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I don’t consider this Megadeth’s most classic album, but it’s damn near close. With the addition of Marty Friedman on lead guitar, Megadeth became pretty much the most talented and most technical thrash band of their time. Rust in Peace is easily among the genre’s fastest, heaviest, and most intricate offerings and pretty much an undisputed example of thrash metal virtuosity at its finest.
Naturally, the guitar work is the highlight of this album. The riffing is fast and intricate, as is the songwriting. Some of the band’s most complex passages are included here and definitely some of their heaviest rhythm work. Guitar solos are frequent and unbelievable. Every one is beautifully crafted and masterfully written. The Mustaine/Friedman tag team is the band’s most complementary duo, their lead styles mixing incredibly well. And guitar solos are definitely frequent. “Hanger 18” has something along the lines of eleven individual solos by itself. The guitar work is indeed amazing, but benefits greatly from killer drumming and bass throughout. Great fills throughout for the drums and the bass gets a lot of rhythmic highlights. A solid performance from both.
The songwriting is in top form here as well. Lyrics are awesome, song construction is brilliant, and tempos are dynamic. No two songs have the same feel, a bit of a rarity among thrash metal. Mustaine’s vocals aren’t going to blow you away, but his snarl is welcome here, especially considering the lyrical subject matter. The anti-political sentiment expressed on previous albums culminates to its fullest here and the result is quite memorable and surprisingly topical even today, though the lyrics don’t dwell on the subject for the whole album. The songs are just as varied, most notably the entirely bass driven “Dawn Patrol.” Some don’t like its inclusion, but it definitely fits the mood of the album, if its not an outstanding track in and of itself.
Overall, we have another solid album by one of thrash’s greatest contributors. This album’s lineup would go on to become the band’s longest lived, though not necessarily the most consistent. Regardless, this album is amazing. Pretty much an essential listen.
Classics: Holy Wars/The Punishment Due, Hanger 18, Take No Prisoners, Lucretia, Rust in Peace/Polaris