DB HOF NO. 87
The making of Megadeth’s “Rust In Peace”
label: Capitol Records
Rust in Peace, as you will learn, wasn’t written in a day. It wasn’t even written in the studio—well, Dave Ellefson’s “Dawn Patrol” was birthed there—over many months, like so many records of the day were. Rust in Peace was crafted over time in dank, sometimes strange places, its riffs, rhythms, lyrics and clever nuances honed to perfection by two different Megadeth lineups. The sheer amount of blood, sweat and tears—as well as cocaine, heroin and other illicit substances—that went into making Megadeth’s fourth full-length is unprecedented. In fact, it probably shouldn’t have been. After very dark days—failed mega-tours, a revolving cast of drummers and guitarists, and several mortgages worth of blow—following Rust in Peace predecessor So Far, So Good… So What!, it’s a major miracle that Megadeth managed to even function, let alone rehearse, write and record what is arguably one of the best thrash metal records of all time. Yes, for Dave Mustaine, Ellefson and new drummer Nick Menza, the phoenix had risen from the ashes at the most opportune moment. Partly out of determination, partly from a fathomless well of inspiration, and partly out of dumb luck after Mustaine acquiesced and listened to—at his then-manager’s suggestion—Dragon’s Kiss, the solo record by six-string wonderkid Marty Friedman. With Friedman in the lineup, the new, nearly sober Megadeth weren’t just another iteration of Mustaine’s now-infamous machine. They were unstoppable!
There is no hyperbole to Megadeth 1990. They were, to use an appropriate metaphor, nuclear. The quartet was an inseparable unit, militarized to shock and awe. “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” “Five Magics,” “Hangar 18,” “Take No Prisoners,” “Tornado of Souls” (co-penned with Ellefson) and pièce de résistance “Rust in Peace… Polaris” weren’t just good songs. They were great songs. Genre-defining works of complex and thrilling origin. It took us two years to chisel and position the Hall’s fourth pillar—Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica having been wheel-and-pullied upright years ago by venerable word architect J. Bennett—but now that Megadeth and Rust in Peace are in their rightful place, the Hall and its hallowed membership can finally withstand any attack. Take no prisoners! Take no shit!
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