Well, this is not our first review on a "Megadeth" album, but it is probably the most exciting we wrote in relation to this amazing band.
On September 24, 1990, "Megadeth" released their fourth album "Rust In Peace" and is no less than a "Master-Piece".
Let's release it right here and now, if there's an Olympus of Metal, then this album is definitely there. Exemplary album, immortal, timeless, perfect, masterpiece, classic! And a lot of other superlatives that exist in the lexicon.
And now, after we have released it and calmed down, let's say a few words about it.
If you ask any fan of the band what is the best "Megadeth"'s album, we are sure that the vast majority will point to "Rust In Peace" as an album that the best defines the whole band, its essence and roots, and its unique sound. So to understand how all this happened, we need to go back a bit and rummage through the circumstances that led to the creation of this wonderful album.
In 1988, "Megadeth"'s performed at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donnington in front of an audience of over 100,000 fans. Following the successful performance, the festival organizers wanted to add "Megadeth" to the list of bands that will continue their "Monsters of Rock" tour in Europe. But, the offer comes at a bad time for the band. Bassist David Ellefson drops out after just one show due to drug issues, guitarist Jeff Young doesn't get along with the rest of the band members and drummer Chuck Behler was too stoned to play an entire set, in a way that forced Dave Mustaine to fire them. It turned out that instead of taking advantage of the momentum and opportunity given to the band with Chuck Behler's tour, Dave Mustaine sees how his band crumbles before his eyes. But Mustaine does not give up. He offers Chuck Behler's drum technician the role of a drummer in the band. Nick Menza was well aware of the drum parts on the band's songs and there were times when he had already replaced Chuck Behler, when he was unable to play, so it was only natural that Mustaine would offer him the job. In the guitarist slot, things were not so simple. Mustaine turned every stone to find a guitarist who would fit the band's strict requirements. Among the various candidates was also a young guitarist named Diamond Darrell from the band "Pantera", who would later go by the name Dimebag Darrell. Dimebag agreed, but only on condition, that his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, also join Megadeth. Mustaine did not agree, since he only recently hired Nick Menza's services, so in the end, this collaboration did not happen. Mustaine later stated that he had to comply with Dimbag's request and then he had the best band in the world. Another candidate whose name came up in connection with the position of guitarist in the band was Jeff Waters from "Annihilator", but this did not happen either. Mustaine described the search for a replacement guitarist as exhausting and tedious. At one point Mustaine comes to the band director Ron Lafitte's office and sees a copy of Marty Friedman's "Dragon's Kiss" album. He thought the album cover was a bit silly but got knocked down about Friedman's playing. He immediately invites Friedman to an audition and Friedman simply slaughters the guitar in front of Mustaine's eyes and immediately gets accepted as the fourth and final member of what will become the band's classic and most stable lineup.
(Photo: Gene Kirkland)
Reinforced by new forces and by a more sober Dave Ellefson, the band enters "Rumbo" studios in California and begins recording, but this is where the problems began. Original producer Dave Jurdin does not survive the intense process and is soon replaced by Mike Clink, largely thanks to his work on "Guns N 'Roses"' "Appetite for Destruction" album, and UFO's "Strangers in the Night". At the same time, Mustaine revealed in later interviews that whoever had to finish the production work was ultimately himself, since Mike Clink was busy at the time, producing the "Guns N 'Roses"' double albums "Use Your Illusion I & II" that were recorded In the same studio.
The idea for the album title came from a sticker that Mustaine saw on the back of a car that read, "Nuclear Weapons May They "Rust In Peace". Dave loved the punch and the protest against nuclear weapons.
The album cover was designed by Ed Repka the same artist who designed the album cover for "Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?" from 1986. The cover is influenced by a scene from the song "Hangar 18" featuring Vic Rattlehead standing over an alien's body with the world leaders including Gorbachev and Bush watching from behind.
And a bit about the content, the riffs Dave Mustaine wrote for every song on this album (except for "Dawn Patrol" which only includes bass, drums, and vocals), are the best he has ever written. Dave and Marty's solos are simply pure genius, and the combination of Ellefson and Menza is simply divine. Just listen to their oiled and well-synchronized rhythm section in the song "Take No Prisoners" and you will understand what it is all about.
Every song on this album is a work of thought, a masterpiece, made by a master artist.
