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Review: "Rust in Peace" the 1990 Studio Album by Megadeth

Updated on February 7, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The album cover for Rust in Peace shows a skeleton like creature holding a light while there is a body that has been preserved by cryonics. Five Magics is a magical song in a sense because it is so great!
The album cover for Rust in Peace shows a skeleton like creature holding a light while there is a body that has been preserved by cryonics. Five Magics is a magical song in a sense because it is so great!

Rust In Peace Is Considered By Many Fans To Be Megadeth's Best Album

Rust in Peace is the 1990 album by American heavy metal band Megadeth and it is considered by many fans to be the finest album that they have ever made. Or is it? This writer has certainly thought so. Even more than 28 years later, Rust in Peace stands out as a classic thrash metal album. Even so, it still does not top Annihilator’s Never Neverland album. Annihilator is on a different level when it comes to thrash metal bands and it is better than Megadeth overall but that’s a different story. Dave Mustaine’s voice has certainly improved by this time and it lacks the hoarseness that we hear on the band’s first three albums. Joining Mustaine is extraordinary guitarist Marty Friedman (ex-Cacophony) and also joining is Nick Menza R.I.P. May 21, 2016. Note: Gar Samuelsson is another former Megadeth band member that passed away. He died due to liver failure in 1999. Note: as of 2017, the best Megadeth album in the opinion of this writer is the one called Peace Sells But Who's Buying. But for a period of I would say 1993 through 2016, Rust in Peace was considered by me to be Megadeth's best album. However, as of 2017, that distinction belongs to the band's 2nd studio album called Peace Sells But Who's Buying. Nonetheless, Rust in Peace is still worthy of praise and recognition.

Rust in Peace is considered to be one of the last best big heavy releases of the first era. The 1980’s is when the United States heavy metal scene was at its peak I would say. Rust in Peace has very good lead guitar performances by the duo of Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman I will give them credit for this.

Rust In Peace Was Released In A Fine Year For The Heavy Metal Genre

Rust in Peace has nine songs for just over 40 minutes of heavy metal enjoyment. Even if you are not a Megadeth fan, you will enjoy the album for its speed and creativity. 1990 was a very good year for heavy metal as a few bands released very notable albums. Slayer would release Seasons in the Abyss. Judas Priest would release Painkiller, the album that could very well be their best one. And Pantera put themselves on the map and began their quest for fame with their groovy thrash metal classic Cowboys from Hell.

There is always going to be the question of whether this album is Megadeth’s best one. One thing that can certainly be said is that the vocals are certainly better than So Far, So Good, So What. There are no more muffled, dirty vocals to deal with here.

"Hangar 18"

Rust In Peace: The Album Begins in Strong Fashion

"Holy Wars… The Punishment Due" is a fast classic song that has a political theme to it. It makes reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The band would record a live version of the song on the Japanese version of 1994’s Youthanasia album. "Hangar 18" is another classic song in which Mustaine and Friedman trade off on lead guitar parts. "Five Magics" starts with an awesome bass part as David Ellefson shows his creativity in this one. It is one of the most memorable parts of any Megadeth song in the band’s history and it is still enjoyable for me even now in 2020!

This version of the album Rust in Peace is the re-mastered version of the album and it has the bonus tracks in it.
This version of the album Rust in Peace is the re-mastered version of the album and it has the bonus tracks in it. | Source

One Major Strong Point and Weak Point About Rust in Peace Is

The major highlight of the album is the outstanding "Tornado of Souls" and also one of the best Megadeth songs ever along with such classics as Devil’s Island and Mary Jane. The song is basically about someone trying to reinvent themselves after a rough life. They see a golden opportunity before them because they think that they have seen the light that will lead them to a brighter future. One of the weak points is the less than two minute song "Dawn Patrol." Dave Mustaine just speaks and there is no real singing. The entire song consists of just bass guitar. The song really does not belong on such a stellar album such as this. What was the band thinking?

One of the Album's Very Strong Points Still Remains the Song Five Magics

If history is any indication, Megadeth would decline as a band for a short while. The album ends with the very solid "Rust in Peace… Polaris" as there is lots of outstanding fast picking in the song for a good 1.5 minutes! Note: when I first composed this album review for Rust in Peace, the album Risk in my opinion was the worst album that Megadeth could have composed but times have changed. The beginning of the song Five Magics is one of the best starts for any song that Megadeth has had.

By 1990, Megadeth as a band had redeemed themselves in a way because their previous album So Far So Good, So What was their weakest album that they made in the 1980’s so they started off the 1990’s in strong fashion.

Favorite Song On Rust In Peace

What Is Your Favorite Song On The Album Rust In Peace?

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Is This Megadeth's Finest Album?

With the weaker Dawn Patrol, the greatness of Rust in Peace is diminished and this is one of the reasons why it is not in my top 5 metal albums of all time. Even so, many of you may still say that Rust in Peace is Megadeth’s best album. Or is it really? 1992’s Countdown to Extinction is a little different but that one does not really have any bad songs in it and for that reason it may be a little more consistent of an album. Even though Rust in Peace is a very good classic thrash metal album, Megadeth still cannot top other thrash metal bands such as Tankard, Holy Moses, and Kreator. Germany has the upper hand on the US when it comes to metal music but again that’s a different topic for a different day. Rust in Peace will forever be regarded by critics as Megadeth’s best album but I’m not so sure. You decide. It is really a tough call to say that Rust In Peace represents Megadeth’s finest hour even with the lead guitar especially in the end of Five Magics being as impressive as it is. Poison Was the Cure with its bass driven beginning is very good as well and shows Megadeth’s technicality.

"Tornado of Souls"

Two More Reasons to Listen to Rust in Peace Are Because of the Songs Tornado of Souls and Hangar 18

If there is one song for which Rust in Peace deserves a listen it is most definitely Tornado Souls also because of the lead guitar work. There is a tapping part followed by even more speed. Tornado of Souls and Hangar 18 are two reasons to listen to Rust in Peace.

"Five Magics"

Rust in Peace Still Is Not a Perfect Heavy Metal Album Though

There have been countless revisions of this review and some of you may be wondering how I feel about Rust in Peace as an album after all these years after its release. "Poison Was the Cure" certainly has a very strong finish with its very good lead guitar work. Lucretia has that laugh in the beginning but the riffing is pretty darn good in its own right. Even as good as Rust in Peace has been, I just cannot give this album a perfect score and it is mainly because of the nature of the song "Dawn Patrol" which does not belong on an album that was defined by speed and thrash metal. Even so, the album is a vast improvement from So Far, So Good, So What? The production is also better and the exotic lead guitar work makes this one of the strongest albums of its kind but because of the flawed song Dawn Patrol, Rust in Peace isn’t a perfect heavy metal album.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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