By Martin Popoff
One wonders if it’s Rhino’s lead that has kicked up the quality of packaging these days. Whatever the case, Warchest is gorgeous. Housed in a printed clear plastic oversleeve, the box features 3-D bullets and logo. It then flips open to reveal the continuation of the weaponry theme on the lavishly printed discs and booklet sleeve. The perfect-bound booklet includes liner notes by Ian Christe, a few photos, a detailed discography, and lotsa credits. The music is a weird catch-all, leaning heavily to live material, plus demos, a few studio rarities, interview snippets, sort of a disorganized symphony of destruction, as it were. Sure, there’s “six hours of music,” but it’s a sort of iPod shuffle hodgepodge, a celebration, but a frustrated scatter for completists (who would’ve been quite satisfied with the extensive reissue program of a couple years back).
High points, i.e. rarities of substance: “Breakpoint,” “One Thing,” “Duke Nukem,” “New World Order,” “Coming Home” (er, a fairly impromptu-sounding ballad) and yes, Dave’s amusing sneer through various covers, including Kiss’ “Strange Ways,” which grooves and greases nicely. Plus, I always thought soundtrack track “Go To Hell” was one of the coolest Megadeth songs ever. And the DVD stuff? Competent filming and sound recording of the band looking and playing totally metal, captured at the Hammersmith Odeon. One last remark: The lion’s share of the live stuff is from ’90 and ’92, namely the band at its commercial and creative peak, including all the upscale hits from that era and the scrappy songs of an earlier white-knuckle time, since cleaned up and made as presentable as possible.