Countdown To Extinction Live ($5 Special)

"Though Megadeth and their founder Dave Mustaine have spent their entire existence just a few steps behind Mustaine's former group Metallica, it's important to remember that they've also spent a lot of time as one of the most popular metal bands in the world. The summit of their commercial success came in 1992 with fifth album Countdown to Extinction, a creative high point from Mustaine and crew possibly spurred on in ways by the footrace with Metallica and the leaps in production made on their self-titled 1991 breakthrough album. Twenty years later, Countdown still stood as Megadeth's best-selling album, and in many circles, their most loved material. Countdown to Extinction: Live is a concert document of the 20th anniversary tour that found the band playing the album front to back, bookended by a few odds and ends from other albums. While the premise seems pretty rote, the execution of the live album is surprisingly interesting. Most live re-creations of full albums fall flat in comparison to the original artifacts, and this is no exception, but it's great to hear the devoted legions sneer along with every word of Mustaine's schizophrenic monologue on "Sweating Bullets" and cheer insanely at the now-dated George Bush samples that pop up throughout the set list. The performances are pinpoint, but the live sound lacks the production and feel of the studio album and eventually the tracks blur, losing the excitement a live experience offers. While the inclusion of extra crowd favorites like "Hangar 18" and "Peace Sells" flesh things out somewhat, the thrill of the live setting doesn't completely transfer, and all but the Megadeth superfans will probably prefer revisiting the original 1992 album before diving into the strong but much duller offerings of the live album." - Allmusic

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  • "When I did my first listen to the opening and title track of Secret Sphere’s upcoming release, Portrait of a Dying Heart, I knew instantly that I was going to run out of adjectives for “awesome” before the review was done. It opens with a soft chime, then another, a quick announcement of something amazing to come, and it does. With a quick buildup, the textbook thunderous opening chord is hit, and the song goes from zero to hell yeah in a heartbeat. There is a personal term I like to use, an ”epic moment”, that describes those moments in a song, especially in prog songs, when all the jumping around and teasing and tension that is inherent in prog music is released and all the instruments come together, creating that personal release, that little moment of music that I thrive for. The opening track, Portrait of a Dying Heart has about five of these, and it’s an instrumental overture. The album kicks it up another five notches when the vocals enter the mix.Founded in 1997 by guitarist Aldo Lonobile in, Secret Sphere has been showcasing their own brand of symphonic power metal over a span of fifteen years and six albums, and even the departure of long time lead singer Ramon Messina didn’t stop them, as they found the amazing pipes of Michelle Luppi to take over on their new album.  Fellow founding member Andy Buratto on bass, Federico Pennazzato on drums, Marco Pastorino on rhythm guitar, and Gabriele Ciaccia on keyboards fill out the rest of the band. While they credit heavyweights such as Dream Theater, Helloween, and Savatage among their influences, Secret Sphere has definitely evolved a sound all their own.Portrait of a Dying Heart is a concept album, based on the short novel She Complies with the Night by author Costanza Columbo, and commissioned by Lonobile. The full text of the story is included in the release disc, but was unavailable at the time of this review; so many secrets will be awaiting the listener and this very anxious author. As to the album, holy crap is it good. Secret Sphere is classified as symphonic metal, but that term really doesn’t do justice to the sound of this latest release, it is a step beyond. Though symphonic elements are definitely present, they don’t by any means carry the musical timbre of the album, the sound presented here is one step up the evolutionary ladder from most symphonic metal fare.After the six minute overture is X, the track that introduces the story, and it does it in fantastic bard-like fashion. The opening guitar squeals are accompanied by expertly done flourishes from the rhythm and the drums immediately set a breakneck, frantic pace, setting up a suspenseful atmosphere for the coming events. Luppi’s vocals hit right away as emotional, powerful, and stellar across the board, whether he is in scream mode or in the more subdued narrator moments. This track uses its variant musical elements to set the stage, leading perfectly into Wish and Steadiness, which for me is the best track of the album. It opens with classic symphonic keys, and uses them perfectly to transition from the more subtle tension of X to this track, building up before literally exploding in a fiery wall of metal. Notes come fast here, very fast, drawing out the tension and angst of the listener quickly. The hints of the frantic drums in X are joined by all the other instruments, and the panicked despondency of Luppi’s voice can almost be tasted it is so palpable. Highlighting it is a soul wrenching solo by Lonobile, bringing the despair of the song to full front. I don’t say this often, but this song for me is near perfection, everything fits together so well.With the tone set, the album digs into telling the story in full, with a spectrum of styles and paces. It truly is a musical narrative, events and emotions ebb and flow throughout the album.  The next song, Union, takes on a softer tone, adding an organized edge to the metal. It is catchy as hell, and sets a silent fervor in motion for The Fall, which has epic all over it. All hands are in play in this one, another searing track that leaves the listener breathless.The album carries on in this fashion throughout its entirety. The multitude of musical styles and themes are performed wonderfully by every member of the band. Lonobile is a monster at lead, and Pastarino carries a heavy load on rhythm superbly. The drumming is frantic yet precise, the fills and rolls just fantastic. Bass is a subtle undertone of organized thunder, and the keys carry the heavy weight of the symphonic elements so well. Add to it Luppi’s vocals, which are emotional and powerful throughout, and Secret Sphere delivers all the requisite parts, firing on all the right cylinders. Collectively though, they combine to create a truly special piece of music.From beginning to end, Portrait of a Dying Heart is a musical narrative in every sense of the term, it carries the listener through a slew of emotional states. The album is not only a summation of its talented parts, but also has a touch of ethereal wonder, something uncommon in the genre. There is a hurried sense of desperation, almost akin to that feeling of trying to hang on to the world with a single string that is slipping fast, that is carried throughout the work. Artist strive to transmit emotion to the audience through their chosen medium, Secret Sphere uses this concept to take us on a thrilling ride of spiritual turmoil, and does it very, very well." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00
  • Note this is not a 2 on 1.  Its a 15 track compilation of the albums Balls To The Wall and Restless & Wild.
