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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Megadeth - 1990 Rust In Peace
Megadeth - 1990 Rust In Peace

ARTIST: Megadeth
ALBUM: Rust In Peace
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: CDP 7 91935 2
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2004, Capitol, 72435-98619-2-0 (remastered, bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Dave Mustaine - vocals, guitar * Marty Friedman - guitar * Dave Ellefson - bass * Nick Menza - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Holy Wars... The Punishment Due * 02 Hangar 18 * 03 Take No Prisoners * 04 Five Magics * 05 Poison Was The Cure * 06 Lucretia * 07 Tornado Of Souls * 08 Dawn Patrol * 09 Rust in Peace... Polaris


Over the past decade or so I've spent many reviews lamenting the ongoing state of Megadeth's new albums, each progressively worse than the last, with little indication of the band who once existed on 'Rust in Peace'. Inevitably anything Megadeth does, even almost 25 years later is compared to this album, which rightfully is acknowledged as one of metals definitive recordings. It might be unfair to Mustaine and company, but the decline of the band following this album was staggering, as they morphed into just another faceless metal band. Prior to this album Megadeth was in a constant state of turmoil, with lineup changes occurring frequently and drug use resulting in erratic and unpredictable behavior from Mustaine especially. 1988's 'So Far, So Good.. So What' was an uneven and inferior follow up to 1986's classic 'Peace Sells.. But Who's Buying' and the lineup from the album didn't last long after turmoil between Mustaine and guitarist Jeff Young. Mustaine went back to the drawing board again and this time made two inspired choices in Marty Friedman and Nick Menza, both virtuosos of their chosen instruments. What resulted was the best album of their career, a thrash statement that sounds as fresh as it did in 1990, the sound of a band at their peak, a whole five years into their career.

The Songs
Although it's been said many times before, Mustaine was a different man when he was strung out on drugs. The intensity of his music and songwriting mirrored his addiction, with a rage that made him one of a kind. The opening bars of 'Holy Wars.. The Punishment Due' reflect this attitude, the riffs and lyrics scathing, galloping along at a brutish pace. The buildup is monumental; the dueling guitars the stuff legends are made of. What tantalizes the most is the eventual payoff into full fledged thrash. When it finally rears its head it's so satisfying and heavy that you realize just how few genuine peers Megadeth had back then. 'Hangar 18' is equally as thrilling, with some of the wildest and technical guitar work heard in the genre, leading into a final frenzy that all these years later still manages to bewilder with its total ferocity. The savage nature continues with the crushing blast of 'Take No Prisoners' and Mustaine's cynical take on broken war veterans. The band sounds like some kind of unstoppable machine here, the wall of noise indecipherable once they hit their stride. The sword and sorcery imagery of 'Five Magics' is set to what is surely the definitive galloping riff, putting Iron Maiden to shame with the onslaught. This is heavy metal at its purest and completes one of the more perfect sides of metal ever put to disc.

'Poison Was The Cure' is the fastest song of Megadeth's career, played at a blinding speed that is genuinely impossible to keep up with or headbang to. What's most impressive is how convincing it sounds, clearly the work of a man on the fringe. The first track to tone matters down is 'Lucretia' which is mid-paced and far less manic, almost a precursor to the future, although still with more intent than their future endeavors. 'Tornado Of Souls' musically follows the same path, slightly faster but not thrash also. Melodically its excellent, something Mustaine had mastered the art of and helped separate him from so many derivative second division outfits who could never aspire to this level. 'Dawn Patrol' is a short, bass heavy dirge that is an odd detour musically, but keeping in tune with Mustaine singing in a monotone delivery about the Earth's environmental destruction. 'Rust in Peace.. Polaris' begins the album as it started, with another well constructed thrash epic, with the guitar assault mixing well with Mustaine's (then) trademark snarling vocals. The final few minutes end in a shredding climax of riffs and overall heaviness that are in all honesty the last time Megadeth sounded like a real thrash band.

In Summary
This was the album which finally sealed Megadeth's reputation as a major metal band, delivering on the promise of the 80's in a convincing way. The acclaim for the album was unanimous, with praise showered on it in a manner reserved for heavyweights like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or even Metallica. Sadly it was never built upon and by the time of 1992's 'Countdown To Extinction' Megadeth had slowed things down and followed Metallica's direction into more mainstream metal, something they never recovered from. It turned out to be their biggest selling album, but it never once approached the rawness of 'Rust In Peace'. By 1994's 'Youthanasia' it was over for good, with the thrash days extinct, replaced by a slickness that once seemed unfathomable. It says something that people still expect Megadeth to produce another 'Rust In Peace' even now in their washed up state, instead the public are offered rubbish like 'Super Collider' time after time. Mustaine says those people are living in the past. My retort to that is Megadeth only made four albums that can be classified as thrash, the other ten being half baked melodic metal. He hardly made a vast thrash catalogue, yet that era is the one everyone remembers. And why wouldn't they? 'Rust In Peace' is one of the greatest metal albums of all time and always will be. Something like that will always remain cause for longing for a better time in metal, one that's certainly never to return.

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