Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1986|
|Running Time||23:12 (Case: 21)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Megadeth are one of those bands who are most appreciated by those who grew up with them. If I wanted to introduce a friend to metal music, Megadeth probably wouldn't be among the pile of discs I handed them. That isn't to say I don't love this band. I first heard Megadeth in high school and loved Hangar 18 to the extreme, soon after that I picked up the bass guitar and learned Dawn Patrol - an awesome riff that I still throw out at sound checks to this day, always looking for an approving nod from my brother.
This handful of videos roughly represents their time at Capitol Records; one from each album ranging from Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (1986) to Cryptic Writings (1997). One thing that is cryptic about this DVD is the audio. While the back cover proudly promotes the band's recently remixed, remastered and re-released Capitol back catalogue, none of the videos presented here contain that new audio mix. What is provided is a lacklustre Dolby Digital 2.0 effort, encoded at a paltry 224Kb/s from the dusty old analogue video. Not even PCM! Granted, this is a budget disc retailing for under ten bucks, but seriously, the audio on Peace Sells and Anarchy in the UK is pretty woeful when compared to Dave Mustaine's remixes.
From their second album Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (1986), this video was a breakthrough for the band and an MTV favourite in its time. It uses images of war atrocities and political campaigning to deliver a very direct message. The line-up of musicians at this stage consisted of Dave Mustaine (vocals and guitar), David Ellefson (bass guitar), Gar Samuelson (drums) and Chris Poland (guitar). This incarnation of the band was particularly interesting because Poland and Samuelson came from a jazz background and gave a very different feel to the Megadeth beast.
Megadeth recorded a surprising range of cover songs in their career, and this is one of them. Originally by the Sex Pistols, this video mixes some funny Ronald Reagan caricatures and Clockwork Orange-style jacket restraints with footage of Megadeth in performance. This track is taken from the album So Far, So Good... So What! (1988) and featured the short-lived line-up of Mustaine, Ellefson, drummer Chuck Behler and guitarist Jeff Young.
Sacrilege! How dare MTV edit one of my favourite Megadeth songs! It's Roswell, 1947. Dawn Patrol echoes in the background as trucks roll into a giant warehouse building. Inside, weird creatures and alien technologies are put under the microscope while Megadeth perform on an overhead gantry. These were the beginnings of the halcyon years for Megadeth, boasting their most consistent line-up of musicians and some very worthwhile musical collaborations within the band. Here we see Mustaine and Ellefson joined by drummer extraordinaire Nick Menza and former Cacophony guitarist Marty Friedman. Hangar 18 is from what is arguably their greatest album, Rust In Peace (1990).
The steady line-up of Mustaine, Ellefson, Friedman and Menza bore fruit on the following album Countdown to Extinction (1992), with some of the best collaborative songwriting to come from the band in their history. The production of the album was crisp and technically perfect, probably a knee-jerk reaction to the success of Metallica's black album the previous year. Similar to their early videos, this clip also uses stock war footage and protesters alongside scenes of political campaigning.
Youthanasia (1994) was a slightly more commercial effort from the band and contained some of their least creative lyrical ideas. For this compilation, the single A Toute le Monde would have been a much better inclusion in my opinion. This video is unique in this compilation because we don't see the band in performance, it is more like a bizarre Terry Gilliam dream sequence crossed with some gambling on the Orient Express. A great video, this one - but the song is average.
Cryptic Writings (1997) marked a superb return to form for Megadeth, with less commercial repetition and more concentration on cohesive, heavy songwriting. Trust is one of many great tracks on this album, along with Almost Honest and Use The Man it is one of my favourite Megadeth albums and was Nick Menza's final with the band. The video consists of some smooth ballet-like passages, and human contact games that involve mutual trust, such as people falling backwards into waiting arms.
