Review Summary: Simply put, this album will always remain a classic of thrash.
Megadeth is quite an interesting band. Unlike Anthrax, Slayer, and most of Metallica, Megadeth seems to eschew traditional thrash for a more classic metal style infused with jazz and some prog. However, they still keep their thrash roots intact, especially perfecting them with this release, 1990's Rust In Peace. This is where they added experimentation where needed, while still remaining pure Megadeth.
Of course, the obvious highlights would be the first two songs, the popular Hangar 18 and Holy Wars... The Punishment Due. Holy Wars is the longest song of the album, clocking in at 6:32. It starts out with an average riff before getting a little bit more technical as it goes along. The acoustic break from 2:17-2:25 is absolutely phenomenal, again showing a progressive (and slightly Middle-Eastern) feel. The second part of the song has a heavier and edgier feel to it, while keeping the jazzy solos/interludes around. After that portion, there's a solo by Dave Mustaine that shows great levels of pure aggression that cannot be matched by a lot of other metal guitarists.
Hangar 18 is a whole different story. It features TONS of dual solos performed by Friedman and Mustaine. Vocals rarely take the forefront of this piece, and there are only two verses that are sung, saving the rest of the time for the solos. The story of the song is about UFO conspiracies in Roswell, bringing up more political lyrics by the band, which they write a lot of in this album. Back to the song: Near the end of the song, Mustaine and Friedman keep switching solos for minutes, eventually coming to a concise end to it all. This is one the best tracks on here.
While, as I said, they have many different styles and influences, they still retain thrash music quite heavily in some songs. This is especially heard in Take no Prisoners, having breakneck speeds at points, mainly in the first verse. Plus, the attitude in the song is pretty typical of a thrash song, talking about the war and how they're against it. The biggest "thrash attitude" part comes in at the very end when they repeatedly yell, "Take no Prisoners, take no ***!"
Along continues a string of great songs. The last highlight I'd like to point out is the epic Tornado of Souls, apparently about a bad breakup that Dave Mustaine had. This song sounds pretty mainstream and accessible for Megadeth, yet has an addictive quality to it, especially in the harmonized chorus. Additionally, the guitar solo played by Marty Friedman is known as one of the best metal solos of all time, and rightfully so.
This is a great album, but a few minor issues prevent it from being perfect. The first comment is that Dave Mustaine's raspy-sounding voice will not be for everybody--sort of a love-or-hate thing. The other thing is that Marty Friedman's solos, while top-notch, can be pretty overbearing, and they meander a bit after the first couple of songs. However, these things don't hinder the album too much.
Aside from the minor problems, this is a great album that heavy metal fans would be crazy to miss. Simply put, this album will always remain a classic of thrash.