Megadeth Rust In Peace

by Osovar

This is one of the classics worthy of its praise, and should unite both casual listeners and underground connoisseurs in this opinion. It might feel rather fruitless to review a classic of this scale at this point, but after re-listening to it multiple times lately and learning to play some of the tracks I felt compelled. Most of everything that can be said about this album was probably already said but I figured I’d give some further analysis of the songwriting and tracks.

The album fuses thrash with speed and heavy metal, and creates what has since then been recognized as the signature Megadeth sound. Regardless of how Dave feels on the matter, him getting kicked out of Metallica literally benefited everyone in the metal world because it led to the creation of this album (and the rest of Megadeth). The album sees Megadeth (specifically the line up at the time) working as a united front of ultimate thrash metal deliverance.

Songs don’t follow a simple verse – chorus structure, although there are choruses in most of them. “Holy Wars” starts the album in an intense thrashing mood, and in itself is a journey that keeps on evolving and giving. The rhythm guitar blasts you with elaborate and fast single note (as opposed to power chord) riffs, as a slower melody begins playing on top of it, before continuing into the first verse that Mustaine manages to sing while playing these quick thrashing riffs. The song breaks into a halt at the memorable flamenco-inspired bridge, into a power chord focused breakdown riff, then continues developing the song in a mid-paced manner using motifs from before. The song then picks up the pace again and blasts you with a catchy thrash riff with the first solo of the album on top of it. One could think the aforementioned bridge is a nod to the rather gay interlude in the middle of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, as another one of Mustaine’s efforts to constantly one up his former bandmates, although here it is much more brief as there is no time for flowery masturbation when there’s a speed metal song to complete.

This slowing down and later continuing into further escalation before the climax of the song is repeated a few times on the album, on “Hangar 18” the song starts in a more mid-paced and melodic manner and sounds more like a heavy metal song before the band reminds you who you’re dealing with. The song starts with a chord progression on the higher strings, and evolves into the simplistic slidy-bendy riff that everyone knows. Mustaine tells us about what really goes on in area 51, before diverging into a mid paced solo, before repeating the verse chorus and yet another short solo. The song rather abruptly jumps into a bouncier riff with a solo still going on top of it, then as the solo ends the riff naturally progresses into a heavier and thrashier riff with a more explosive lead phrase on top of it. It keeps going between the heavier riff and the previous one with these short solos on top of it. Despite the heavy focus on guitar wankery it never actually feels wankery in the way progressive metal tends to be. The solos play around in a duet with the thrashy riffs and they naturally accelerate together with the rest of the song.

“Take No Prisoners” on the other hand is just blasting at 110% intensity from the first second to the last. It’s the perfect thrash song. It keeps evolving and blasting you with riffs upon riffs, occasionally giving you a very brief pause that lasts for merely one bar, before blasting off into another riff. It’s like the guitars are having a highway speed dialogue with each other and Mustaine on top. Even this track that is constantly blasting at full speed manages to feel like a journey that keeps evolving. It never feels like a riff salad. The riffs progress in a way where two riffs are essentially interacting with each other and slowly getting more and more compressed towards each other, becoming separate by less bars until they burst into a different riff that’s derivative of the previous ones. This happens multiple times throughout the song. Just when you thought the riff at 0:38 is gonna be the main riff of this song (it kind of is), and it is a bouncy and intense thrash riff, the guitars suddenly run down the neck at max speed into a sort of groovy rock intermission riff, before exploding into an even faster riff that is made of power chords and rock n’ roll inspired licks on the lower strings with Mustaine singing every 2nd bar. The song continues into yet another riff from a similar style, and then changes it up a bit. The bouncy pseudo main riff returns towards the end just before evolving into an outro riff with solos on top of it. This song never lets go and is has no filler seconds in it, it’s perfect.

The following “Five Magics” starts with a much needed breather in the form of a bass intro that goes into the eerie sort of riffage Mustaine occasionally has, like on the intro to The Conjuring, sort of reminiscent of Sabbath but not too much. After a rather long 2 minute intro the song goes into a basic thrashy chugging riff with solos overlayed on it, and you remember that this is still Rust in Peace. The riff is suddenly broken up by a previous riff from the intro, with a slower solo on top. The solo isn’t too eerie sounding like the riff but isn’t as bombastic as the ones on before. The riff develops slightly before a heavy thrashing riff smashes into it, slowly beginning to escalate in a chord progression vaguely similar to the intro riff. The song keeps escalating introducing some galloping riffage, bridged by a drumless riff into yet another haunting solo piece that keeps going on top of a speedy thrashing riff as it occasionally is semi-interrupted by a galloped riff synced with the drums, until the end.