Already in the opening song "Holy Wars ... The Punishment Due", we receive two gifts in one box. The quick and edgy opening of "Holy Wars" with one of the most beautiful riffs ever written in Metal, and the transition section with Friedman's classical guitar, starting at 2:15 minutes, which is a bridge to the heavy and creepy section "The Punishment Due". The song continues to be built gradually with 2 melodic solos by Marty Friedman and then the turbo button is pushed, the rhythm rises and climbs towards Dave's third and final solo which simply burns the guitar before leading us to the last verse and end of the song. The lyrics of the song "Holy Wars" refer to the global conflict and in contrast to what many believe, to the situation in Northern Ireland and not the situation in Israel. Dave Mustaine said he wrote the song after discovering fake band t-shirts in Northern Ireland, which were used to raise funds for the Army of the Republic of Northern Ireland. In contrast, the lyrics of the song "The Punishment Due" are based on the comic book of "Marvel The Punisher".
The second track "Hangar 18" is influenced by alien theory and refers to "Hangar 18" located at the U.S. Air Force base in Dayton Ohio. Nick Menza wrote the lyrics after watching an 80s film of the same name and Dave Mustaine composed a variation on the track "The Call of Ktulu" which he wrote for "Metallica" and for which he also received credit on the "Ride The Lightning" album. The bass guitar in this song is tuned in full tone down, while the guitars are in standard tuning. It's one of the band's most complex songs with insane transitions and rhythm changes that have been influenced by the progressive genre. The sequence of solos starting at 2:35 is simply inconceivable. Ingenious, brilliant, and accurate.
The opening of the third track "Take No Prisoners" just breaks down all the bones in our bodies over and over again, no matter how many times we have already listened to the song. What an amazing bass work by Ellefson, who proves time and time again that he is one of the great bassists in Thrash Metal. This song was written about the invasion of Normandy (D-Day) in World War II, the campaign defined here by Megadeth in the lyrics of the song as "the beginning of the end". And this song certainly puts you into the depths of the greatest naval landing operation in history, into the inferno that took place there, the shelling, the mines, the artillery, and the stubborn warfare that ultimately turned out to be the turning point in the campaign against Germany.
In the fourth song "Five Magics" the narrator character lives under the rule of the Dark Lord from which he is interested in freeing himself. The heavy and dark opening with Ellefson's bass chords and threatening riffs really blends in with the content of the story, with the protagonist of the plot devoting his life to learning five magic tricks that will help him deal with the Dark Lord and overthrow him from his chair. But something just happens along the way and as the protagonist of the story becomes more and more specialized in learning the magic he sinks into the lust for power and slowly becomes the evil character he wants to overthrow. But it does not end here, because, in the end, the Dark Lord who already knows the secrets of witchcraft including the five spells defeats the hero. Dave manages to illustrate through his poetry, the changing rhythms and changing dynamics of the song, the story of the act. But what's special about this, is that we think it's the only Megadeth's song that deals with fantasy, correct us if we were wrong.
The opening track on the other side of the vinyl "Poison Was the Cure" was written by Dave Mustaine about his heroin addiction and the fact that he thought the chemicals would be a "cure" for his problems. What mind-blowing drumming from Menza, especially starting with the short drumming part at 0:55 and the hell that erupts after it with the crazy solos of Marty and Dave.
Immediately after that comes "Lucretia" with the scary laughter of the ghost that opens the song, telling of the ghost living in Dave's attic, which every now and then sneaks up on her at night, when everyone is asleep.
"Tornado Of Souls" with the amazing opening riff that includes string clogging, was written by Ellefson and Mustaine and talks about ending a morbid relationship. Towards the end of the song, Mustaine tells how he gives the girl the "kiss of death" and all sorts of conspiracy theories have been raised about it. The song features one of the classic and beloved solos in metal, which no doubt earns the nickname "Tornado of Solo" and which even Marty Friedman himself has confirmed, is one of his greatest. Friedman said that when he finished playing the solo for Mustaine for the first time, Dave Mustaine simply kept quiet, got up from his chair, and without saying a word shook Friedman's hand.
"Dawn Patrol" refers to global warming and the environment. It is led by Ellefson's amazing bass work and Dave's bizarre singing, which give the song a strange appeal and bizarre twist.
The closing song "Rust in Peace ... Polaris" refers directly to the Cold War and nuclear armament, with an explicit mention of the UGM-27 Polaris ballistic missiles that carried a nuclear warhead. The song was originally called "Child Saint" and was originally composed in the early 1980s even before Mustaine joined "Metallica".
"Rust in Peace" is a Metal classic, a masterpiece, it's "Megadeth" in its heyday with its classical lineup and amazing playing technique and it's probably also the band's best album.