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Megadeth’s Studio Albums Ranked

Sweet mother of God it’s been a while since I’ve posted on this bad boy. Been busy and what not. But you didn’t come here for that. You came for the Megadeth. Megadeth is easily my second favorite band. They continually produce excellence, and fill my earholes with Mustaine mirth. In fact, my Spotify account has more saved Megadeth songs than Metallica ones. But, they do have fifteen albums, so that’s sort of expected. Many of their songs get criticized for their politically charged lyrics, but I don’t mind one bit. You can disagree with the lyrics all day long, but no one can argue the talent that this band has seen through the years. The only thing that does bother me about the band, and Dave in particular, is that he’s living in the shadow of Metallica. You’re an epic band in your own right, and who knows? Maybe Metallica wouldn’t have been as successful if Dave would have stayed? Who knows. Also, isn’t it about time that Dave and crew got a Grammy? I was pleasantly surprised to see the group overcome that behemoth Gojira CD. Here’s my ranking of the Megadeth Albums from worst to Best. Enjoy!

 

#15 – Super Collider (2013)

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Alright, so Super Collider, in my opinion, is the worst album Megadeth has ever released. But this IS the second greatest band of all time, so there are some gems on this CD; there really are. Kingmaker is absolutely incredible. I could listen to that song for hours, and never get sick of it. I was also surprised by Dance in the Rain. I found it to be one of the hidden gems of the album, and that breakdown reminded me of Pantera. Hearing David Draiman of Disturbed in the song was pretty cool as well. Perhaps I’ll do a Disturbed post some day… The Blackest Crow is another decent song on the album. The southern twang makes it stand out, and Stone Cold Sweat has a pretty fun solo, but it’s a cover so…. The song Super Collider is pretty awful in my opinion. It’s trying a strange sort of syncopation that I just can’t get into. It’s awkward as hell, and I kind of feel uncomfortable listening to it. It’s Thrash, Dave. THRASH!!!! NOT POP! Though, even if it were pop, I would find it objectively atrocious.

#14 – Risk (1999)

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Alright. So, I’ve dreaded listening to this album for my write-up. I really have. This album is a very strange attempt to go as mainstream as possible without completely alienating their original audience. Whether or not it succeeds in that is up for debate, as Dave Mustaine has been quoted as saying “If anyone else’s name were on Risk, it would have sold.” Not sure that’s accurate, but we’ll move on. Intro tracks are something Megadeth generally does quite well, and Insomnia is starting to grow on me. Now for the album’s best song; Prince of Darkness. Super great song. I can’t put into words how epic Megadeth’s last Salt Lake show was when this song kicked on to intro the show. Definitely an underrated track in their excellent repertoire. Gotta say though, Crush Em is pretty cringe worthy. Arena rock is supposed to be inspiring, but this thing just makes me feel gross. The Doctor Is Calling is a decent find as well, and I enjoyed Time: The Beginning quite a bit. I think the most unfortunate result of this album is the departure of Marty Friedman.

Overall, this album isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever listened to. It’s a strange thing, honestly, to rank this album above Super Collider. It’s not great; Hell it isn’t even good. But it’s best song isn’t just a rip-off of Sleepwalker, either. It just barely eeks out Super Collider, and it’s because the album as a whole is more solid. I like the great songs from Super Collider more, but there’s just too much drudgery to sludge through to get to them to consider it the better album.

#13 – So Far, So good…So What! (1988)

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This thing starts out very Ennio Morricone-esque, and then goes full hog Megadeth. I love, LOVE when Megadeth intro’s their albums with an instrumental. I think there’s never a bad time to do so, and I feel like it get’s things started on the right foot. A thrashy foot. Set the World Afire is a solid entry into Megadeth’s arsenal of great songs, but man do I despise Anarchy In the U.K. I have never really enjoyed that song, and I certainly didn’t find enjoyment in Megadeth’s rendition. Sex Pistols suck, alright. I said it. What are you gonna do about it?!!?!?!? Mary Jane is a little odd, but 512 kicks ass. And now for the true gem of the album; In My Darkest Hour. I truly enjoy this song. It has a lot of emotion behind it, and it’s one I continue to return to. Overall, this is a mostly forgettable album, but the only song I desperately despise is the Anarchy in the U.K. cover, so it’s still worth listening to.