    $5.00
  • Creation's End is the vision of New York City's Rudy Albert (guitar - from Zandelle) and Dario Rodriguez (drums).Rudy and Dario, who met in school, have been playing music together since 1999. As they grew tighter in their playing, they began to focus on writing original material. The nature of the material evolved from simple metal tunes in the early years, to more complex and mature compositions.During the summers of 2003 through 2006, Dario and Rudy convened to write music. The focus of the sessions was simply to make great music that they both enjoyed, and each summer, Rudy and Dario wrote and recorded a new demo of original material.Rudy soon took on keyboard duties in the band Until Destiny, where he met John Macaluso (drummer of James LaBrie Band, Fool's Game, ex-Ark, ex-TNT, ex-Yngwie Malsteen). After a short period of time, Rudy and Dario decided that the time was right to revisit their old material to record and release it the right way.With a newly renovated studio and producer John Macaluso on board, Rudy and Dario set out to record 8 reworked versions of songs that appeared on their demos. They were joined by the lineup - Mike Dimeo, (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie Band), and Joey Bones (Chris Caffery, ex-Zandelle).In Summer of 2010 the band decided to have world known engineer Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Yes, Nile, Cannibal Corpse etc) mix the album.November 2010 will see the release of "A New Beginning" and marks the fruition of the album envisioned from the beginning - melodic, touches of prog, a strong sense of groove, and brutally heavy and dark. US and European tour dates are being planned, with a date at ProgPower USA in September 2011 already confirmed.
    $8.00
  • A Liquid Landscape from The Netherlands is a bit of a departure for The Laser's Edge. Their slice of post-progressive music has a contemporary edge that finds them sitting alongside bands like Dredg, Anathema, and Porcupine Tree. The band has been a live act for several years and shared the stage with bands like Karnivool (AUS), Anathema (UK),Thrice (US) and Riverside (Poland).During the past year the band also was a finalist at the prestigious annual Dutch Grand Prize contest and on top of that they had 3 sold out Noorderzon gigs, featuring a stunning visual show.With all the material they had written, the band reached out to Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Helmet). Forrester liked the material a lot and he agreed on mixing the album and doing some production work as well.‘Nightingale Express’ is a concept album. This inspired moviemaker Lex Vesseur to make a short movie with music from the album. He also made the artwork and the visuals for the live show. So both the music and the film return in an interactive rock show with a live VJ.Washed up, tired and staggering across a beach in the early hours of the morning. Somewhere in the twilight between desperation and surrender, there is still a glimmer of hope. That sense that everything will be alright, no matter what the odds are. This is what A Liquid Landscape sounds like. 
