Saturday, 19 December 2009

CD Review: Rust In Peace, by Megadeth (1990)

In advance of the fourth Megadeth album, Dave Mustaine fired half his band, sobered up, and then went out and found Marty Friedman as a replacement second guitarist. The band takes a giant leap forward, from a scrappy and underground sound to mainstream success. The fearsome Mustaine / Friedman duo quickly clicked into one of the best thrash heavy metal guitarist pairings, and Rust In Peace captures this partnership at its best.

Mustaine's improved songwriting matched the upgraded abilities of the band, with more complex and layered compositions bringing the best out of Nick Menza's drum kit and David Ellefson's energetic bass.

However, much like all of Megadeth's catalogue, Rust In Peace is an album of peaks and valleys, with some excellent tracks sitting side by side with significantly weaker material.

A strong start features Holy Wars...The Punishment Due as a terrific album opener with a stunning hammerblow of an intro. It's quickly followed by Hangar 18, one of the band's biggest hits with a monstrously successful video hitting the sweet spot with conspiracy theorists everywhere. Hangar 18 is likely just a bit more famous than it needs to be in terms of song quality, with a relatively monotonous melody that breaks into a slightly clumsy instrumental section, but there is no doubting the irresistible power, barely controlled, behind the track.

The album noticeably dips after the promising opening: Take No Prisoners, Five Magics, Poison Was The Cure and Lucretia are not winning any prizes. Although all four songs have their moments, in general they drone on with much more noise and fury than sense and purpose.

Towards the end, another couple of songs produce another peak: Tornado Of Souls is relentlessly fast with a magical, soaring classical-inspired guitar solo by Friedman, well matched by Ellefson laying down an impressively prominent bass line. The short Dawn Patrol is effectively an introduction to the closing track Rust In Peace...Polaris, which matches the album's opening with another tight gallop wound around a threatening guitar attack that builds to absolute mayhem -- a suitable metaphor for nuclear war, and the band itself.


Dave Mustaine - Vocals, Guitar
Marty Friedman - Guitar
David Ellefson - Bass
Nick Menza - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Holy Wars...The Punishment Due - 10 *See Video Below*
2. Hangar 18 - 9
3. Take No Prisoners - 6
4. Five Magics - 6
5. Poison Was The Cure - 7
6. Lucretia - 7
7. Tornado Of Souls - 9
8. Dawn Patrol - n/a (short track)
9. Rust In Peace...Polaris - 10

Average: 8.00

Produced by Mike Clink and Dave Mustaine.
Engineered by Mike Clink and Micajah Ryan.
Mixed by Max Norman.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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