The Big 4 Tour Part III: Megadeth


Jun 9 2011, 20h17

From the first time that I heard Megadeth, I knew they would be a long time favorite. Over all the albums and band members that have come and gone, one thing Megadeth has always been is consistent. Dave Mustaine has proven time and again that he is one of the best Thrash Metal guitarists out there. I first heard Megadeth in about 1988 when I bought Peace Sells...But Who's Buying. At first I was not impressed by it, but I did really like the song Peace Sells. Little did I know that in time Megadeth would be one of my all time favorite bands.

Megadeth was born from the rubble of a falling out between the guys in Metallica and Dave Mustaine. From everything that has been so well documented over the years, Dave was fired before Metallica was due to start recording Kill'em all. Once Dave got settled and got his band together, Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good was released in 1985. Brimming with some great songs that were mostly faster than what Metallica had released, Megadeth seemed to be off to a good start.

In 1986 Peace Sells...But Who's Buying came out. I bought this album mostly based on the cover art. At the time I was listening to just about whatever had an Iron Maiden type cover. I know that is not really a factor in what type of music a band plays, but as a 10 year old kid it was enough. Over all the musicianship was great. I had never really heard any band before that was playing such heavy music. The drums provided by Gar Samuelson were beyond what Lars Ulrich had done on the Metallica albums that were out. This album, over the years, has become one of my favorite albums of all time.

A line up change was in order for Megadeth for the next release. I heard that Megadeth was a band full of drug addicts, but until reading Dave Mustaine's book, Mustaine, I had no idea how bad the drug use in the band was. In 1988 So Far, So Good...So What was released. This album included the first of many line up changes. Gone were Gar Samuelson and Chris Poland, replaced by Jeff Young and Chuck Behler. This album included some personal favorites like Hook in Mouth, 502. This line up was again not to last.

In 1990 Megadeth released what would come to be their defining album. Rust In Peace featured yet another line up change. Jeff Young and Chuck Behler were out of the band, replaced by Marty Friedman and Nick Menza. Rust in Peace was a much more technical album, which proved that Megadeth were on the top of the Thrash Metal pile. Personal favorites from this album include Holy Wars...The Punishment Due, Hangar 18, Take No Prisoners and Dawn Patrol. This album was like Slayer's Reign in Blood, in that it was a blue print for technical thrash.

When Metallica released Metallica Dave Mustaine was bent on trying to have the same success. 1992 brought with it Countdown To Extinction. This album was Megadeth's attempt to capture the same commercial success as Metallica. This one had some really great songs on it, like Symphony of Destruction, Sweating Bullets. Over all the sound of the album was very polished, but still had that heavy sound that Megadeth had become known for. When the album came out it peaked at number two on music charts, and never really got to the same level as Metallica's Black Album.

Youthanasia came out in 1994 and again was a very polished album. Megadeth were still pushing for that chart topping album that I would imagine most musicians dream of. Once again it was a massively successful album. The music was not as technical as any of the previous albums, and on first hearing the album I hated it. Youthanasia took a few listens to grow on me, and does have some really great songs on it. Addicted to Chaos, Train Of Consequence, Reckoning Day and A Toute Le Monde are personal favorites.

A longer than normal gap between albums, filled by 1995s Hidden Treasures, came about. In 1997 Megadeth returned with Cryptic Writings. This one seems like it was aimed at commercial success more than any other album. The songs are all very straight forward and stick to the verse-chorus-verse formula. Personally I don't really find any songs that I really want to skip. All the tracks have something that I like. It is by no means my favorite Megadeth album though. This was to be the last album with drummer Nick Menza.

When 1999 came around, I had read a lot of information about the coming release. Risk was going to be a great album. I went out and bought it as soon as I could. Needless to say I was very disappointed. My first thought was that Megadeth was still chasing Metallica. I saw Risk as Megadeth's response to Load and Re-Load. This album barely gets played in any form or fashion at my house. There are no songs that I like enough to listen to on a regular basis. I was tempted to lump Megadeth in with all the other bands that I used to like. Dave Mustaine has since said that Marty Friedman was the main catalyst behind the music on this one. It is overly pop sounding, and very polished. After this album Marty Friedman left the band.

When Megadeth put out their next album, I was hoping for something more like what they used to play. When I first heard The World Needs A Hero I was impressed. Incoming guitar player Al Pitrelli seemed to be a fairly good replacement for Marty Friedman. The production was a little less polished, and better quality than Risk. Personal favorites on this album include Return to Hangar, When and Disconnect. This was a slight return to form for Megadeth, even though lots of people online seemed to say the album was not really good. I felt it was as strong as albums like Youthanasia or Cryptic Writings. After the tour for this album, Dave Mustaine injured his arm and disbanded the group. It seemed to be the end of Megadeth.

There was a lot of celebration when Dave Mustaine announced that Megadeth would be returning. This was originally to be a Dave Mustaine solo album, but due to record company pressure, it wound up being a Megadeth album. The System Has Failed was the first album in nearly 20 years to feature Chris Poland. The album was a great return to Countdown to Extinction type songs and is worth listening to from beginning to end.

In 2007 when United Abominations came out, I was hoping for a great album. It is good, but not as good as I'd hoped for. I think I had too high of expectations for it. The production sounds a little thin to me, and the cover art was a bit of a let down. Plus I did not think new guitar player Glen Drover was as good as past guitar players. The song A Tout le Monde (Set Me Free) seemed completely unnecessary. Other than that I thought United Abominations was another quality album. I got to see Megadeth for the first time while they were on tour with Heaven And Hell.

When I heard that Chris Broderick joined Megadeth, I was really excited. When I heard that Dave Mustaine was comparing the music to Rust in Peace, I was really looking forward to the album. There was a lot of hype for the album, and when it came out, I thought that it lived up to that. I was impressed that after nearly 30 years Megadeth was still able to produce quality songs. The only song that I don't really care for on the album is The Hardest Part of Letting Go...Sealed With a Kiss. Besides that I enjoy the whole album. I don't think that Megadeth has done a proper tour for this album. Instead the tour was for the 20th anniversary of Rust in Peace, which I was able to see.

With the exception of one serious folly, Megadeth have been able to do something that none of the other Big 4 have been able to do, which is consistently release quality albums. Sure the other three have some good stuff out, but Megadeth has proven to be the best at writing material.


  • quaker66

    Hey man. I basically agree with you. Cryptic Writings is though one of my favorite Megadeth albums - it's really diverse, right there with Peace Sells, which is IMO the best Megadeth album, and Rust In Peace, I also really like Hidden Treasures. As for Risk, I think it was a good album, though far from original Megadeth sound - there are some great songs - most notably Time: The Beginning / Time: The End (Time: The End has one of the best Megadeth solos ever), Seven and Wanderlust. That was the difference with Metallica - even through style change, Megadeth was always able to push quality albums. Metallica died with Justice for me.

    Jun 17 2011, 18h15
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