Review Summary: Megadeth's magnum opus. A thrash metal essential.
There will always persistone big question among metal fans: Who was better out of the Big Four?
Is it Metallica, one of the most comercially succesful metal acts of all time? Is it Megadeth, famed for being a technical metal band, and 2nd to Metallica in terms of financial success? Is it Anthrax, by far the least serious of the 4, and known for being the DIY thrash act? Or does the title belong to Slayer, which is often touted as one of the most extreme metal acts of all times?
I'm not going to answer that question, but i will say that the case could be made for Megadeth on a number of reasons: the varied and often complex riffing of Dave Mustaine; the epic leads of such guitar players as Chris Poland, Marty Friedman and Chris Broderick; and the overall feel the records give you (no two Megadeth records are the same, which is why you'll find a need to hear at least all of the first five to get a complete appreciation of the band).
The band does have weaknesses though: Dave Ellefson has got nothing on Cliff Burton and Frank Bello; Dave Mustaine, whilst a great lyricist, plain sucks at times when it comes to vocals; and the drumming is good, but not quite my opinion of virtuosity. That being said, this represents to me one of the best heavy metal records ever made. The atmosphere is impressive, and makes you feel truly entranced.
The opener is "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due". An epic metal classic, this spectacular song crushes and tears apart everything in it's path with awesome riffs and solos (counting an acoustic guitar part as well). Next we have "Hangar 18" which features some of the band's best guitar solos. After going midway through the album you get "Tornado of Souls" which features yet another impressive guitar solo. There's also other great songs here: "Take No Prisoners", "Poison Was the Cure", "Five Magics" and "Rust in Peace... Polaris".
Every song on this record is great, from start to finish, and there is little doubt that production here is impeccable. The segments are all around well established, and you really will want to hear this again and again long after your first listen.