“Poison Was The Cure” starts again with a bass intro, building up into speedy-groovy Megadeth riffage by way of a temporary generic chugging riff. The fast riff is again beautifully halted for brief moments in the signature Megadeth way for Mustaine to sing using heavy drums and rhythmic power chords. It immediately goes into an escalating chord progression into a short release and further signature Megadeth escalation that reminds of “Looking Down the Cross” and “In My Darkest Hour”. The last 30 seconds have a solo overlayed on top as the chords keep escalating into a final release.

“Lucretia” is probably the weak point of the album, and is more mid-paced in its entirety. Or at least compared to the rest of the album. It starts with the same sort of riff as the intro of “Five Magics” and “The Conjuring”, before going into a mid-paced bouncy riff interluded with the intro again. It is followed by a climbing and descending riff in the vein of Take No Prisoners but much slower (so more akin to KIMB). The band goes on to play solos on top of a chord progression that’s vaguely based on the intro riff that ends up not going anywhere nor escalate like the rest of this album loves to do. It’s a decent track but misses the key ingredient of speed and the edge the rest of the album has.

“Tornado of Souls”, one of the more well known tracks and a track that has one of the most famous solos in metal, starts with a nice pinch harmonic based riff that goes into an escalating single note riff and into a chugged power chord version of that same riff. Despite also being a mid paced song like the previous one it feels a lot more impactfull in the deliverance of the groovy riffs and vocal lines. The song goes through the verse-chorus loop before again playing the intro riff, into a melodic progression that is reminiscent of Iron Maiden, and could be seen as proto-melodeath, and on to the solo. It starts out slow and bendy, progressing into a tapping section with lots of tremelo picking and some short sweep picking. This solo is a bit on the long part and is never split up or really interacts with the rhythmic guitar in an interesting way, but is a very formidable guitar solo as it stands. The song ends with the chorus riff repeated, but without the chorus being sun, as Megadeth are aware that repeating choruses too much is lame.

The final song is separated from the rest of the album with Dawn Patrol, a short bass intermission that is longer than the intros of tracks 4 and 5, with Mustaine spookily speaking over it about humanity’s doom.

“Rust In Peace… Polaris” is the culmination of all before, this time starting with a bouncy drum intro that advances into a dialogue between the drums and the guitars into a short lead that naturally turns into the main riff, which is of the signature groovy Megadeth variety, akin to the KIMB title track main riff. The riffs progress together with Mustaine’s singing into a beautiful groovy way adding slide-bend note pairs similar to what happened on “Hangar 18”, into the chorus which has multiple sections, going from a power chord progression into an up-and-down riff. After repeating the verse chorus sections, the song bursts into a heavier thrash riff that is derivative of the intro, and again shows the constantly escalation that stops briefly for short phrases and keeps going as the song ends on a burst.

Unlike their main peers, Metallica, there are no songs that drag on for too long (think 7-8 minutes). Songs like “Holy Wars” and “Hangar 18” feel longer than they are because they have so much in them and develop constantly without mundanely going back to the chorus just for the sake of it. Imagine how lame it would be if after “Hangar 18” escalates into thrashing/soloing insanity, Dave goes back to singing “Hangar 18 I know too much”. It would be so lame writing this induces embarrassment.

Another thing this album shows, as do a lot of the more extreme metal classics, is how pointless and frankly shit of a genre progressive metal is, seeing as this achieves being progressive without pointless noodling and wankery, or inferior songwriting.

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28 thoughts on “Megadeth Rust In Peace

  1. canadaspaceman says:

    I didn’t like the song “Lucretia” when the album was released.
    Took me a very long time to accept it.
    Might have been years.
    Too many other bands copied the groove thrash style of it.

    1. It’s fine but doesn’t feel up to par with the rest of the album. It would belong on their next two more.

      1. seaman says:

        Great album! Megadeth from this time period had unbelievable attitude and chops for days to go with it.

        1. Yeah and there’s a 1990 concert where they’re hilariously playing it at 120% speed, they were on fire

          1. Ballsack says:


  2. Flying Kites says:

    All speed metal is masturbation, or maybe Millenialism just sucked.

    Anyways, we need more socks reviews.

    1. Masturbator Annihilator says:

      Wankcore doesn’t resolve and progress songs as satisfyingly as RIP does.

      1. Ass Master Fart Blaster says:

        Masturbation can be sold like any other product, just put numbers to it.

  3. maelstrrom says:

    I always skip Dawn Patrol. The whole bass solo format was pointless with Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) and it’s pointless here.

    1. Wanker says:

      Sod off, “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” is awesome. And not just because everyone on here masturbates to Burton’s trousers.

