"The Craving" (Capitol; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I was ready to give Dave Mustaine a load of shit when I heard that he had re-recorded Lee Ving's original vocals on "The Craving" with new vocals of his own. Mustaine's ego is the stuff of legend and I automatically (and wrongly) assumed that Mustaine simply decided he could sing better than Ving. As a huge fan of Fear and Ving, I was just a little pissed.

However, a quick read of the liner notes explains the real reason that Mustaine took the mic for this remastered version of the 1996 experiment. Apparently, when Mustaine went back to hunt down the original masters for the recent Megadeth re-masters, he could not find Ving's vocal tracks or harmonica additions. So, he had two choices: Go to the expense and hassle of getting Lee Ving back in the studio to re-record the tracks or take on the vocal responsibilities himself. He chose the latter.

In direct opposition of my esteemed East Coast Editor Christopher J. Kelter's earlier review, in which he mercilessly dissed the previous release (I was ready to give him a ration of shit, too), I really liked the original version of "The Craving." Whereas Mr. Kelter gave the CD only two guitarsaws, I would have given it three easily, maybe even eked out an additional half. I liked the combo of Ving's street-smart lyrics and raw punk voice mixed in with Mustaine's admittedly simpler guitars. 

I don't like the new re-master quite so much.

Mustaine makes it clear in the liner notes here that he doesn't consider himself quite the singer that Lee Ving is. That's a fair admission. Whereas Ving gave "The Craving" an edgy street attitude, Mustaine's wispier voice doesn't have the same edge or strength. I do like the effort in which Mustaine's guitar fills in for the missing harmonica parts - at least that aspect gives "The Craving" a harder, if more traditional, metal sound than before.

Still, MD.45 is indeed different than other Megadeth releases. And I'm sure there are Megadeth fans who are thrilled to have what is now basically a new Megadeth record. And I'll still play Mustaine's version of "The Craving," just not as often as I'll play the version featuring Lee Ving. 

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"The Craving" (Capitol/Slab; 1996)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Fear vocalist Lee Ving and Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine got together to bang out a few songs. Dave Mustaine has showed considerable versatility with each successive Megadeth CD and with MD.45 it appears that Mustaine is showing yet another side of his songwriting.

I half expected "The Craving" to be errant ditties or songs that couldn't make the cut for Megadeth, but such is not the case. "The Craving" is more of a hard rock/hardcore/punk sounding CD without sounding stereotypical of those genres. The bottom line is that a clear focus to the songs is lacking. Focus, if there is any, is that the songs all sound too much alike - it's one thing to recycle other band's riffs; it's another thing to recycle your own riff ten times.

"The Craving" is uncomplicated, hard charging maximum rock, but it doesn't separate itself from the rock scrap heap. I'm not one to disparage other people's work, but sometimes other people's opinions speak louder than mine: I've yet to come across a discount bin at a used CD store that doesn't have a nearly pristine copy of MD.45's "The Craving" waiting to be purchased for under $3. 

If you like metal that is crisp and has a simple edge to it then MD.45 might pique your interest. Fans of the thrash genre in general will be disappointed in this project, but open-minded Megadeth fans might find Dave Mustaine's involvement in this project intriguing.

And what does MD.45 stand for anyway? My best guess is "Megadeth at 45% strength."

"The Craving" was produced by Dave Mustaine. 

MD.45 is Lee Ving on vocals, Dave Mustaine on guitars, Kelly Lemieux on bass, and Jimmy DeGrasson on drums.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.