Rust in Peace

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Rust in Peace
Studio album by Megadeth
Released September 24, 1990 (1990-09-24)
Recorded 1989–90
Genre Thrash metal, progressive metal
Length 40:44
Label Capitol
Producer Dave Mustaine, Mike Clink
Megadeth chronology
  • Rust in Peace
  • (1990)
Singles from Rust in Peace
  1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
    Released: 1990
  2. "Hangar 18"
    Released: February 4, 1991[1]

Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. It was released on September 24, 1990 by Capitol Records and was produced by Mike Clink. Following the departure of Jeff Young and Chuck Behler in 1989, Rust in Peace is the first album to feature guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza.

Rust in Peace received universal acclaim by fans and critics, and was responsible for bringing Megadeth to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. It has been cited as one of the best thrash metal records of all time by publications such as Decibel and Kerrang! and listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards.

Two singles were released from the album: "Hangar 18" and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", which have become staples of the band's live performances. Rust in Peace features complex musical structures and lyrical themes such as nuclear war and UFOs. The album's cover art references "Hangar 18". A remixed and remastered version featuring four bonus tracks was released in 2004. In 2010, the band announced a North American tour to commemorate the album's 20th anniversary. The performance at the Hollywood Palladium was filmed and released as Rust in Peace Live on CD, DVD and Blu-ray later that year.

Background and production[edit]

In 1988, Megadeth appeared at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park in the UK, alongside Iron Maiden, Kiss, Helloween, Guns N' Roses, and David Lee Roth. The band performed to an audience of more than 100,000 people [2] and was soon added to the "Monsters of Rock" European tour, but dropped out after the first show due to bassist David Ellefson's drug problems.[3] Further issues within the band caused frontman and guitarist Dave Mustaine to fire drummer Chuck Behler and guitarist Jeff Young, and canceled their scheduled 1988 Australian tour.[4] Nick Menza, previously Behler's drum tech, was hired as the band's new drummer.[5] The search for a new guitarist was a drawn out process; Mustaine examined a number of guitarists for the job, including Dimebag Darrell of Pantera, who was initially offered the job before declining.[6] According to Mustaine, one of the last guitarists he had heard about, Marty Friedman, had sent him a copy of Dragon's Kiss, on which Friedman played. Upon listening to the record, Mustaine had Friedman come in to audition and hired him.[5] This would become the band's first stable line-up.[7]

The title "Rust in Peace" was inspired by a bumper sticker that Mustaine saw on the back of a vehicle while driving home from Lake Elsinore, California. The sticker read: 'May all your nuclear weapons rust in peace'. Mustaine liked the concept and decided to use it as a title for Megadeth's upcoming album.[8] Rust in Peace was recorded in Rumbo Studios with producer Mike Clink, while the mixing was handled by Max Norman.[9] Clink was brought in for his work in both Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction and UFO's Strangers in the Night.[10] The producer's work dealt mostly with the bass, drums and Friedman's guitar.[11] In a 2002 interview, Mustaine declared that they "really didn’t make the record with [Clink]" as at the time he was focused on Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion I and II — which were also being recorded at Rumbo — and stated most of the work in the album was done by himself, Norman, and engineer Micajah Ryan.[12]

The album artwork was created by artist Ed Repka,[9] who previously had done the cover for Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? in 1986.[13] It references "Hangar 18", and depicts band mascot Vic Rattlehead and world leaders of the era viewing an alien body. The depicted world leaders, right to left, are U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, West German President (and later President of a reunified Germany) Richard von Weizsäcker, Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and British Prime Minister John Major. In addition to creating the album's cover, Repka also supplied artwork for the album's two singles.[14]

Composition[edit]

Rust in Peace features songs with multiple sections, shifting time signatures and intricate guitar performance, and is sometimes described as having a progressive style.[15] In this regard, the album has been compared with Metallica's 1988 album, ...And Justice for All, also noted for its technical complexity.[16] Additionally, the album features multiple lyrical themes: religion,[17] politics and warfare, as well as Mustaine's personal issues, such as his fight against drug and alcohol addiction,[18] UFO conspiracy theories[19] and even the Marvel Comics character Punisher.[20]

