Dave Mustaine has been a very, very, VERY busy man since 2004! Not only has he released 2 new albums since then, but also a comprehensive DVD, a concert DVD, a live album, a greatest hits, founded Gigantour, hired me once (lol), and has been to parts of the world he and Megadeth have never been before!
With such a large body of work, the fact that a massive Box Set entitled Warchest has been released is short of amazing.
As a die-hard Megadeth fan, it is safe to say that I own a good 90% of everything Megadeth has released over it's career. At the same time, I know there is plenty I don't own, especially in terms of those pesky singles, and the very idea of having a box set is short of a godsend. The track listing pleased me due to the otherwise large amount of either rare or unreleased material.
All of the tracks from studio albums are the remixed and re-masted takes from the Capitol Records albums, and sound incredible! Dave has listened to the fans and the tracks represented are the best of the best!
Onto the greatness of the un-released material! I can only assume Mustaine used a bit of spit-and-polish on a few of the session takes, eliminating some of the dirt and scratches when he turned the volume up. Hearing the session take from the "So Far, So Good... So What?"-era Megadeth of "Anarchy/Problems" sent chills down my spine as I heard a spirited band take on the Sex Pistols two best songs. The Casey McMackin demo of "Holy Wars…The Punishment Due" sounded like an early incarnation of what "Washington is Next!" from United Abominations became, and the inclusion of "Go To Hell" from the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Soundtrack was a massive plus! Remastered audio was needed and it helped!
In terms of rare released tracks, finally having a copy of "Strange Ways" and "Duke Nukem" was worth the wait for an official copy.
In the end, the best part of this set is Disc 4, a 1991 show from London during the Rust in Peace tour. Hearing the band play live from that time... the only thing I can call that is heaven on CD! The "classic" Megadeth line-up shredding and ripping away at the very fabric that is speed metal, throwing in a cover of "Its Electric" by Diamond Head, proving that Dave did a better version than Metallica... AWESOME! Having decent live versions of "Take No Prisoners", "Lucretia", and "Rattlehead" are something that you really can't compare! The sound in impeccable and it has an air to it that would make you swear it was recorded just last night!
If you have heard tales of a band called Megadeth, of a skull with metal plates on his eyes on metal caps on his ears, a man with hooks through his mouth and a suit and a silk tie, then this is where the legend begins and lives! For those who have not only known of these feet's, but those of a large white rabbit, of wolves turning into women and others who cross the seas, for those who have also met the man behind mask. For the worshipers of the highest metal truth in the land.
My friends, you have arrived.
9.5 out of 10.