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Megadeth | Rust in Peace | review | metal | Lollipop
Rust in Peace (Capitol)
by Tim Den
What can be said about Rust in Peace that hasn't already been said? Not only was it Megadeth's crowning achievement creatively, its arrival helped metal reach one of its most breath-taking heights (Seasons in the Abyss, Persistence of Time, Souls of Black, Act III... man the early '90s were good). From start to finish, Rust in Peace lunged with ferocity and desperation, Mustaine and "the new boys," Marty Friedman and Nick Menza, laying to waste the aural battlefield with beautifully choreographed carnage. The riffs were the most tastefully brutal the band would ever write, saturated with melody, yet driven by jet engine hearts. It's almost impossible to critique the album song by song, simply cuz Rust in Peace flowed together seamlessly, each track building upon the next to form an Ultimate Thrash Wall.
Listening to this cleaned-up, remastered reissue, I can't help but mosh myself silly with sentimentality, reflecting on how Rust in Peace has been close to my heart for almost 15 years now. "Tornado of Souls" - my favorite Megadeth song EVER - still gets the hairs on my arm to stand up, and "Take No Prisoners" still feels like it's going to bite my head off. Newly recorded vocals or not (they don't sound that bad, people. Sheesh). And who can forget "Lucretia"? That unforgettably creepy laugh, those slick half-palm muted half-picked arpeggios, that monster truck of a chorus riff (LOVE the ride cymbal there)... it's dynamic, acrobatic, stylish, cleverly-composed, melodically challenging, rhythmically delicious, and most importantly, substantial, the way GOOD metal should be. Shit, the whole album's like that.
And though the inclusion of bonus tracks kinda steps on the original track listing's flow here more than on the other reissues (simply cuz Rust in Peace had such a perfect sequence), the entries are worth their place. Notice the lack of Friedman's "Arabian solo" in the middle of "Holy Wars... the Punishment Due," and the presence of what sounds like a guitar synth playing all the solos (supposedly original guitarist Chris Poland's work). Also notice Mustaine's not-yet-finalized vocal melodies on "Rust in Peace... Polaris." Very nice pieces of work-in-progress that shed light on the band's creative process.
15 years later, Rust in Peace continues to be a standard by which excellent metal is measured. Its first-class blend of technicality, savagery, and finesse not only gave the genre one last, glorious hurrah before "dumb metal" took over, but inspired generations of kids like me to forever strive for that unattainable combination.