The opening song, "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" finds its thematic inspiration derived from the Northern Ireland conflict, in which the largely Catholic nationalist community were in conflict with the mainly Protestant loyalist community over the sovereignty of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Mustaine has said that at a show in Antrim, Northern Ireland, he discovered bootlegged Megadeth T-shirts were on sale. He was dissuaded from taking action to have them removed on the basis that they were part of fund raising activities for "The Cause",[21] explained as something to bring equality to Catholics and Protestants in the region. Liking how "The Cause" sounded as was explained to him, Mustaine dedicated a performance of "Anarchy in the U.K." to it, causing the audience to riot.[22] The band were forced to travel in a bulletproof bus after the show.[12][23] This incident, along with Marvel's Punisher, inspired Mustaine to write the song.[20]

"Rust in Peace... Polaris", addresses the topic of nuclear warfare,[24] with "Polaris" referring to the Cold War-era Lockheed UGM-27 Polaris intercontinental ballistic missile.[25] Mustaine has revealed that the song, originally titled "Child Saint", was one of his earlier compositions, having been written before his tenure with Metallica (1982–83).[12] Menza proposed the concept for "Hangar 18", a song about UFO conspiracies and Area 51.[19] Musically, the song features twin guitar solos after the verse.[26]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[15]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[27]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[28]
Entertainment Weekly B+[29]
Record Collector 4/5 stars[30]
Rock Hard 9.5/10[31]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[32]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[33]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[34]

Rust in Peace was released on September 24, 1990, and debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200, becoming Megadeth's highest charting album up to that point.[35] In 1994, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping one million copies in the United States.[36] Rust in Peace, along with the rest of Megadeth's Capitol-released studio albums, was remixed and remastered in 2004. Four bonus tracks were added: a previously unreleased song entitled "My Creation", and three demos of songs on the album featuring guitarist Chris Poland.[37]

Upon release, the album received widespread critical acclaim.[4] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune called it Megadeth's most accomplished album, praising its "instrumental virtuosity, thoughtful lyricism and punkish rage".[27] AllMusic's Steve Huey also named the album "easily Megadeth's strongest musical effort". While noting that the entire record is consistently impressive, Huey picked "Hangar 18" as the "obvious highlight".[15] Jason Birchmeier, reviewing the album's 2004 rerelease for AllMusic, observed that the record was a big step forward for the band. However, he criticized the album for being "too consistent" and noted that many of the songs were "sounding overly similar to one another".

Robert Palmer of Rolling Stone wrote that the album is demonstration of how far the "nasty speed thrash" concept can go without being "formulaic and boring".[32][37] Reviewing the album for Entertainment Weekly, Jim Farber described the music as "sheer velocity, combined with dexterity" and Mustaine's lyrics as "nihilistic whimsy".[29] Mike Stagno from Sputnikmusic agreed that the songwriting was "top notch" on the album, as well as the fast and technical musicianship. He also spoke highly of Friedman's and Mustaine's guitar performance, calling them "one of the most potent duos in the scene".[34]

Spin reviewer Tom Nordlie praised the album, deeming it a "mature, complex, surprisingly consonant and sparely produced album", and concluded that Rust in Peace "never sleeps".[38] Music journalist Kim Cooper also noted the album's maturity and wrote that Rust in Peace "transcended the hard rock genre and raised the bar to a whole new level".[39] Another positive reaction came from Rock Hard, whose writer Holger Stratmann stated that the record was "pure Megadeth", filled with "razor sharp guitars" and "snotty vocals".[31]

Legacy and influence[edit]

In retrospective analysis, Rust in Peace has been cited as having a large impact on its genre.[40] Heavy metal magazine Decibel labeled the album as a "genre-defining work",[41] while Kerrang! wrote that the record "set a new standard for heavy metal in the 90s".[42] IGN named Rust in Peace the fourth most influential heavy metal album of all time, commenting that the album "displays Dave Mustaine's finest writing ever".[43] Additionally, Martin Popoff ranked it eleventh among the best heavy metal albums of all time.[44] In a reader poll organized by MusicRadar in 2010, Rust in Peace was voted as the sixth best metal album ever. The MusicRadar staff explained that the record saw Megadeth moving "into the big league", while staying true to their intricate sound and lyricism.[45] In a list compiled by Chad Bowar of About.com, Rust in Peace was placed as the best heavy metal album of the 1990s and named a "thrash masterpiece".[46] The album was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards.[47]

Dave Mustaine in Moscow during the album's 20th anniversary tour.

