Review Summary: A pleasant look back at past glories.
The prospect of witnessing Megadeth perform live the whole of their fourth album ‘Rust In Peace’ (albeit not with the original line up), was a mouth watering delight for metal heads worldwide. An undisputed classic, the pairing of Marty Friedman’s super slick, exotic lead work and Dave Mustaines phenomenal rhythmic chops and venom filled song writing resulted in an collection of tracks that remain, twenty years on, as exciting and fresh as when they were written.
The performance Megadeth turn in here on ‘Rust In Peace Live’ does, for the most part, a great job of honouring the albums legacy. The band are obviously well oiled and execute the fiercely complex songs with an almost nonchalant accurately. Newest lead guitar Chris Broderick particularly impresses, as he flawlessly pulls off the plethora of classic guitar solos that are an imperative part of the albums appeal. Although, it is also here that the only major gripe of the disc is present, as some of Broderick’s lead sections are frustratingly quiet in the mix, and as he breezes through the stunning onslaught of ‘Hanger 18’, the remarkable performance can be somewhat buried.
Mustaines six string prowess is, of course, well documented, and his playing here is reliably stellar. The riffing replete in such cuts as ‘Take No Prisoners’ and the closing title track is water tight despite its speed and technicality, becoming more impressive when it is remembered that he is singing at the same time. Yet, Mustaines vocals are, on the night, rather lacking. Songs that occasionally require a higher register, ‘Holy Wars…The Punishment Due’ being the prevalent example, see him struggling horrendously and adopting a pathetic whine that sounds extremely grating. Being that this release is twenty years after the original although, and given the fact that Mustaine was never a truly outstanding vocalist, it is only to be expected that some of his earlier power would be lost.
The rhythm section, again, does not fail to make an impression. Drummer Shaun Drover and returning bassist David Ellefson are locked in perfectly with each other, providing a faultless backdrop for Mustaine and Broderick, and relishing their own brief occasions to display their ability (in ‘Rust In Peace…Polaris’ and ‘Dawn Patrol’ respectably).
Acting as a pleasant look back at past glories, ‘Rust In Peace Live’ is by no means essential. Ultimately proving that ‘Rust In Peace’ still holds up as a metal staple, and that the band today remain capable of performing the material to a exceedingly high standard, it now remains to be seen whether contemporary Megadeth will take note of the power their classic albums still retain, and will finally top them. Coming close with ‘Endgame’, they clearly still have the ability, and more importantly the desire, to contend with their landmark work.