Megadeth: Rust in Peace (1990)
In 1990 Metallica released their 'Black Album' and gave us all the impression that they had decided to leave the thrash scene and concentrate on the mainstream music audience. Luckily for us, their rejected former member, Dave Mustaine, had no such intentions (just yet). I think everyone knows the case of Mustaine vs Metallica, but in case you just crawled out from under a rock, let me briefly explain. Dave Mustaine was once a founding member of Metallica. Drug induced bouts of violence and ill-temper got him kicked out of that circle of 'enfants terribles'. Ever since, Dave has had a chip the size of Manhattan on his shoulder. In his own words:" It's like breaking up with your girlfriend and she goes on to become Miss America." I believe this rivalry became Dave's muse. He had to create a better band and release better records than Metallica. In my opinion, he has. Let us now examine one which may arguably be his best of all; and one of the premiere , intelligent ,thrash records of all time, 1990's Rust In Peace.
Other than Dave Mustaine and bass player Dave Ellefson, Megadeth has been a revolving door of musicians; including such notables as the excellent Chris Poland on guitar. The line-up on this disc is the best Dave ever assembled. Joining him and the other Dave are Nick Menza on drums and the superlative Marty Friedman on lead guitars.
Right from the opening notes of "Holy Wars…the Punishment Due" we're grabbed by the throat and never released. The track is fast and complex and contains some sarcastic and witty vocals delivered in Dave's growling ,snarling voice. The following track "Hangar 18" , continues the pace. A semi-serious, semi-mocking song about a man accidentally stumbling onto things he shouldn't have inside Area 51. This track contains one of the finest breaks half way in as the main riff shifts gears on a dime and allows each member to showcase his talent.
"Take No Prisoners" does just that. Mustaine kicks it off with one of his patented riffs and the song hits the ground running. As excellent a 'mosh pit' track as has ever been written. This song is 'old school Megadeth' and harkens us back to the style the band had adopted on So Far, So Good, So What !. This one is followed up by one of Dave's rare forays into the realm of Dungeons and Dragons . "Five Magics" does not sound like a Megadeth track. I have always admired Dave for staying away from these types of sophomoric lyrics . Musically it is a solid number so it does not deter from the overall enjoyment of the disc.
"Poison Was The Cure" is another great tune to mosh to. Clocking in at 2:58, it has a punk feel to it, except for the excellent lead break outro by Marty Friedman , which I would defy any punker to try and emulate. It leads into " Lucretia", one of the tastiest numbers on the disc. Dave Mustaine's groovy guitar riff permeates the track. Friedman's and Mustaine's exchange of licks in the latter portion of the track stands out.
" Tornado Of Souls" does not bring anything new to the table but is solid none-the-less. It does feature some excellent guitar work . "Dawn Patrol" features Dave Mustaine's sarcasm at it's finest. Using a voice reminiscent of the '50's horror flicks, he speaks about how indifferent we all seem to be to the fact that we're polluting our environment. The song acts as a perfect segue to the disc closer and title track.
"Rust In Peace…Polaris" brings us musically full-circle. Dave spits out his venom concerning nuclear weapons . The track ends with a pulse-pounding riff while Dave belts out his final judgement :" Eradication of Earth's population loves Polaris".
Although Dave Mustaine must have surely felt slighted by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, he can hold his head high. The man consistently delivered top-notch discs throughout the '80's and most of the '90's. He clawed , scratched, and growled his way to the top of his profession. Many bands owe him a debt of gratitude, as his unique style of riffing can be heard in the stylings of many younger metal acts. He has done it his way even though that hasn't always been the best way. He evolved as a musician and a songwriter, and for the most part, never sold out to whatever was 'in' at the time. He did veer off that path a little with later releases but a recent viewing of his "Rude Awakening" DVD has me convinced that he has righted his ship.