People who listened to Megadeth only casually used to complain that the group sounded too much like Metallica. Given that Megadeth singer, songwriter, arranger and guitarist Dave Mustaine was a founding member of Metallica and received songwriting credits on the group's first three albums, you might as well say certain aspects of Metallica sound like Megadeth, especially the from-the-gut speed-core guitar riffs that Mustaine pioneered. The spectacular 1987 Megadeth album So Far, So Good ... So What? demonstrated more than enough originality, versatility and sheer energy to make comparisons superfluous. Rust in Peace, the band's first album in three years, carries Megadeth's individuality into a broader, more open musical arena where nobody can touch them.
Frequent changes of second guitarists and drummers, and the presence of a berserker like Mustaine at the wheel, have sometimes placed Megadeth's stability in question. But the long-awaited Rust in Peace maintains a certain continuity in sound and attitude with the group's first records while demonstrating how much further the concept nasty speed thrash with an almost jazzlike intricacy and drive can go.
It's difficult to isolate new guitarist Marty Friedman's individual contributions within the helter-skelter of pummeling riffs and pyrotechnic leads, but the strong contributions of new drummer Nick Menza are readily apparent. Earlier Megadeth drummers tended to rumble down below like John Bonham on amphetamines, powering the music but cluttering it too. Menza, son of famed jazz saxophonist Don Menza, has the requisite power but also displays a sense of restraint, a mature use of space and texture that lifts the crunching guitar riffs right off the ground, making the entire band swing like mad. And bassist Dave Ellefson hasn't wasted those years off the road; his playing is spectacular and innovative throughout. This is one thrashmetal band that jazzbos can get into, provided the snarl of Mustaine's lead vocals and the sustained level of anger and intensity don't send them running for the door.
Thematically, Mustaine takes on war fever ("Take No Prisoners"), the greenhouse effect and looming ecological disaster ("Dawn Patrol"), organized crime's stranglehold on American society ("Holy Wars ... The Punishment Due") and struggles with substance abuse ("Poison Was the Cure," "Lucretia," "Tornado of Souls"), all with the intensity of a dude who's been close enough to death to shake its clammy hand. The arrangements, using multiple meters, multipart song structures, lightning-quick shifts in density, tempo and accenting, a variety of guitar overtones and sonics and occasional respites from the slamming, full-speed-ahead fervor, are consistently riveting. Many speed-metal bands are formulaic and boring; nobody can level those charges against Megadeth now that Rust in Peace has hit the street. (RS 591)
(Posted: Nov 15, 1990)
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Megadeth, since the beginnings has been known by the powerful and great riffs, complex songs, insane tempos, high quality solos and everything that goes with the essence of a Metal band. This album has it all at its best. With the best line-up the band ever had this album shows great virtuosism and is a must-hear for every fan of the genre. I see it as one of the most memorable albums in the history of metal.
Apr 29, 2007 21:03:17