Review Summary: The Greatest thrash album of all time
Ritchie Blackmore claimed that his musical inspirations were jazz and symphony orchestras. But he also recognized that if he was going to con the working class out its money and women (as any rock & roll artist set out to do), he would need a much simpler approach— an approach which utilized the simple riffs of The Who and The Kinks. Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson did not set out to challenge this idea. They were too busy following the logical path their music was forging, being carved by some intangible that every great artist is blessed with briefly in their career.
Now the intangible on the other hand, thought, “why the hell should great rock & roll be carried with simple, one note riffs? Our goal is to illuminate the collective subconscious, we should be making these riffs as technical as possible but still just as memorable as I Can’t Explain or Purple Haze.” Folks, it is one thing to watch a fingering exercise, but it is quite another to remember how to particular exercise sounds hours after you're done hearing it.
Mustaine, Ellefson and their newfound crew of Marty Freidman and Nick Menza set out to establish the next level of tech-thrash beyond So Far So Good So What, which was, in turn, to make the most technical rock & roll available without degenerating (a term I use cautiously) into freeform jazz. And goddammit, they did exactly that. Using every possible technique available to rock guitarists in the book, Mustaine crafted so many riffs and melodies that were not only the next generation of the top guitar riffs of all time, but they made you feel like a golden god while you air played them or otherwise. Last time I checked that’s what the whole thing called heavy metal is about, empowerment.
The Metallica albatross around Mustaine's neck served as gift of inspiration and a curse. With Rust In Peace, Megadeth rocketed right out of Metallica's shadow and became superstars. In fact, I postulate that Metallica chose to go the hard rock route because they realized that they were simply outmatched, pound for pound. And Justice For All, the bands most epic effort to date was criticized for a number of reasons, but the most scathing had to have been that the album was too bloated and the songs were too long. Nobody said that about this album. There was practically zero criticism for this album, and those who did were from people who just never got it anyway. After years of misery, Dave Mustaine had finally achieved his goal of out-metalling Metallica. It’s such a shame that the drugs and record company made him re-evaluate his situation and foolishly realize that you aren’t a better musician unless you outsell someone. To be fair, while this album isn't quite as technical or progressive as No More Color or Control & Resistance, but Control & Resistance just doesn't have a song as good as Take No Prisoners on it. A song like that would be its big hit single. Here? Maybe the the second or third "worst" on here. It really is that good, rivetheads. This record stands alone as a zenith of so many endeavors. To have not experienced it is to deprive yourself of an essential stone cold classic. Which is fine by me.
Tornado of Souls
Rust In Peace