In the early ’90s, thrash metal was shifting into a new sound. Megadeth contributed to this new style when they released their fifth studio album Countdown To Extinction exactly thirty years ago from today.
Countdown To Extinction was Megadeth’s second album recorded by their “classic lineup” of Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, David Ellefson and Nick Menza. While in the past, Mustaine served as the primary creative writing almost all of the band’s material, this album saw each member contributing heavily. Mustaine considered this collaboration a “major accomplishment” and proof that this group of musicians was something special.
Inspired by Metallica’s stripped-down sound from their 1991 self-titled album, Megadeth also simplified their music in Countdown To Extinction. The band focused on creating a more melodious sound with extra groove compared to their previous albums. Although some fans were upset with the change feeling the music was too polished for thrash metal, Countdown To Extinction was a critical success and reached #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It’s often considered Megadeth’s commercial breakthrough.
Songs from the album including Symphony Of Destruction and Sweating Bullets continue to be popular thirty years later amongst metalheads of all ages. Celebrate Countdown To Extinction‘s anniversary by watching Megadeth perform Symphony Of Destruction live in Italy in 1992: