|Studio album by Megadeth|
|Released||November 1, 1994|
|Recorded||1994 in Phoenix, Arizona|
|Producer||Max Norman, Dave Mustaine|
Youthanasia is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on November 1, 1994 through Capitol Records. The album is not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings; however it marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of their previous album Countdown to Extinction (1992). The album title is a play on words, implying that society is euthanizing its youth. The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline; the artwork concept being directly inspired from a line of the title track.
Youthanasia received positive reviews upon its release. It was commercially successful, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was later certified platinum for shipping one million copies in the United States—a distinction it achieved in 1995. A remixed and remastered edition featuring several bonus tracks and detailed liner notes was reissued on July 27, 2004.
Background and recording
Megadeth's previous studio release, Countdown to Extinction, became the band's biggest hit, entering the Billboard 200 at number two and eventually becoming double platinum. As a result, they continually sold out arenas across North America, in addition to developing a strong following overseas. With their next album, Youthanasia, the band moved towards a more mainstream sound.
It was a time of problems and conflicts for Megadeth, that in every two weeks or so, according to Mustaine, there were "outrageous emotional interventions" in order to make the group a democracy. Many band meetings during this period concerned Mustaine's creative control over a "successful formula", so that the rest of the band could better exercise their creativity. Another problem was the indecision on where the recording would take place. Mustaine did not want to record in Los Angeles, so it was eventually decided to record in Phoenix, since the majority of the band resided in Arizona. The sessions for the album initially began in Phase Four Studios in March 1994, but were left due to problems and the band decided to find another studio. Producer Max Norman suggested that they build a new self-dedicated studio. Speaking about the recording process, Dave Mustaine said: "Youthanasia was written totally and 100 percent exclusively in the studio. We weren't playing any old, cataloged material. None of the past really influenced the new record." He mentioned that he gave "more freedom" to the other members and called the album "very much a total band effort".
Artwork and release
The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline. According to David Ellefson, the artwork concept was directly inspired from a line of the title track. He explained: "That song [Youthanasia] was probably the strongest representation of how we feel about the young people who listen to our music and what their future holds for them. It's like you have a choice, you can become proactive or you can choose 'Youthanasia'." The title is a portmanteau of the words "youth" and "euthanasia". Mustaine has stated that the idea for the title stems from hearing about Jack Kevorkian, as well as the declining state of well-being of young people, specifically referring to issues like drugs, crime and violence, and a lack of parenting.
The album was released on November 1, 1994 through Capitol Records. It was commercially successful, debuting and peaking at number 4 on the Billboard 200, with 143,000 units sold in its first week. That was slightly below the peak position of its predecessor, which hit number 2 in 1992. Several weeks after its release, the record was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping one million copies in the United States. The album also managed to enter into the top 10 in the United Kingdom and some other countries as well. It eventually received a platinum certification from Music Canada and a silver award from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 100,000 and 60,000 copies respectively. A remixed and remastered edition featuring several bonus tracks and detailed liner notes was reissued on July 27, 2004.
Three singles were released from Youthanasia: "Reckoning Day", "Train of Consequences" and "A Tout le Monde". The latter would later be re-recorded with Lacuna Coil vocalist Cristina Scabbia under the title "À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)". This version was later released as a single, and included on United Abominations in 2007. Both "Train of Consequences" and "A Tout le Monde" charted on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
A 21-second sample of the song.
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Youthanasia was not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings. According to Billboard, "from the drumbeat opening of raging "Addicted to Chaos" to controlled thrash of "Train of Consequences", Mustaine and company deliver trademark aggressive rage 'n' roll to powerful effect". They noted that even the slower songs such as "A Tout le Monde" were tending towards "lusty explosion". Authors Pete Prown and Harvey P. Newquist opined that lyrically, Youthanasia contained "more thematic variations" from Megadeth. They wrote that the record was musically diverse, from the "slow-tempo acoustic lines" of "A Tout le Monde" to the "breakneck riffing" of "Train of Consequences" and "Family Tree". Q found that Megadeth's "trademark crunchy riffs, thundering drums and bitter vocals" were still present on the album, with the lyrics being more "introspective".
