Review Summary: "Welcome To Our Fortress Tall"8 of 8 thought this review was well written
'Rust In Peace' is quite possibly the greatest thrash metal album of all time and I wouldn't mind considering it the best metal album overall either. Why is this? Why has 'Rust In Peace' gotten a reputation that probably even exceeds 'Master Of Puppets''s (since there is hardly anyone who hates 'Rust In Peace' or calls it overrated)? Why is so good dammit!? Two words: Marty Friedman. He is the best lead guitarist I've ever heard by far because his guitar playing is almost mechanically fluent and technical but also filled with emotion and fantastic melodies. Take 'Lucretia', for example: Marty's solo in that song complements the riff wonderfully and the solo is structured very appropriately and tastefully, with the solo starting out in a singable manner, gradually becoming more technical then it transitions perfectly into Dave Mustaine's bluesy shredding solo. These guitar duels occur constantly throughout the album and are amazing to listen to.
Marty Friedman cannot be the only factor in the high quality of 'Rust In Peace' though, can he? The new drummer, Nick Menza, is the best Megadeth has ever had, as he changes the beat or throws in some well-done fills constantly, not allowing the album to stagnate for a second. This also applies to the album in general, as if you're listening to 'Rust In Peace' for the first time, you'd never guess that this was the result, as there are so many musical twists and turns that playing the album the whole way through would be bordering on impossible, unless you are in Megadeth. Anyway, the two new members were a gift to this band, which explains why this is the most consistent Megadeth line-up as of now.
The song-writing on this album is the stuff of legend; it opens with 'Holy Wars... The Punishment Due', which is a dynamic, ambitious monster of a song and it doesn't drop that standard of quality for a second. Although, since it is the longest song on here at six and a half minutes, it is the best out of all of them. Also, that blazing opening riff is iconic as anything by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Judas Priest. The songs on here are up there with the classics of the genre. While on its own, 'Dawn Patrol' may seem a little insignificant compared to the other tracks, if looked at as an introduction to the closer, 'Rust In Peace... Polaris', it becomes just as essential to the album as everything else. Also, that bass riff is one of the best in metal and it carries the song very well despite that being the only thing to support the song apart from a simple beat and quiet vocals.
In terms of riffing, Dave Mustaine has hit his peak here, producing some of the best rhythm guitar work in the history of metal, with no riff being predictable, clichéd or unsatisfying; every note counts here. Under Mustaine's mighty riffs is David Ellefson's great bass playing which rarely (if ever) sticks to just playing the root note, making the bass actually offer something musically unlike most metal bands, who simply care too much about guitars to worry about the quality of the bass playing on an album. 'Rust In Peace', meanwhile, is a very balanced effort that takes all instruments into consideration and feels more like a full band is playing as a result.
'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying' may have more raw power, but 'Rust In Peace' tops it in terms of song quality, talent and intelligence. This is the album to get if you want to see what thrash metal has to offer. If you don't like this (or at least appreciate it), you don't like metal.