Warheads on Foreheads

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Issued just a few years shy of their 40th year in existence, the massive 35-song compilation Warheads on Foreheads draws from every era of Megadeth's twisting but always menacing tenure. The tracks were hand-selected by bandleader Dave Mustaine, cherrypicking stand-out selections from each of their 15 studio albums (as well as a few outlier tracks) and presenting them in chronological order. Beginning with three of the stronger songs from 1985's Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good, Mustaine charts Megadeth's progression through their string of classic thrashy '80s albums into the more accessible sounds and heightened production of their early-'90s work. Things taper off after that, with only one or two picks from most of the band's 2000s and 2010s albums like The System Has Failed, Endgame, and Super Collider. 2016's Dystopia has more of a showing, with the inclusion of four of its better songs. The flow of this massive collection highlights Megadeth's evolution more like an anthology than a greatest-hits collection. Most interesting is the resilience the band shows throughout the decades, turning in powerful compositions more dated by the production traits of the era than any signs of Mustaine and co. mellowing. Some of these songs are indispensable staples to the metal genre, from the misanthropic sneering of '80s rippers like "Wake Up Dead" to the raging riffs and political lyrics of "Symphony of Destruction." Even as the band's catalog winds into material more fan-favored than commercially successful, the band's power and technical prowess stay full throttle. Warheads on Foreheads is too dense to be an introduction for those just getting into Megadeth, but it's a detailed and well-crafted re-tracing of the band's journey from the start.

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