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on October 7, 2008
This album is an easy 4 stars, but the new remix/remaster is vastly inferior to the original mix. Hunt down the original and avoid this new version at all costs. The reason for the remix/remaster is perplexing because Cryptic Writings was recorded on "state-of-the-art" digital equipment (back in 1997). At only 11 years old, it really amazes me that they would even take the time to remaster, let alone remix it. That being said, the new remix is HORRIBLE. The guitar tone has much more mid and lacks the crunch of the original. Back when this first came out I was trying for months to achieve this type of guitar tone on my was that good. Well, now it just sounds weak. To top it off, the overall sound is muddy now....if you remember the original mix you'll know that it was very punchy and alive. For a good (stark) example of the difference in quality, just compare the drum intro to Trust for both versions, side by side. It's immediately apparent that the quality and clarity isn't in tact. It's a shame...

This new remix actually deserves only 2 stars at the most, but I couldn't bring myself to give it that low of a rating. 3 stars is generous, and like I said, the original is at least 4 stars.
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on March 30, 1999
Disc 1 is nothing more than the Japanese release of 'Cryptic Writings'. The 2nd disc on the other hand, is called 'Live Trax II', and was recorded in Phoenix, AZ (a.k.a. Megadeth, AZ), right before the release of 'Cryptic Writings'.
The show was recorded in a smaller venue, so you feel as though they are performing a special show just for you. It is a great performance, and the love songs consist of:
1) Almost Honest 2) A Toute Le Monde 3) Sweating Bullets 4) Symphony Of Destruction 5) Anarchy In The U.K.
And then there are 2 remixes which I could care less about of 'Almost Honest'. If you have to have only one of the 2 Live Trax CDs, get the 1st.
But, if your like me and cannot get enough live Megadeth, get this CD! Its worth the $$$!
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on September 22, 2015
It was a chance encounter online when I heard "A Secret Place" and was surprised at how good it was. "Risk" left a bad taste in my mouth and post 1990 I take most everything that Dave Mustaine does with a grain of salt. Still, this is a pretty good album. "Almost Honest", "Trust" and "Use The Man" were already familiar to me and I was happy to find that the rest of the album holds up. This was in the period where Dave was really pushing for that radio single and it shows, but unlike Metallica their stuff didn't lose as much bite. The aggression and complexity of the music held firmer here and this to me is a really good crossover in the vein of the Black Album. I wouldn't go so far to say this is a lost classic, but I will say that this is a solid album worth the time and effort.
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on March 16, 2008
I agree with Mr. Costa. This is an exceptionally good album. So it's catchy? Why is that a bad thing? If you want to listen to music with no recognizable melody, go buy some jazz. Just for the record, I have nothing against jazz. I'm just so sick of people complaining about how their favorite bands become too "commercial". I just want to hear great music played by talented musicians. If it's radio friendly, so be it. Just listen to all the Nu Metal crap out there. Those bands don't even compare to Megadeth. Someone said this album is light on solos compared to other Megadeth albums. Well, most guitarists in these newer bands can't even play a decent solo. People in this country have become lazier and lazier and this is reflected in modern metal as well. Dave Mustaine is twice the age of these modern "musicians" and he still rocks twice as hard to this day!!! He's the hardest working metal musician of all time! How many other people could recover from a devastating injury and play guitar with the same intensity that they did 20 years ago? Cryptic Writings is a great album. It is one of the best albums from the nineties.
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on October 5, 2005
In 1996, Dave Mustaine's former band (Metallica) alienated their cult following by releasing "Load," an album which was very commercial, simplified, and alternative. And even though Dave Mustaine and Megadeth would eventually follow suit and release "Risk" in 1999, they first made an album (1997's "Cryptic Writings") which pleased all metal fans, and helped make the Metallica fans less angry. Megadeth's seventh studio album was, at the time, definitely their best effort since "Rust In Peace" came out in 1990. "Cryptic Writings," which is kind of like a combinations of Megadeth's last two albums (1992's "Countdown to Extinction" and 1994's "Youthanasia"), is full of crunchy riffs, memorable hooks, and famous, acrobatic guitar solos from axemen Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman. "Trust," "She-Wolf," and "Vortex" are all instant `Deth classics, and "Almost Honest" includes an incredible, long, wailing guitar solo. Elsewhere, "Use The Man" begins with acoustic strums and has a rhythm which subtly gains momentum and speed, "The Disintegrators" features fast, stutter-stepping riffs, "I'll Get Even" has a very infectious and memorable sing-along chorus, and "A Secret Place" has a catchy, "Rust In Peace"-esque vibe and rhythm. So, "Cryptic Writings" is definitely another great Megadeth album, it is a mostly successful attempt at returning to the thrash sound of the 1980's, and it is, in my opinion, better than both "Youthanasia" and "Countdown to Extinction." And if Dave Mustaine hadn't made "The System Has Failed" in 2004, this disc would still be Megadeth's best album this side of 1990. Plus, if you buy the remastered edition, you get an unreleased bonus track ("Bullprick") which is also essential for every diehard Megadeth collection.
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on September 15, 2000
This, quite simply, eclipses any of Megadeth's previous work (including their pretty good new album, RISK). The band got a mixture of flack from old fans, and praise from critics on this album, and for once I'm going to side with the critics. As a collection of songs, as heavy metal that's supposed to give you energy, to make you want to rock out, Megadeth has really served up a classic here. Some fans detest this, but this album is truly like Metallica's BLACK album, but better. Now, I love Metallica, and in general like them more than Megadeth (I have ALL the albums by both bands), but this one changed my perspective (and I was let down a little by RISK). Anyways, this is more of a departure from the bands more progressive elements (where YOUTHANASIA really began the move towards a more accessible sound). However, while Megadeth has gone more commercial here, the result is an album that had great success on radio for a reason. "Trust" is Megadeth's best song, period. It's a bit like a catchier "Enter Sandmand". "Almost Honest", "A Secret Place", "Use The Man", this entire album is consistently strong, with the addition of one element that seriously elevates Megadeth's music-hooks! For fans of heavy metal (particularly fans of Metallica's BLACK album), this is a must-have. This is the place to start a Megadeth collection, as their most accessible album. The old stuff, from the PEACE SELLS...BUT WHO'S BUYING period is great, but CRYPTIC WRITINGS, like any truly great album, managed to change my perspective (for the better) of this band forever. My only fear is that they'll never live up to this album again.
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on August 26, 2015
Just got it today-8/26/2015!! I love it!! Awesome!! Fantastic!! Amazon is like a Xmas Wonderland!! I will be doing all of my shopping here!! Great music store!! Great!! Amazon has everything you could ever imagine or want!! :o)
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on July 7, 2011
With Cryptic Writings, it seems that Megadeth and Mustaine have made a stylistic transformation from being metal thrashers to melodic heavy rockers, and that's a compliment to them as musicians and as a group. The band had changed management and Dave had become under the tutelage of co-manager Bud Prager(E.S.P.) for creative control over Megadeth's musical direction on this offering.

