooked in favour of the more familiar tracks. Perhaps if they’d blended the eras together a little more it might open a few more minds to these songs. This is a minor gripe though as the flow of the anthology as a whole is nigh on perfect.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to not have at least heard of MEGADETH, and the three discs don’t really throw up many surprises. However, what really stands out is how consistent MEGADETH have been - perhaps the most consistent of all the Big Four - even in the difficult 90s period for thrash, the concessions MEGADETH made are pretty minor compared to the identity crisis suffered by Metallica, or the uninspired kowtowing to nu-metal that Slayer briefly suffered. Part of this could be down to the songs’ subject matter, MEGADETH were always more grounded in reality than their contemporaries, Mustaine’s angry political polemics remain as relevant today as they did in the 80s and he was being candid about his battles with his own personal demons long before it came de rigueur in the 90s and beyond. If ‘Tornado of Souls’ was released today it would still sound fresh, which is quite remarkable for a song that’s now almost 30 years old and it is not alone in that respect, in fact there is very little here that feels dated or rooted to a certain period in time, and again that can’t be said for all of their peers.

So, the question remains does the world need another MEGADETH compilation? And the answer on this evidence is yes, yes it does. It serves as a better introduction to the band than any Spotify playlist you could conceive of, and for the more seasoned fan it is a comprehensive selection of the band’s best moments. In pure music terms it’s hard to fault it, however for the completist it might feel a bit disappointing due to the lack of rarities or new material, plus there is a nagging suspicion that MEGADETH have still got a fair few moments of brilliance left in them, meaning this album could be out of date as soon as a new album drops. But for now, this is certainly the best of the best ofs out there, and a fitting testament to one of metal’s all-time great bands.

Follow Megadeth here:

https://www.megadeth.com/

Track Listing:

DISC 1
01. Rattlehead
02. Mechanix
03. Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!
04. The Conjuring
05. Wake Up Dead
06. Devils Island
07. Good Mourning / Black Friday
08. Set The World Afire
09. In My Darkest Hour
10. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

DISC 2
01. Hangar 18
02. Tornado Of Souls
03. Rust In Peace…Polaris
04. Five Magics
05. Take No Prisoners
06. Skin O’ My Teeth
07. Angry Again
08. Symphony Of Destruction
09. Sweating Bullets
10. A Tout Le Monde
11. Train Of Consequences
12. Reckoning Day

DISC 3
01. Trust
02. She-Wolf
03. Wanderlust
04. Dread and the Fugitive Mind
05. Blackmail The Universe
06. Washington Is Next!
07. Head Crusher
08. Public Enemy No. 1
09. Kingmaker
10. The Threat Is Real
11. Poisonous Shadows
12. Death From Within
13. Dystopia