Countdown to Extinction

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Countdown to Extinction is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was released on July 14, 1992 through Combat Records. Countdown to Extinction is Megadeth's best-selling album, with over two million copies sold and achieving double platinum status. The album also produced the band's most successful hit singles, "Symphony of Destruction", "Sweating Bullets", "Skin O' My Teeth" and "Foreclosure of a Dream", videos were made for all singles and also for "High Speed Dirt".

Countdown to Extinction was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 1993 Grammy Awards and the title track of the album won the Humane Society's Genesis Award, making Megadeth the only heavy metal band to be given this honor.


Production and marketing

Countdown to Extinction was the second album featuring the Dave Mustaine/Dave Ellefson/Nick Menza/Marty Friedman line-up. It was produced by Mustaine and Max Norman at The Enterprise in Burbank, California. It was pre-produced by Ryan Greene.

The band's change in musical style meant that many songs on the album follow a more traditional hard rock structure, with verses and choruses (unlike many of the band's previous albums). The album is the band's most commercially successful album to date.

Lyrical themes

Like its predecessor, many of the songs on the album have political and military undertones. For example, "Symphony of Destruction" is a song about military dictators, "Architecture of Aggression" focuses on the military-industrial complex, and "Ashes in Your Mouth" concentrates on the negative aftermaths of war ("sweet taste of vindication, it turns to ashes in your mouth"). In a similar vein, "Psychotron" details a merciless cyborg killing machine of the same name, and is based on the Marvel comic book character Deathlok. Other political songs include "Captive Honour", a song about prison and the consequences of crime, "Countdown to Extinction", a song about canned hunts (which many believed was a jab at Metallica frontman James Hetfield and his love for hunting), and "Foreclosure of a Dream", a song that looks at rise and fall of political and economic ideologies, which also includes the infamous 1988 "Read my lips" quote by George H. W. Bush (and on a more personal level, about Ellefson's parents who allegedly lost their jobs under the Reagan Administration). The title song "Countdown To Extinction" also won Megadeth the Humane Society of the United States "Genesis Award" for its dealings with issues of animal welfare.

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