So, what happened to Megadeth after 1997, you ask? The band recorded one more album for Capitol titled Risk (1999), with former Suicidal Tendencies drummer Jimmy Degrasso who had also performed on Mustaine's MD.45 side project. Risk was yet another grunge-influenced attempt at commercial success that failed and the label opted not to renew their contract. Marty Friedman left their ranks and was replaced by former Widowmaker guitarist Al Pitrelli for the decidedly average album The World Needs A Hero (2001), released by the band's current label Sanctuary. A live DVD titled Rude Awakening was recorded with the Pitrelli/Degrasso line-up and the group was disbanded indefinitely when Dave Mustaine entered rehab. While there, he fell asleep on his arm while slumping over the back of a chair and caused serious nerve damage to his arm, rendering him unable to play guitar for some time. When his muscular control returned, he had to literally relearn the instrument. When it came time to fire up the Megadeth engines once again, he recorded a new album (The System Has Failed) using former guitarist Chris Poland and awesome Sting drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, igniting a legal battle with ousted co-founder of the group David Ellefson. After a lengthy appeal and some public slagging over the internet, the case was settled out of court. More recently, Mustaine appeared in the Metallica film Some Kind of Monster, facing off with his ex-buddy Lars Ulrich (Mustaine was guitarist for Metallica in their early days, prior to signing a record deal). Mustaine has voiced his disapproval of his scene in the film, but an alternate cut of it can be found on the DVD.
All that drama aside, I must say that Megadeth's most recent album, The System Has Failed (2004), is their finest work for quite some time and is likely to be the last we hear from Mustaine under that banner. The band toured Australia recently with musicians that are unfamiliar to me, but I couldn't get enthused enough to attend, even though I like the new album. Had he brought along Nick Menza or Vinnie Colaiuta, I would have been interested. Maybe I'll catch Megadeth when the Gigantour comes to Australia. Anyhow, the question remains: will Mustaine's future output be as a solo artist? Only time will tell.
As far as this DVD is concerned, I think it is squarely aimed at fans who want the promo videos on DVD. It's cheap and serves as a brief best-of but it's only the tip of the iceberg as far as this band's videos go. A complete collection of all their videos will probably surface one day, so if you must buy it don't pay more than ten bucks. If you'd like to see the Wake Up Dead and Peace Sells videos with a glorious dts surround mix, buy the excellent Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? DVD-Audio disc. Maybe I'll find the time to review it one day.
Update: May 4, 2005. On their official website Megadeth just announced a new best of compilation CD, titled Back to the Start that comes with a bonus DVD of live performances. Also on the DVD disc is a preview for the upcoming double DVD career retrospective, Arsenal of Megadeth, that will apparently contain all of the videos. Basically, this disc I have reviewed will be completly obsolete within a few months.
|1. Peace Sells|
2. Anarchy In The U.K.
3. Hangar 18
|4. Symphony Of Destruction|
5. Train Of Consequences
This video transfer is sourced from an analogue master and appears to be an NTSC conversion. The aspect ratio for these clips is 1.33:1, full frame.
The level of detail is good considering the source, with only a little analogue grain marring the first two clips. Black levels are of an acceptable depth, while colours appear bold and consistently rendered. There aren't any fatal videotape artefacts to be concerned about and the level of MPEG compression is adequate enough to avoid any ugly blocking or noise. Some portions of Symphony of Destruction have been shot on film and exhibit a few tiny specs of dirt here and there, but nothing too serious.
I compared the Peace Sells video on this disc to the DVD-Audio version and found the NTSC video on the DVD-A disc to be noticeably sharper.
There are no subtitles included and given the very brief runtime this disc is obviously DVD5 format (single layered).
The audio stream accompanying these video clips is derived from the analogue video masters and presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, encoded at 224Kb/s. Did EMI use the beautiful dts 96/24 surround remix of Peace Sells, released on DVD-Audio? No. Did they utilise Dave Mustaine's impressive stereo remixes contained on last years reissue of Megadeth's entire Capitol catalogue? No. While this is strange to me, it does explain the low price of this release.
The first two tracks are the oldest and fare the worst in their transition to DVD. The audio is muffled and lacks depth, while Anarchy in the UK contains some irritating high pitched ringing artefacts when the drummer uses firm cymbal accents. The audio transfer is otherwise in good condition and void of any annoying hiss or dropouts. Pitch seems to be okay, another reason to suspect an NTSC conversion.
The vocal presence is good, but could be better if clearer stereo mixes were used. Dave Mustaine isn't known for his enunciation when it comes to singing, however if you're familiar with Megadeth you should know what to expect.
There is obviously no surround activity or LFE channel to report on, however some bass guitar and kick drum did spill to my subwoofer on a few occasions, particularly during the more recent tracks Trust and Train of Consequences.
|Surround Channel Use|
Nothing to get excited about.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|