"Anthology: Set the World Afire"

(Capitol Records 2008)Megadeth - Anthology: Set the World Afire

I didn't need to listen to "Anthology: Set the World Afire" to write this review. I know what Megadeth sounds like. You probably know what Megadeth sounds like. Truth be told, I only really need to scan the track listing to tell you what the deal is. But you know what? You don't have to pull my arm to listen to a two-disc Megadeth best-of, and in the name of journalistic integrity, you bet I gave this a run or two. Say what you will about Dave Mustaine's polarizing personality (or equally polarizing vocal style), dude knows how to make thrash gold.

While much more economical than 2007's mammoth five-disc "War Chest," it's also more expansive than previous best-ofs "Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years" and "Greatest Hits: Back to the Start." Funnily enough, the first track on disc one is "Mechanix." Of course it is. It's just a reworked version of the Mustaine-co-written "The Four Horsemen," and after all these years, he still wants you to know that HE WAS IN METALLICA!!! Right, Dave, we get it. At any rate, the rest of the first disc contains material from "Killing is My Business…And Business is Good" through "Countdown to Extinction." Disc two features a bunch of tracks from "Youthanasia," with one or two cuts from "Cryptic Writing," "Risk," and "The World Needs a Hero," among others.

Pretty much everything you would expect to be on here shows up: "Peace Sells," "Hangar 18," "A Tout Le Monde," "Trust," the list goes on. What's equally interesting is what was omitted. Not a single track from either "The System Has Failed" or "United Abominations" is included. While the merits of those two albums can be debated, "Set the World Afire" can hardly be called an anthology if it ignores Megadeth's output post-2001. Additionally, "Symphony of Destruction," the band's signature song, is relegated to a live recording, which is beyond annoying.

The contents of this comp are great, but it's another link in the irksome chain of long-lived bands releasing a studio album, and then a best-of, live album, or both (I'm looking straight at you, Iron Maiden). If you're uninitiated and looking to get into Megadeth, absolutely pick this up. Long-time fans can skip this, but that goes without saying. So while the musical material on "Anthology: Set the World Afire" is certainly an A, the timing, necessity, and minor fumbling of song selection makes this a…


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