The tracks "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18" have become staples of Megadeth's live set, and are fan favorites.[48] In 2010, the band announced a 22-show North American tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rust in Peace. The band performed the entire album at every show.[49][50] Dates in South and Central America were later added to the tour, due to positive response from fans.[51] In 2010, Shout! Factory released a live recording filmed on the Hollywood Palladium stop of the tour,[52] entitled Rust in Peace Live. It was released on September 7, 2010 in Blu-ray, CD and DVD formats,[53] and debuted at number 161 on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Billboard DVD charts.[35]

Rust in Peace in its entirety was released as purchasable downloadable content in the rhythm game Rock Band, a part of the their "Rust in Peace Download Package".[54] It was released a little more than a year after the release of Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? on the game's download store. A cover version of "Holy Wars" by Steve Ouimette was featured in Rock Revolution.[55] "Holy Wars" was also featured in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock,[56] while "Hangar 18" was featured in Guitar Hero II and as downloadable content for Guitar Hero 5.[57][58] Both songs have been described as amongst the most difficult songs in the series' history.[56]

A sequel to "Hangar 18" titled "Return to Hangar" later featured on Megadeth's ninth studio album, The World Needs a Hero. It concludes the fictional narrative begun in "Hangar 18", where the life forms said to be contained in "Hangar 18" come back to life and kill those inside the building before escaping.[59] Both songs have been played back-to-back live, which can be heard on Rude Awakening and That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires.[60][61]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Dave Mustaine, except where noted.[9]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"       6:36
2. "Hangar 18"       5:14
3. "Take No Prisoners"       3:28
4. "Five Magics"       5:42
5. "Poison Was the Cure"       2:58
6. "Lucretia"     Mustaine, David Ellefson 3:58
7. "Tornado of Souls"   Mustaine, Ellefson   5:22
8. "Dawn Patrol"     Ellefson 1:50
9. "Rust in Peace... Polaris" (5:44 on reissue)     5:36
Total length:
40:44

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[5][9]

Megadeth
Production
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine and Mike Clink
  • Recording and engineering by Micajah Ryan and Mike Clink
  • Assistant recording engineering by Andy Udoff
  • Mixed by Max Norman
  • Artwork and cover by Ed Repka
2004 remix and remaster
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine
  • Mixed by Ralph Patlan and Dave Mustaine
  • Engineered by Ralph Patlan with Lance Dean
  • Edited by Lance Dean with Scott "Sarge" Harrison
  • Mastered by Tom Baker
  • Additional demo recording by Chris Poland

Charts[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[62] 47
Canadian Albums Chart[35] 70
Dutch Albums Chart[62] 72
German Albums Chart[62] 21
Japanese Albums Chart[63] 29
New Zealand Albums Chart[62] 35
Swedish Albums Chart[62] 34
Swiss Albums Chart[62] 29
UK Albums Chart[64] 8
US Billboard 200[35] 23

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[65] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[66] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Accolades[edit]

Region Year Publication Accolade Rank
Canada 2004 Martin Popoff Top 1700 Heavy Metal Albums of all Time[44] 11
United Kingdom 1990 Kerrang! Albums of the Year[28] 11
1990 Select Albums of the Year[28] 46
2000 Terrorizer The 100 Most Important Albums of the 90s[28] *
2006 Classic Rock & Metal Hammer The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s[28] *
2010 MusicRadar The 50 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time[45] 6
2014 Metal Hammer 50 Hottest Thrash Albums of All Time[28] 3
United States 2002 Revolver The 69 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time[28] 54
2006 Robert Dimery 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[28] *
2007 IGN Top 25 Metal Albums[43] 4
2012 About.com Best Heavy Metal Albums Of 1990[67] 1
2012 Best Heavy Metal Albums Of The 1990s[46] 1

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]