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Megadeth's Rust in Peace, widely accepted as their finest piece, the pinnacle of their careers, and as one of the greatest achievements in metal all together. However, if you haven't heard it I'm sure you're wondering... "Is it really that good?" or "Will it live up to the hype?". The answer I give you is a resounding "YES!".
The album earns a 95% from me, because from where it starts with the introduction to "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" right up to the end of "Rust in Peace... Polaris" the album is a relentless- all out sonic thrash attack on the listener. The kind of album that deserves an advisory warning the buyer that they may just headbang until their spinal column snaps in every imaginable position. It just doesn't let up, it changes enough to keep you interested, almost every single song on this album is a winner, each filled to the brim with enough thrash riffs to keep even the most attention deficit of fans on their toes.
The album opens with "Holy Wars... The Punishment due", a double track, one song being about, in Mustaine's own words "revolving around the way that war is immanent and it doesn't really matter what country it's in", and the other about the Marvel comic book hero The Punisher. The riffs in this song have about a 9.5 on the headbang scale [if you don't know the headbang scale only goes up to 5]. The drums are never boring, and never let up through out the entire song. The bass isn't lost in the mix as it is in most thrash metal albums, but isn't overly interesting in the sense that it really just follows the guitar. Mustaine's vocals... you either love them or hate them, they've grown on me, but if you're the kind of person that thinks he kinda sounds like a bird being put through some sort of horrible experience my suggestion is to just focus on his playing because it'd be a tragedy to miss out on the Rust in Peace experience because of the vocals.
Next up is "Hanger 18", my personal favorite on the CD. My suggestion, if you've never heard this song before, make sure when you listen to it you really listen to it, I mean crank it - trust me it's a song that warrants being played loud. The song opens with a riff that builds up to a breakdown that leads into a verse riff that leads into a- oh wait... I just realized I was trying to explain a megadeth song as if it were your everyday verse-chorus-verse-chorus-breakdown-chorus-chorus song, my bad. Very technical, but not in a wankery sense ie Necrophagist or Dream Theater, technical enough to be interesting, but not to the point where none of the riffs have a chance to settle. The song has more solos and leads than I care to count, and never lets up. The guitars are constantly attacking you via your ears, the bass thunders, and the drums never give you a second to stop headbanging and catch your breath - all this while Mustaine goes on about aliens and government cover up and what not. If you have a chance watch the music video too, it's hilarious.
I'm sure you'd think it's impossible to top Hanger 18 with anything, however before you even have a chance to let your hair settle from all the headbanging you did with the prior track, "Take No Prisoners" starts, a song that's title really expresses the true attitude of this CD. Right from the opening riff of the song you begin to wonder if you bit off way more than you can chew with this CD, but it's too late to turn back now, you're in too deep and before you even know what hit you- you've been sucked right away into the whirlwind of riffs that is Rust in Peace. Onward with the review, the song - if I tried to express it riff by riff I'd end up writting a document that would make the Gettysburg Address look like a postcard. I'll just give you the bare minimum of what you need to know about it. It's, you guessed it- fast and technical complete with a chorus that yells "Take no prisoners, take no shit!".
Don't put the horns down yet folks, because up next is "Five Magics" which opens up with a thrashy riff and moves into a mid pace bass riff with a haunting lead over it. Don't let the mid paced opening fool you into thinking that Megadeth have run out of thrash riffs, because before you know it the song picks up the pace with a chorus that once you know once it comes on you can't help but yell with Dave "Give me alchemy, Wizardry..." well, you'll learn it when you hear it.
"Poison was the cure" is a short track, just shy of three minutes. Opening with just a bass intro and then quickly explodes into a track that's seems very reminiscent of Motorhead style speed metal. A cool, quick little track, sadly though it just isn't up to par with the rest of the album. The structure is much less insane and chaotic than the rest of the album, and seems to follow a much more standard structure more than the other songs. Overall it's not a god awful song or anything, and it's not even really a filler track, but in context with the rest of the album it definitely contributes to it not getting a 100%.
Next we hear the cackle of deranged old lady and then you're taken away by the melodic and haunting opening of "Lucretia". Another very technical thrash packed song, with enough riffs to put the attention span of Mustaine and Friedman in a seriously questionable position. One of the few songs on the album I can honestly say that Dave's vocals really add to the over all atmosphere of the song, definitely one of the cooler tracks on the album. I've heard the lyrics are about Mustaine's grandmother, I suppose it works, if his grandmother's name is Lucretia.
Bam! You're hit with the intro riff of "Tornado of Souls". One of the most technical tracks on the album. Very headbangable, this is another song that warrants being played loud- very, very loud. Plenty of harmonies, leads, solos, riffs and lyrics that you can't help but scream whenever it comes on. "Not for the money, not for the fame!". I believe there are seven solo's total in this song, and not simple tremolo solo's like Slayer either, solo's that put even those with basic knowledge of guitar playing in a catatonic, zombie like state of shock.
Next up on Rust in Peace is "Dawn Patrol", or as I like to call it, the coffee break in Rust in Peace. Seriously what the hell is with this track? Did they forget all their equipment the day that the decided to record this? It's just a boring bass line with simple drums behind it. Where are the riffs? WHY MEGADETH? Why did you put this here? Let me try to give a proper analogy of what this song is like. Say you're having sex with quite possibly the greatest woman in the world- a goddess we'll say. Right before you orgasm, she suddenly turns into a man, nasty hairy lumberjack that reeks of burbon and Monarch cigarettes- completely out of context with the album, cool words wasted on a pointless track.
Luckily for us though "Dawn Patrol" isn't even two minutes long, and the album closes with "Rust in Peace... Polaris". A song that- in the true vein of thrash rips you a new asshole, spits in it and rapes your mother while you watch and whimper like a little girl. Another great song, with riffs that reach out from the speaker and punch you in the face if they don't feel like you're paying enough attention to them. Raise the horns for this song, another great thrashy track that closes a truly great thrash album.
Rust in Peace- "Is it worth the hype?". Hopefully you know now that it isn't just the typical hype that surrounds so many bands nowadays, this is one of the few albums that truly deserves the respect it gets. Raise the horns, spin your hair, play air guitar and yell the lyrics along with this one, if you've yet to hear it, I strongly recommend this track to anyone who hasn't already heard it, if you've yet to hear a Megadeth album, pick this one up before you do any other.