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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Kings Of Thrash

Best Of The West - Live At The Whisky A Go Go

Review by Gary Hill

This group includes three former members of Megadeth: David Ellefson, Chris Poland and Jeff Young. In this concert performance they play a set of music from that act. I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of Megadeth. Sure, I like a few of their songs, but overall I always preferred Metallica. That said, these rawer, almost punky takes on the material at times feel like an improvement. The sound quality at points isn't perfect, but that's generally only a temporary thing. I almost wonder if this wouldn't have fit on one CD since it runs just a little over 75 minutes, but we get it on two audio discs. The whole concert is also presented here on DVD in video form, and that's a nice touch. It's filmed well and captures the show perhaps even better than the CDs do.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1
Last Rites

This is a very neo-classical keyboard based introductory piece that's less than a minute long.

Powering in fierce and ferocious, this is absolutely on fire. It's a real raw screamer. It has some scorching hot guitar work, too. There are some cool twists and turns built into this powerhouse.
The Skull Beneath The Skin
This is more aligned with hardcore punk than thrash. That said, the two are close relatives, anyway. There are some pretty unusual changes and timings here. This is even rawer than the song that preceded it was
Good Mourning / Devil's Island
Coming in mellower with a dramatic metal ballad vibe, this grows gradually outward from there. They take it through a number of changes as it continues, eventually turning it out into some meaner jamming for the entrance of the vocals. There is some killer riffing and classy music built into this thing.
Wake Up Dead
The riffing on this is absolutely on fire. I love the guitar soloing that comes over the top, too. This is mean and fierce. It's also one of my favorites on the album. This is thrash at its brutal finest. A shift to a slower (but, by no means slow) movement later is a classy variant. It also includes killer soloing.
Here is another furious and mean screamer. While this is fully metal, there are some punky aspects to it. This includes a drum solo.
In My Darkest Hour
More complex and intricate metal concepts are on display as this gets going. This turns into more raw stuff as it continues.
CD 2
Orange Light

Here we get another intro piece. There are some classical elements to this, but more synthetic, along with a lot sound effects.

Into The Lungs Of Hell
This comes in more restrained but decidedly metal. It works out to some technical modes from there. This instrumental is a powerhouse that's a highlight of the set.
Set The World Afire
I love the smoking hot thrash sounds at the heart of this as it gets underway. It has almost a Rush-meets-thrash vibe in some ways. This gets really mean and a little rawer as it continues.
Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good
This definitely seems more raw than the actual Megadeth version. It's fierce and screaming.
Chosen Ones
I really love the riffing on this powerhouse. It's furious and intense. It's also so mean. The short bass break is great, too.
Short, fast and punky, this is another screamer. This is one of my favorites here. There is a cool false ending that gives way to an even angrier reprise.
Hook In Mouth
I dig the vocal and rhythm section part of the song a lot. The whole track is effective, but does have a bit of a samey quality.
This driving screamer works well. It's not a big change, but it is fierce.
These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
An instrumental groove, this starts with some intense guitar soloing. They take it out into some really furious thrash meets hardcore stuff for the vocal sections. The guitar solo section later is positively on fire.
Peace Sells...But Who's Buying
One of Megadeth's best known songs, they deliver this with some serious fury. This is definitely another highlight of the set, and a great way to end it.
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