Review Summary: Classic metal album with incredible guitar work
5 years ago when I was first getting into music, I found myself listening to music such as LMFAO, Black Eyed Peas and I eventually convinced myself that I loved it.
One day I was listening to that kind of whiney pop garbage on YouTube when out of the blue (haha, get it) Holy Wars by Megadeth came up on the sidebar.
I recall clicking on the song with a sheer "what the hell" attitude when suddenly a beautiful sound came into my ears.
A beautiful array of guitars being strummed furiously with insane beats being played in the background mixed with groovy bass and nasally, whiny vocals. It was wonderful. I forgot all about listening to machine pop generated music and listened to this song about 100 times before I realised there were thousands of other bands out there that I could listen to. Megadeth brought me into the metal world and in honour of the memories I experienced with this album, my first album review will be Megadeth's Rust In Peace.
Rust In Peace is a thrash metal album with the exception of a few songs that are groove metal. It showcases songs that metalheads love worldwide such as the brilliantly exhausting "Holy Wars" and the high pitched melodic "Tornado Of Souls" as well as less well known (but still good) tracks. The production has a brisk, clean sound with bass turned up in the mix. Arguably, this isn't such a good production choice for Dave Mustaine's voice (more on that later) but at least it gets the job done.
Easily outranking the vocals is the guitars, more specifically Marty Friedman's. The guitar riffs and solos on this album are unbelievable. Right from the very start of the album the listener gets one of the best metal intros to a song ever, and from there on it's a whirlwind of chugging, alternating riffs that fit perfectly with the drums and bass to create a stable song (aside from the interlude/filler Dawn Patrol).
The best solo on this album is the melodically beautiful one played in Tornado of souls. This solo could be written to any song at all no matter how bad it is and make it listenable. It's a rare thing for metal bands to show emotion and in their instrumentation but Rust In Peace is more in depth to feelings then it's corny title.
Overall the guitar work on this album (especially on songs such as Tornado Of Souls, Take no Prisoners and Holy Wars... The Punishment Due) is amazing and heavy enough to ram your head around like a wild bull, but the negative is the onslaught itself; there isn't enough slow, melodic riffs on this album.
Alongside Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman is Nick Menza, the newly hired drummer to be in the studio and play the drums for Rust In Peace. As I am a drummer myself, I can out rightly say that the drumming on this album is far too overlooked! No other drummer could of brought the album to the quality it is, and even if they could it just wouldn't be the same.
Nick Menza plays almost all of the songs in the 4/4 time signature so it leaves room for him to use complicated stick work. This is easily shown in the three minute onslaught "Take No Prisoners' which kicks in with a thrashy guitar riff then quickly alternates with a cool little drum fill. That's another thing about the drumming on this album, Nick Menza doesn't just supply the rhythm, he plays brilliant fills and syncopated notes to keep the songs cohesive (especially Five Magics). One huge problem is the sound of his hi hat. It's awful, it's way to high pitched, you can almost make out a "sssssssss" sound in some of the beats. This is not a minor flaw when combined with Dave's unusually high vocal range.
The third member of the band, David Ellefson, is the bassist. As stated before his guitar is turned up in the mix so it is audible with the often chugging guitars. I use the term "nothing special" ear very light heartedly because I couldn't think of another word but there really is nothing too special about his bass guitar playing. He is usually blandly playing the same riff as Dave and Marty but when he decides to do something differently it ends up sounding very weird and unneeded with a down to earth metal album. Of course the bass work on Rust In Peace is amazing, (one of the reasons being that David generally plays the same riffs and the riffs are amazing on both ends) but not quite amazing as the other instruments.
Lastly, there is vocalist Dave Mustaine. I have separated his voice from his guitar and decided to review each separately. Dave's voice is the target that haters use to well.. hate on this album. Dave sings very, very high and far to snarly but...
Yeah yeah I know you're probably thinking "gee what a stupid fanboy he has no criticisms it's all this is great that is great blah blah blah" but if any fan of this album thinks about it, if Dave didn't sing on this album it would just not be the same. He sings very well on Rust In Peace with the exception of Dawn Patrol which is a weird, short track with a smooth bassline and croaky vocals rambling on about global warning.
Rust in peace is an arguable classic and rightfully so. It's generally an amazing listening experience and I recommend this classic album to any metal fan willing to step outside of their comfort zone.