Review Summary: 5 on sheer principle.
Right from the very beginning, this album rules. The chaotic and psychotic and neurotic (?) riffs of Holy Wars...The Punishment are cooler than ice being frozen by a frost staff. After some hard riffage, we are treated with Dave's snarling snarls of snarliness, and he sounds like a true angel...of death. And once again, he's pissed. But in 1990, does he really have a reason to be pissed? He's got the tightest and most technical (and most pissed) band in all of metaldom, and his recently employed Marty Friedman is like a Steve Vai without all the magic tricks and scarves...a true guitar hero. David Ellefson is now the best bassist in metal, because Steve Harris's band Iron Maiden recently put out a piss-poor record, and Cliff Burton is dead as a doornail. And the new drummer, Nick Menza, makes Gar Samuelson look like a dead guy. What, too soon? Suck it baby, this is Megadeth.
After the chaos of Holy Wars, we are treated with Hangar 18, so basically, more brutal chaos. The song is awesome enough because of its subject matter (aliens) but its amazingnicity is enhanced by the guitar-off at the end of the song between Dave and Marty. And Take No Prisoners? Featuring one of the most chanted lines in metal that I don't even have to say, it is surely a gem. Five Magics, on the other hand, kinda gets too technical, and a bit in over its head for this particular listener, but after the somewhat lackluster Five Magics, we are treated with Poison Was The Cure, a two-and-a-half minute thrashsterpiece which brings back memories of Dave's early days with Megadeth, where the songs were short but just as anger-fueled. Lucretia is absolutely ridiculous, but in a good way. I promise. About a ghost, it begins with an old lady laughing, which may cause some listeners to go "what?" but then the hard riffage kicks the listener right in the teeth. In fact, it knocks the skin of of your teeth by being so hard and cool.
And don't even get me started on Tornado of Souls. It deserves its own paragraph. It's like Megadeth's Let it Be, their Kashmir, it's simply mind-numbingly brutal-awesome-metal. Duhduhduhduhduhdundundunndunnndundundundundundun THIS MORNING I MADE THE CALLLLLL. You know it, you love it. Dave is an absolute riff machine, and the ever-present bass of the OTHER Dave is a nice treat for metal listeners who usually only hear bass in Iron Maiden records. And that short but oh-so-sweet solo towards the end, played masterfully by the God of Earth, Marty Friedman? Makes me melt every time.
After the short filler song Dawn Patrol (which, to put it bluntly, sucks) we are served up a nice dish of rust...Rust in Peace, that is. dot dot dot Polaris. An excellent and angry way to end an excellent and angry record, it's packed with Nick Menza's drum-prowess and filled with bass and snarls and brutal riffs and everything that goes great in a Megadeth song.
So let's get one thing straight: This album rocks the socks of rock n' roll. Dave is a genius, I am a fanboy, blah blah blah. Buy this now. If you like war, aliens, anti-government, and nuclear wars and awesome riffs and solos of sheer sweetness of excellence, and the snarls of metal's angriest player, buy this.