#12 – Cryptic Writings (1997)

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Trust. Trust is one of the quintessential Megadeth songs. It’s just so damn good! That chorus, the drums in the intro, all of it! Unfortunately, this album suffers from pre-Risk syndrome. Dave and “friends” are really trying to break into the mainstream with this album, and it’s stressful. I love thrash, but I don’t really enjoy pop rock. Now, this album isn’t without it’s keepers. There’s the aforementioned Trust, Use the Man, I’ll Get Even, and Secret Place. Oh, and who can forget She-Wolf?! Those triples are worthy of a Slayer song! (Foreshadowing for a future list?!) But this album does house Mastermind, which is an exceptionally cringe-worth track. But, its solid guitar-work easily place it above tracks from Risk.

Overall, Cryptic Writings suffers from a lot of filler/lesser songs. There are some diamonds in the rough, to be sure, but the rough is quite overgrown.

#11 – The World Needs A Hero (2001)

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I used to think that Megadeth’s return to form started with The System has Failed. I now realize the error in my ways, and acknowledge that World Needs a Hero is the true catalyst for them saving face. This one starts out on a good note. Disconnect is enjoyable. Then we’re graced with the title track, which is some cheesy assed 007-esque song. It’s so bizarre to me. Overall though, it’s not as bad as I remember it being. 1,000 times goodbye is sort of a mixed bag for me. The relationship drama going on in the background is a bit awkward, and I sort of feel like laughing every time I hear Dave say “You suck”. Though, the chorus is super catchy, and the musicianship is excellent. It’s nowhere near as terrible as Promises.. Jesus. Losing my senses was a hidden gem as well, though a bit softer than I usually prefer. Dread and the Fugitive Mind is still fucking awesome, unlike Return to Hangar. Turns out their greatest song didn’t need a sequel after all…

Overall, I ended up finding this one more enjoyable than expected. It moved up the ranks a bit from my initial “list”. I do wish that the album would have opened to Silent Scorn though. That shit is epic.

#10 – Th1rt3en (2011)

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Following up on the epic Endgame, 13 is actually fairly decent. It features some pretty solid entries into Megadeth’s songlist, but also has a really rough middle section in my opinion. The album is exceptionally political; there’s even a song called New World Order. This, however, doesn’t really matter to me, since I love the group for their guitar shredding and syncopation. I also sense some relationship based songs on this album, with titles like Wrecker and Deadly Nightshade. Now that we’ve acknowledged that this is a political and break up album, let’s talk songs. Public Enemy No. 1. This song used to bug the hell out of me. It’s super poppy. I’ve since changed my mind on it, though I would have preferred a number of other Megadeth songs take it’s place in the Megadeth pack available from Rocksmith 2014. The album also features Dave’s first foray into old man metal, with the song 13. This track is crazy! The thirteenth track on the thirteenth album from the band. It’s slow, and chronicles Dave’s journey through his career in music. This album features another rip-off of Sleepwalker, with Wrecker. The chorus is basically the same, but not as well put together. Deadly Nightshade is easily the best piece that 13 has to offer. I absolutely love this track, and it’s one that Joseph DeGolyer showed me. Good call, man.

Overall, this album is pretty decent. Rock on, Dave!

#9 – United Abominations (2007)

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Oh man. What a solid start to an album. Sleepwalker and Washington is Next! are two excellent Megadeth songs. I never get tired of them. I really don’t. This is a tough one to place for me. It’s one of the first Megadeth albums I purchased, and I used to listen to the album all the time. That being said, I feel like this is a worthwhile album from the group, even if it’s nowhere near the top 5. The guitar-work is great on the album, and I really dig the solos. Thematically it’s pretty much about government choices that Mustaine disagrees with, which naturally, is just about everything. The album artwork was actually created by a fan. Sure wish I knew how to draw… Also, I really wish Gears of War was done in time to be featured in the game, as was initially intended. I love hearing good music in games!