      1. maelstrrom says:

        Nope. 4:19 of wasted time

        1. The original metalheads were black says:

          At least it’s not Orion which is entirely worthless

  4. Tornado of Souls >>>>> 99% of black metal says:

    A masterpiece. Fuck any holier than thou mainstream = bad faggot who dislikes this.

    1. Lars Ulrich says:

      Being mainstream isn’t why though. Mhenever I listen to 80s Megadeth I just get the urge to put on Metallica instead. Even without Mustaine’s vocals they sound like a Mickey Mouse version of Metallica, never really evolving from the Kill ‘Em All cool riff salad style. It’s not terrible but it’s like a fucking diet version of Jaymz & Co.

      1. seaman says:

        Nonsense. Hetfield could never write a riff like My Last Words.

      2. Real brainlet opinion Lars. Megadeth has much more interestingly structured songs and better crafted riffs that still deliver a thrashing impact, like Hook In Mouth. Metallica just repeats verses and choruses ad nauseum. You only like them more because of the vocals and choruses, as the basic botch you are.

        1. Lars Ulrich says:

          Shut up you tryhard faggit, that’s a bunch of unqantifiable humbug and hogwash I dare say. Neither Metallica nor Megadeth is about trying to make “interesting structures”, it’s about making catchy riffs that gets the blood pumping. And Mustaine is a lame also-ran in this regard. He’s the Satyr to Jaymz’s Nocturno Culto.

          1. Whether intentional or not (probably is) that’s what was achieved. Many Megadeth songs escalate and resolve in satisfying ways while Metallica just rehashes riffs from before and never satisfyingly ends songs. In Battery or Leper Messiah they just rehash a generic bridging riff from before or the main verse riff as an ending, it’s pointless and dull. Megadeth songs are testosterone fueled speed journeys while Metallica songs are just catchy choruses with a couple decent downpicked riffs.

  5. Bob geldoff likes AIDS says:

    I’m an old guy. When Dave got kicked out of Metallica pretty quick he made a new band, Megadeth, and a demo too, that I got. It certainly stood out.
    Having no love for post-1986 metallica, or metal in general, between 87 and 90,I progressed. Or digressed,wtf.
    Watching Headbangers Ball in 1990 I saw Hangar 18. Fucking great shit! Then I knew Dave and Megadeth were going somewhere. And they sure did. The stretch leading up to and including Youthanasia was amazing. Great metal as opposed to the garbage that was coming out under the metallica moniker.
    What impressed me most was the inclusion of Marty Friedman in the line-up. This guy had made some amazing music in the early 80s, with Vixen (blue viny e.p.) and Hawaii. “One Nation Underground” (1982?) was fast, agressive and melodic. Ahead of the pack in terms of speed too.
    So I said to myself, Dave is CONFIDENT enough that he gets a guy in the band (Marty) who’s good enough to lead his own band, as a member of “his” group.
    As opposed to…Metallica, where the ruling axis Hetfield/oilrig profited enormously from Dave’s contributions on the first 2 LPs.
    Mustaine gave the class and the edge that made metallica famous, and then got kicked out.
    His famous complaint that Hammett just learnt Dave’s solo’s for the first Metallica LP.
    Apart from the fact that all the best songs on the first 2 are H/U/B/M compositions.
    And the weakest ones are the ones written with Hammett. Can someone remember the song “Escape” by Metallica?
    Also, the drums on the megadeth releases of the 90s are great.They are…drums…as opposed to the rythmic accompanying of the guitar that Lars does. And you could even hear the bass on Megadeth records…sheeit.

    1. Thrashdeath says:

      Based boomer longpost. Never realized Hammett wrote that song, it’s a skid mark on RTL.

  6. KevinLuftwaffe says:

    Who asked for this guest blog from Metal Archives?

    1. Mom says:

      dumbass alert

  7. OkZoomer says:

    “gay interlude” hahaha yes, fuck “Master of Puppets”, such a garbage album.

    1. Ballsack says:

      Garbage comment

  8. ignominious says:

    Of course it outshines “progressive metal”; it’s built on one of the most solid foundations of riffs this side of South of Heaven.

    Also worth noting: the two weaker songs as pointed out by other commenters were co-written with Ellefson (“Lucretia”) and written solely by Ellefson (“Dawn Patrol”).

  9. Megadeth hasn’t made a good album in 30 years says:

    All the previous albums were better than this one. I really hate the overdone production and Dave’s nasally vocals and the retarded lyrics. However it’s still better than string of absolutely terrible albums that came after.

  10. Paulo says:

    Megadeth at its finest, Rust In Peace is a masterpiece.

  11. good says:

    Only listen to the original mix, goddamn they butchered this fucking thing in the remaster.

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