Megadeth: ‘Cryptic Writings’

Released on June 17, 1997 (Capitol)

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, the polarizing frontman and guitarist, was hell bent on getting out from behind Metallica’s shadow, which loomed over him like a dark cloud. Having achieved near Metallica status with Countdown To Extinction and the less thrashy Youthanasia, it was unlikely that Megadave would unleash an all out thrash metal assault a la Rust In Peace.

Cryptic Writings was released in 1997, 20 years ago this year. There’s ‘mixed’ emotions with this one. Megadeth continued down the ‘hard rock’ sound which is akin to it’s predecessor Youthanasia. Sure, there’s four thrash metal tracks — “Mastermind,” “She-Wolf,” “FFF” and “The Disintegrators” — but aside from the aforementioned tracks, it’s pure contemporary rock. On Cryptic Writings, Megadeth enlisted Dan Huff (Giant) to produce which accounts for the ‘radio friendly’ approach and the band straying further away from its thrash metal roots. Cryptic Writings did produce the hits “Trust,” “Use The Man” and “She-Wolf” but by this point, the fanbase was disjointed due the band’s schizophrenic musical nature. Cryptic Writings by no means is the definitive Megadeth album. That distinction goes to either Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying (1986) or Rust In Peace (1990) or even Dystopia (2016) which was a true return to form for Megadeth. Cryptic Writings is mundane — no more, no less.

It’s really unfortunate that Mustaine had David Ellefson (bass), the late Nick Menza (drums) and guitar wizard Marty Friedman on lead guitars and this is the best he could do. In 2004, Capitol Records reissued, remastered and remixed versions of the Megadeth Capitol back catalog with bonus cuts. If you ever wanted to hear Mustaine sing “Trust” in Spanish, you can find it there. The worst was yet to come however as the band pressed forward with an even more commercial direction with the following effort Risk.

Track List:
01. Trust
02. Almost Honest
03. Use The Man
04. Mastermind
05. The Disintegrators
06. I’ll Get Even
07. Sin
08. A Secret Place
09. Have Cool, Will Travel
10. She-Wolf
11. Vortex
12. FFF
Bonus Tracks (2004 Remastered Version):
13. Trust (Spanish Version)
14. Evil That’s Within (Demo)
15. Vortex (Demo)
16. Bullprick (Demo)

Band Members:
Dave Mustaine – lead and rhythm guitars, lead vocals, sitar on “A Secret Place”, co-producer
David Ellefson – bass guitar, backing vocals
Marty Friedman – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Nick Menza – drums

Produced by Dann Huff
Recorded and mixed by Jeff Balding
Mastered by Bob Ludwig

Production (2004 Remastered Version):
Produced by Dave Mustaine
Mixed by Ralph Patlan and Dave Mustaine
Engineered by Ralph Patlan with Lance Dean
Edited by Lance Dean, Scott “Sarge” Harrison, and Keith Schreiber with Bo Caldwell
Mastered by Tom Baker

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda for Sleaze Roxx, June 2017

Megadeth‘s “Trust” video:

Megadeth – Trust (HQ)

Great Song By MegadethLyrics:Lost in a dreamNothing is what it seemsSearching my headFor the words that you saidTears filled my eyesAs we said our last goodb…