Overall, United is a good album. I do take issue with the cover of A Tout Le Monde. It’s one thing to cover another groups song, but to cover your own? Eh…. I definitely dig that Christina Scabbia though.. 😀

 

#8 – Killing is my Business…And Business is Good! (1985)

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What do you do when you get booted out of what will become the biggest band in the world? You create your own fucking band! This is where it all began. I absolutely love the way this album begins. Last Rites/Loved to Death is epic as hell. I love the piano that leads into guitar. Also, the title track is absolutely amazing. It would easily make it’s way into a top ten Megadeth Songs list. It’s thrashy as hell. Skull Beneath the Skin is another track that really does it for me, and of course we have Mechanix; the song that Dave wrote for Metallica, but Metallica totally does better. I love Mechanix, but I don’t think it can hold a candle to The Four Horsemen. There’s one thing that Joe and I will always disagree on, and it’s whether or not this album is better than the bands next entry; Peace Sells. I will fight for Peace Sells any day of the week, but I did end up liking this album a lot more than I did when I first listened to it. Except for These Boots. Aint nobody got time for that!

Overall, this is a pretty decent entry into the Megadeth discography. It’s importance on the thrash genre is underappreciated, and it paved the way for what would be a fantastic career for the group.

#7 – Youthanasia (1994)

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Ah, yes. The album following up to Megadeth’s juggernaut album Countdown to Extinction. Youthanasia is another very solid entry in Megadeth’s discography. Things start out on a good foot with Reckoning Day, and take a turn for the epic with Train of Consequences. We also get the actual version of A Tout Le Monde! Another solid keeper, and one I love returning to from this album, is The Killing Road.

Overall, Youthanasia is a good album. It’s very approachable for a new listener to Megadeth, and is an easy listen for current fans of the group. All in all, definitely worth stuffing down your earholes.

#6 – Dystopia (2016)

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Ah yes. Dystopia. The most recent of the entries in the Megadeth discography. I almost had the opportunity to see Megadeth twice during their tour for this album, but they cancelled the tour on me last minute. “Production Issues” whatever the hell that means… Anyways, on to the album! This bad boy opens up thrash as hell. The first track, The Threat is Real, is awesome. I was working out when I first heard “Fatal Illusion” and I think I listened to it about twenty times that day. I fucking love that song. Dystopia is decent, and deserving of being the title track, and my personal favorite is Poisonous Shadows. I really enjoy the speed presented by Dave and new guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who may be one of the best to grace this band since Marty Friedman. This album is solid. I mean real solid. I know there’s a certain amount of “fanboyism” that takes place when you first hear an album from one of the greatest bands in the world, but this one is still strong in my mind. Dave’s voice is definitely getting gravely, but the guitars are a little tuned down to compliment it. And I dig it! I do! I like that the band is adapting to hit the places he’s able to. If I were to dock the album, it would be in the last few songs. I’m not into The Emperor and Foreign Policy. Too much punk. I know that Thrash came from a mixture of Punk and Heavy Metal, but God do I hate punk….

#5 – Peace Sells….But Who’s Buying? (1986)

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This is the album that ignited Megadeth’s career in thrash. Peace Sells is fantastic. It’s relentlessly fast, and full of the kind of sheer emotion that made thrash what it is. Peace Sells really speaks to me. The idea that only irresponsible people listen to thrash is really annoying. I also pay my bills and go to court when I have to! One of the things I truly love about Megadeth is their unflinching ability to include some sick bass solo’s in their songs. Devil’s Island is excellent for this.

Overall, this album is pretty good. I think it’s relentless speed and syncopation really paved the way for thrash as a whole, and I think time will eventually, if not currently, agree with me regarding it’s influence.

