Rust In Peace is a pinnacle album not only in the history of Megadeth, but also the speed/thrash metal genre. Certainly a musical achievement for the band, it is a near-flawless album often ranked in the top five of its genre and number one among fans in their discography. It is also the first Megadeth album to feature Nick Menza on Drums and Marty Friedman on guitar, creating their longest and most stable lineup to date. The album was released on Capitol Records in the fall of 1990. A remastered version was released in 2004 featuring four bonus tracks including demos of “Rust In Peace…Polaris,” “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” and “Take No Prisoners.” The re-issue also features new vocal tracks on several songs since the originals were lost.
The album lyrically deals with themes of warfare, politics, and the environment (“Holy Wars…,” “Take No Prisoners,” “Dawn Patrol,” “Rust In Peace…”), personal experience (“Poison Was The Cure,” “Tornado Of Souls”), and the supernatural (“Hangar 18,” “Five Magics,” “Lucretia”). Musically the band has a lot more focus and their transitions are much smoother than their earlier efforts, which have almost an over indulgent, jazz quality to them. The beginning of Mustaine’s growth as a songwriter and arranger is quite evident on this album, an attribute of his that became more refined on later albums, but with not as great a balance. The album also features encompassing artwork by Ed Repka (Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying) showing Vic Rattlehead conducting a secret meeting at hanger 18 involving the leaders of the five major world powers at the time. This marks the last time Vic would appear on a Megadeth album cover for the next ten years.
In 1992 Megadeth released their commercial breakthrough album Countdown To Extinction, which rivaled the then unstoppable Black Album, released the previous year by Mustaine’s former band Metallica. It was those two albums that marked a change in the waters for the genre both bands had pioneered throughout the nineteen-eighties. If metal was to survive in the rapidly expanding alternative landscape the songs would have to be shorter, catchier, and cleaner; to put it bluntly — watered down. You could chalk it up to musical evolution, maturity, growth as artists; not that there weren’t great songs on those and subsequent albums, but the genre had begun to change. The title Rust In Peace is sort of coincidently prolific considering its place in music history and the immediate future of the metal genre in the nineteen-nineties.
- “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”
- “Hangar 18″
- “Take No Prisoners”
- “Five Magics”
- “Poison Was The Cure”
- “Tornado Of Souls”
- “Dawn Patrol”
- “Rust In Peace…Polaris”
Be sure to check out Peter O’Brien’s thrash metal documentary “Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s & Wanna Be’s” which is currently on the festival circuit.