Rust In Peace


Capitol Records, 1990

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


From the band’s inception, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine seemed to be on a quest. No, not to annihilate Metallica as the heaviest thrash band on the planet (though one can’t deny that had to be on his mind as well). With each album that Megadeth recorded, he took the lessons learned from it—positive and negative—and used them to improve the following disc.

By the time he got to Rust In Peace, Megadeth’s fourth studio effort, all the pieces fell into place. Solid production work, a powerful rhythm section, amazing songwriting and a pace that would snap a woodpecker’s neck, Mustaine and crew had almost made the perfect record.

Out were guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Behler after just one album and tour; in came guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. Simply put, they—along with bassist David Ellefson—were unmatchable and unstoppable. Matching Friedman’s riffs with Mustaine’s was a perfect combination as well… and Mustaine’s vocals are top notch and clearer than they had ever sounded.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The first three songs on Rust In Peace— “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” “Hangar 18” and “Take No Prisoners” —hit like Mike Tyson punches to the kidneys, leaving the listener dazed, but surprisingly begging for more. There isn’t a wasted note among the opening 15 minutes of this album, and it leaves the listener wondering just how Megadeth could top these efforts.

Well… truth is, these are the best tracks on the disc, but that’s not to say the rest of the album sucks. “Poison Was The Cure,” “Tornado Of Souls” and “Rust In Peace… Polaris” are hidden gems on Rust In Peace, all of which suggesting that Megadeth was indeed ready to ascend to the top of the thrash metal throne.

Leaving just three tracks that—albeit slightly—keep this from being a perfect album. There is a lot to celebrate in “Five Magics,” but for me, one portion that I would call the chorus just feels like it is out of place with the overall rhythm of the song, and it breaks the cadence for me completely. “Lucretia” isn’t a terrible track, but it isn’t quite in the league of “Hangar 18” in terms of overall songwriting greatness (though the concept of a song about infamous poisoner Lucretia Borgia is an intriguing idea). And “Dawn Patrol”? Cute concept, but a bit of a throwaway. (Interesting to note that, of these three tracks, the last two were at least partially co-written by Ellefson.)

Still, the quibbles with Rust In Peace are minor. Overall, it is the most powerful effort that Megadeth had created to this point in their career, and it marked a period of lineup stability for the band—something Mustaine might not have been used to, but could easily adopt a liking for. While their previous two albums were solid efforts as well, Megadeth finally came into their own with this release, and definitely belongs on the shelves of anyone who considers themselves to be fans of metal.

Rating: A-

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