The leadoff cuts Trust and Almost Honest have a heavy, yet smoother groove to them and there is more of an involved production displayed as well as one listens further into this disc. Choosing producer Dann Huff and recording in Nashville(how's that for a metal band!!) Megadeth's sound on Cryptic is something like power metal, if you will, which although was on display in Youthanasia in spots, is much more to the fore here. Use the Man follows in this path with acoustic guitars interspersed with some guitar effects within the usual crunch of electric tones that adorn 90% of the Megadeth guitar sound, culminating in a track that is quite different from the atypical Mustaine tune. Naturally, there is growth on display here within this release and is a necessary step for the guys to take the band further within their musical career, for better or for worse. Mastermind has a midpaced menance about it and delivers very well along with Mustaine's incomparable vocals and lyrics. The Disintegrators is one of a handful of vintage Megadeth songs in this collection that still proves the band hasn't forgotten its thrash metal roots. I'll Get Even and A Secret Place are similar in tempo and approach musically with Trust and Almost Honest from earlier and provide the album with a solid base of well crafted material. She-Wolf has an Iron Maiden-ish quality about it that reminds one of the guitar harmonies of say, The Trooper or Hallowed Be Thy Name in its intents and is another vintage classic within Mustaine's pool of material. Have Cool, Will Travel also possesses a vintage Megadeth sound within its duration and adds more of the wealth of quality songwriting displayed.

With the 2004 remaster, one is treated to the original versions of Sin(Evil That's Within), Vortex and FFF(Bullprick) which were reconstructed on the advice of Bud Prager to smooth out the lyrical concepts on these numbers, but I much prefer the original and/or demo versions as they seem more powerful and direct in their attack and desired sonic qualities. Mustaine admits that he went along with alot of Prager and Huff's guidance and suggestions as he felt they were going to give him the ultimate ace-in-the-hole of a record that would further move forward Megadeth's commercial fortunes; yet I think in hindsight, he should have reliquinshed a bit more control involving these factors of redesigning and compromising Megadeth's music. That being said, I think Cryptic Writings is a solid effort that eclipses Youthanasia by a notch and by going through these experiences musically, we're able to enjoy the current status of Megadeth whose last record, Endgame, I thought was extremely heavy and fast, yet you can still hear a bit of the influence of releases like these to give a reminder of the many facets of Mustaine and Megadeth, itself. 3 and a half stars
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on April 21, 1999
while it doesn't match up to their three previous cds, it is still solid megadeth, there is no fear of metallica-ish turning alternative here. 'FFF' sounds like something from 'rust in peace' and 'disintegrators' could almost have come from 'peace sells...' This may be a new high in sales for Megadeth, but it isn't a radio cd, it is still pure metal with no excuses, no attempts at going mainstream. It is similar to Youthanasia in one big way, it isn't what you expect. When i heard about Youthanasia, i was expecting a full cd of 'holy wars...the punishment due' and was of course very disappointed, but after i gave it another try about a month later, i loved it and to this day consider it right up there with RIP and Countdown as their best efforts. Cryptic Writings is the same way, listen to it a couple times and get the feel of it, and you'll realize it is still pure, unashamed metal that has never been toned down or made to play nice for radio time.
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on December 17, 2005
After the perfection of 1992's Extinction & 1994's Youthanasia, Megadeth come out with Cryptic Writings in 1997, a year after Metallica released Load and shocked half of their fans into fits with changes in both appearance and musical direction. Well...not Megadeth. Sure, they were becoming more and more popular and more and more mainstream metal, but they were still Megadeth and as long as Dave Mustaine was in charge, very little was going to change. Not as brilliant as the two previous discs, Cryptic Writings still boasts some great tunes. Trust & Almost Honest start things rolling very solidly. Use The Man is one of my personal favorite songs. I'll Get Even is cool. She-Wolf absolutely f*cking rox! A Secret Place is middle of the road. All the rest is weak in some way or another and mostly filler. Still a very potent effort, things will start to come down around Megadeth's ears on the next outing. Beware...

Dig it!
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