    $8.00
  • Second album from this Finnish band that explores the darker side of progressive metal. Bands that come to mind are Katatonia, Opeth, Tool, Amorphis and even Riverside. Lots of morose atmospherics juxtaposed with crushing riffs. Vocals vary from dreamy clean to coarse. Powerful slamming stuff that actually grooves! Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • "Vital Science bears all the hallmarks of your atypical Scandinavian progressive metal outfit. You know, the likes of Circus Maximus, Illusion Suite, and Oceans Of Time (to name but a few). What I’ve found odd, though, is that despite peddling a sound which on the surface is commonplace these days; Vital Science manages to bring something strangely fresh to the table. This is something I feel I’ve pegged down, although it could well be a plant by Vital Science’s aural tentacles, which by now have plunged deep and scrambled my brains.There are a fair few elements that Vital Science offers which will be familiar to anyone with slight knowledge of the genre. A foundation of Dream Theater, a generous lavishing of Symphony X; essentially the Circus Maximus formula, although try adding a sprinkling from the more aggressive rack. Yeah, let’s take a pinch of Control Denied, a few drops from Future’s End; and don’t forget a spot of Nevermore. It’s in the deft inclusion of the heavier end of the progressive metal spectrum where Vital Science begins to find itself crawling out from beneath the “average” atypical sound, and from the realms of melodic prog; strangely enough, I feel that the album flows in that sense.The first couple of tracks are without doubt friendly in their utilization: Alexey Boykov’s smooth, Russell Allen-meets-Mark Basile vocal styling is enticing, and when painted over a symphonic backdrop eases you into Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity. As such, the first song proper, “Bridge Of Sorrow”, flows by as a solid piece, one well-written although lacking in fire. It houses that comforting familiarity – much like you’d feel kicking back in your living room. The following number delivers more in the way of the heavy, as well as that of technicality and, well, prog. It’s that chill running up your spine, or a growth beginning to fester. It’s at this point that Vital Science begins to kick up the excitement.Riffs that, dare I say, come across as unconventional given the progressive power style, begin to rear their heads. Like spiders or other unwelcome guests seeking to compromise the comfort in the aforementioned living room, clamoring through the cracks in a wall, or the gap under a door. It’s here that Vital Science shows that its really pretty damn bad-ass. These are riffs and rhythms that you’re going to want to headbang to; boasting infectious groove, and even some of the more “evil” sounding chord progressions and scales I’ve heard lately. Mixing in the darker, heavier textures with the more pristine, melodic prog conventions makes for an involving listen. In fact, speaking of darker and heavier texture, at times Vital Science spring the likes of Adagio and To-Mera to mind; especially so when considering technicality.As the album continues to progress, so does the band. With each track it feel that Vital Science opens up a little more, stretching the boundaries of their sound a little wider. To the point where some of the music recalls that of (modern) technical death metal, although (and this is something that I can’t stress enough) this resemblance comes in terms of musical prowess and note progression, as opposed to production or tonality. The last half of the album is seriously cool nonetheless, and seeks to catapult Vital Science from the realm of “good band” to that of a great one.In a way, I guess Vital Science amalgamate a considerable amount of what I’ve enjoyed from progressive metal on the whole over the last decade or two. I could write a scary long list of bands that Vital Science springs to mind at any one point throughout the album – and trust me it would extend far – but I feel Imaginations On The Subject Of Infinity deserves more than that. Instead, let’s just say that the band manages to evoke varying shades of atmosphere, and proudly covets an arsenal of sharp hooks, deft songwriting tricks, heavy hitting riffs, and enough in the way flamboyant technicality to ruin many a mind." - Blackwind Metal
    $15.00
  • "On their last album to date, these erstwhile proggy hard rockers metallized their sound even more. An attempt to appeal to a wider audience, maybe. It's not THAT heavy. The vocalist is too pleasant and music too rooted in classic rock for that. I could call it dark power metal maybe. Another example could be Evergrey.Songs here are more or less evenly divided between these dark power moments (eg, open your eyes, end in sight) and more proggy numbers (from a distance, in the wait loop, break the spell). Also a ballad and an instrumental are thrown in for good measure, but they are, in my opinion, inferior to their analogues on the previous album Chemical chaos (acoustic Access denied and Terminal Trip).Still, the genius of this excellent but underrated band is that every song contains a memorable hook from guitars, keyboards or vocals." - ProgArchives
    $8.00
  • Long awaited 5.1 remix of the classic Rush album.  Here is what you get...CD:1. Remastered edition2. 3 previously unreleased live tracksBLU-RAY:1 5.1 remix in 24/96 PCM and DTS-HD2. Stereo mix in 24/96 PCM3. Digital comic book, lyrics, liner notes and photo gallery
    $33.00
  • Hard to find import compilation makes a great introduction to this legendary power/thrash band.
    $6.00
  • With the band renamed, Nemesis have finally released the second part of the duology begun with Eden?. As many of you know Sensory released Eden? in 2002. The material on that release and Psychogeist originally appeared on the band's first two albums released in Hungary but now they feature English vocals. The music is simply spellbinding progressive metal with incredible hooks and complexity that will blow away any Dream Theater fan. Highly recommended.
    $8.00
  • Remaster of the band's third album comes with 5 bonus tracks. This one has some of their best toons...
    $5.00
  • Second album from this superb Italian gloom and doom band.  Resonance Room model their sound after Katatonia, early Anathema and Opeth with some progressive nods to bands like Porcupine Tree and Riverside.  All clean, angst driven vocals with grinding guitars and more riffing than you can shake a stick at.    If the Swedish moody gothic sound is your thing you need to check it out.  Highly recommended.
    $17.00
  • Double CD at a budget price. Disc one is a live disc while the second disc contains rare, unreleased tracks as well as 3 new studio tunes.
    $12.00
  • English vocal version of the third album from this fine Hungarian progressive metal band. Age Of Nemesis (formerly just known as Nemesis) are heavily influenced by Dream Theater, Rush and 70s old school progressive rock. Zoltan Fabian's guitarwork has a wonderful fluid quality that really soars but he adds a good bit of crunch that recals John Petrucci. Vocalist Zoltan Kiss has a great voice that complements the band well. Curiously he displays a more prominent accent than on past efforts but it's not really a distraction. Anyone familiar with their past releases will be extremely satisfied with Terra Incognita as it fits comfortably within the canon. So don't expect any surprises - just some great melodic progressive metal with an emphasis on the progressive side. Highly recommended.
    $8.00