#4 – The System has Failed (2004)

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Talk about a sleeper album! I owned this thing for years before I truly began appreciating it for what it is; an extremely solid album. And if the album artwork doesn’t give it away, this is yet another album revolving around governmental failures. Let’s talk tracks. I love Blackmail the Universe, Kick the Chair, and Back in the Day quite a bit. My guilty pleasure song on the album would have to be Truth be Told. It’s not the greatest thing lyrically, but that guitar solo is epic. This is an overall great album from Megadeth. The only downside is the lack of Dave Ellefson! That guy is a great bassist, and I can tell that the album is missing something with him not there. (He’ll be gone for three consecutive albums, before rejoining the group for the album 13). I’m glad that Dave was able to overcome his nerve damage to begin working on this once solo album.

Overall, The System has Failed is a great entry into the Megadeth library. It’s very solid throughout, and almost every song has made it’s way to my Spotify account as per this post.

#3 – Endgame (2009)

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I woke up in a number 3 spooot! Great songs were all around me! Aw yeah. Endgame is hard, Endgame is heavy, and Endgame is well deserving of this Number 3 spot. The album is solid from cover to cover, with only a couple of songs not gracing my Spotify account. It starts out in my favorite way with a super charged instrumental from hell! The best part about this album is that it just keeps shredding. It never lets up, and how about that title track? The syncopation is amazing, and makes it one of the most solid tracks from Megadeth in the last decade. Entries such as 44 Minutes and Head Crusher are ones I never find myself skipping. The New World Order message is pretty prevalent in this album, and even though I find that kind of shit mind numbingly stupid, I still love the hell out of this album.

Overall, this album is a must listen. It’s got some of the best shredding I’ve heard from the group, and is one that oftentimes finds it’s way into my car CD player.

#2 – Countdown to Extinction (1992)

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Awww man. Can anyone deny the sick guitar riff from Symphony of Destruction? I think not! Countdown to Extinction comes in at number two in the list, and for damn good reasons. The album starts out with the super fast paced Skin O’ My Teeth, a song who’s lyrics were unknown to me before reviewing my booklet, and continues into one of the most well known Thrash songs; Symphony of Destruction. This song is epic. I mean EPIC!! The album is extremely political in it’s nature, and leads to some fantastic entries such as Foreclosure of a Dream, Captive Honour, and the title track Countdown to Extinction. The album is extremely well rounded, and is really easy to blast on a long trip. The only song I find myself skipping is Psychotron. What is it with Dave and car songs? They’re usually not that great. (I’m looking at you Moto Psycho!!!!!!) Overall, this album is excellent. It is a great album to place in the hands of a MegaVirgin. Dave’s vocals are a little toned down, and easier to listen to in this album. But, there is another……..

#1 – Rust in Peace (1990)

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Is there any doubt? I mean, really. Rust in Peace is the quintessential Megadeth album. I can play this fucker over and over again and never get tired of it. Holy Wars is epic, Hangar 18 is arguably one of the greatest songs ever made, and Polaris…. God DAMN! Hangar 18 holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first Megadeth song I really got into, and has stood the test of time. Take No Prisoners was fucking incredible to mosh to. I mean nuts! The only song on the album that I’m lukewarm towards is Five Magics, but it’s a far cry from Psychotron. This album really made the band, and seeing Megadeth perform it in it’s entirety was one of the most incredible concerts I’ve attended to this date. In fact, I think it’s number one. If you’re considering getting someone into Megadeth, I think this album is a decent place to start, though I might recommend Countdown to Extinction first. (Dave’s voice can take some getting used to.) The album doesn’t have a single bad song on it! It’s cover to cover excellence, which is something that only a select few groups have accomplished, in my opinion. Overall, this is easily in my top 3 thrash albums of all time, and something you should check out, and immediately worship.

 

God damn that was hard! Ranking these albums was way more difficult than I thought it would be. I love this fucking band, and doing this post has just solidified that love.

What do you think? What are your favorite albums from Megadeth, and why? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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