Mike Stagno said that Youthanasia features "a more traditional type of metal". He explained that even though the music on a number of tracks remains "quite heavy", it was obvious that the thrash metal is "very scarce" on this record. Stephen Thomas Erlewine agreed that Megadeth have "abandoned some of the more experimental, progressive elements in their music". Similarly, Chris Ayers of Exclaim! felt that with Youthanasia, the band "eroded their brilliant thrash to mid-paced chug". According to the band's official website, "Youthanasia marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of their previous album." Speaking about the stylistic direction of the album, guitarist Marty Friedman stated: "We pretty much stick to our guns. It's not like we're gonna change our next album to try and follow the trend. We don't really change with the times."
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The album received positive reviews upon its release. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, reviewing the album for Allmusic, commented that, compared to Countdown to Extinction the album lacks focus. However, Erlewine suggested that the album's production quality made up for that. He also commented favorably on "Train of Consequences", calling out its "jackhammer riffs". Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic reviewed the album positively. Though noting that the album, like its predecessor, was a distinct move away from the sound heard on 1990's Rust in Peace, Stagno suggested that the lack of a fast-tempo is made up for by the catchiness of the tracks.
In a contemporary review, Q magazine gave the album four stars and said that Youthanasia has "greater depth and breadth than its predecessors". Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly, who gave the album a B- rating, gave a brief review of the album saying that Youthanasia would "impress, but not impact." Neil Arnold of Metal Forces named the record "the last true Megadeth opus before the mid-to-late 90s slump". He further said that the album "pales in comparison to the classic Megadeth records" but still keeps the band "in their element". Music critic Piero Scaruffi opined that Youthanasia meant a "compromise" for the band's "hardened rebels". Paul Corio, in a retrospective review for Rolling Stone, wrote that the album features "metal-machine music" that is "calibrated to kill". He highlighted the tracks "Elysian Fields" and "Victory" as examples of Mustaine in his prime. Despite the outcry of some fans, Pete Prown called Youthanasia "more than worthy follow-up" to Countdown to Extinction.
Megadeth toured heavily in support of Youthanasia. They started the tour in November 1994, with live performances in South America. The tour continued in 1995, with a number of opening acts such as Korn, Flotsam and Jetsam and Fear Factory. During this period Megadeth also visited Europe, where they stayed for eight weeks. David Ellefson shared his impressions from performing in front of European fans: "So far, the audiences have been really good and it seems to me that heavy metal and especially Megadeth are very much at the forefront of music in Europe. It seems like the attendance is better than it has ever been". The worldwide tour ended in September 1995, with the band performing at Monsters Of Rock in South America with Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper as the headliners. In a recent interview for Hard Rock Examiner, Dave Mustaine revealed that there is a possibility that Megadeth are going to perform the album in its entirety the following year, honoring the 20-year anniversary of the record's release.
|1.||"Reckoning Day"||Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson||Mustaine, Marty Friedman||4:34|
|2.||"Train of Consequences"||3:26|
|3.||"Addicted to Chaos"||5:26|
|4.||"A Tout le Monde"||4:28|
|5.||"Elysian Fields"||Mustaine, Ellefson||4:03|
|6.||"The Killing Road"||3:57|
|7.||"Blood of Heroes"||3:57|
|8.||"Family Tree"||Mustaine, Ellefson, Nick Menza||4:07|
|10.||"I Thought I Knew It All"||Mustaine, Friedman, Ellefson, Menza||3:44|
|11.||"Black Curtains"||Mustaine, Friedman||3:39|
|Japanese edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"Crown of Worms"||Sean Harris, Mustaine||Mustaine||3:18|
|14.||"Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" (live)||Mustaine||Mustaine||8:57|
|15.||"Symphony of Destruction" (live)||Mustaine||Mustaine||3:44|
|16.||"Sweating Bullets" (live)||Mustaine||Mustaine||4:46|
|2004 remastered edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"Millennium of the Blind"||Mustaine||Mustaine, Friedman||2:15|
|14.||"New World Order" (demo)||Mustaine, Menza||Mustaine, Friedman, Ellefson||3:45|
|16.||"À Tout le Monde" (demo)||6:20|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits: