One of the ‘Big Four’ which came out of the trash metal boom during the early 1980’s, Megadeth were born when Dave Mustaine was infamously kicked out of Metallica in 1983 due to substance abuse and issues with his aggression. Whether it has been his battle with drink and drugs, his long feud with Metallica, his politically charged lyrics, finding Jesus, or his friendship with right-wing radio host Alex Jones, controversy has never been too far from Mustaine throughout his long career fronting one of the world’s most popular metal bands.
To celebrate 35 years since Megadeth’s creation, Mustaine has decided to put together an anthology album featuring thirty-five handpicked tracks. Spanning their fifteen full-length studio releases, from their 1985 debut Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! to 2016’s Grammy-winning Dystopia (awarded in the Best Metal Performance category for its title-track), Mustaine described the tracks which made the cut on Warheads on Foreheads as “the most efficient weapons in the bands arsenal“.
Running chronologically, the album begins at breakneck speed with the relentless thrash of ‘Rattlehead’ and the likes of ‘Mechanix’ (sister song to Metallica’s ‘The Four Horsemen’ from their 1983 debut Kill Em’ All which Mustaine co-wrote before being kicked out), finally coming to a halt on its third disk with the title-track from their most recent release ‘Dystopia’. As you would expect, it’s packed full of classic Megadeth moments from their early years including the likes of ‘Wake Up Dead’, ‘Hangar 18’ and ‘Sweating Bullets’, to name just a few.
There are a total of ten tracks featured just from their two classic albums, with four from 1986’s Peace Sells…. But Who’s Buying? and six from 1990’s Rust In Peace. Two albums that are so good Mustaine could easily have included more material from them here. Which is where the most glaring omission of the anthology comes in, that of ‘Peace Sells’. Mustaine’s reason for leaving it off was unconvincing, stating that “it’s been on everything else” (i.e. other compilations). But so have many other Megadeth classics which do appear on Warheads on Foreheads, such as ‘Symphony of Destruction’ and ‘Trust’.
A strange omission but thankfully it doesn’t take too much away from the anthology overall. Disc one and two are where real action is to be found, with disc three being home to a handful of decent-ish mid-career tracks early on before there’s a serious drop off in quality. Besides the likes of ‘She-Wolf’ and ‘Dread and the Fugitive Mind’ there’s very little that can match what is on the first two discs, with only one track from each of their fairly weak post-2000’s albums included. The exception is their most recent release Dystopia, with a total of four tracks finding their way on to the compilation but all of which are average at best.
Warheads on Foreheads is available now via AG Records