I am an ardent fan of Mustaine’s talent as a musician and songwriter. He is behind Metalica’s best songs and riffs.
If you want to listen to Megadeth for the first time, you could start with a classic album like “Rust in Peace”.
Megadeth is an American thrash metal band led by its founder, vocalist and guitarist Dave Mustaine. The group was formed in 1983 after Dave was fired from Metallica. Since then, the band has released fifteen studio albums, four live albums, two EPs and five compilations.
The band gained international fame. It became well known for always changing its line-up due to Mustaine’s constant personality problems and the fact that the lead singer did not want addicts in the band on his tours (even though it was known that he himself had serious drug problems). After their debut album 1985, the band released gold and platinum albums. The album Rust in Peace (1990) is the band’s best achievement.
The album Countdown to Extinction (1992) was the group’s biggest seller and a Grammy nominee the same year, and Youthanasia (1994) kept the group’s good momentum going. With the releases of Cryptic Writings (1997) and Risk (1999), Megadeth moved away from their previous releases, having almost abandoned thrash metal and gone to a heavier side, and only with The World Needs a Hero (2001) did the band return to the thrash roots. The band was disbanded in 2002 after Mustaine discovered a serious nerve injury in his left arm, but after two years of long and exhausting physiotherapy sessions, Mustaine reformulated the band and decided to get back to work with the release of The System Has Failed (2004). Since then, the band has released five other albums: United Abominations (2007), Endgame (2009), TH1RTEEN (2011), Super Collider (2013) and Dystopia (2016). Megadeth is part of the “Big Four of Thrash,” along with Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax.
The group has sold some 25 million copies worldwide, being one of the most successful metal bands in history, with highlights including the albums Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying, So Far, So Good… So What!, Rust in Peace, Countdown To Extinction, Youthanasia, and Cryptic Writings, all of which have gone platinum. Throughout their 34 years of activity, they have been nominated for 12 Grammys and won in 2017 with the song “Dystopia” in the Best Metal Performance category.
Beginnings and First Albums
In the summer of 1983, just two months after guitarist Dave Mustaine left Metallica, Mustaine, bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Greg Handevidt, and drummer Dijon Carruthers created Megadeth, which they later used the name Megadeth in Los Angeles. Mustaine later said, “After being kicked out of Metallica, all I could remember was that I wanted blood. Theirs. I wanted to be faster and heavier than them.”
Driven by the desire for revenge, Mustaine increased the speed and intensity of the songs he had already written, such as “Mechanix” (which would be misused on Metallica’s “Kill ’em all” album under the title The Four Horsemen). After an unsuccessful six-month search for a new vocalist, Mustaine decided to take over the position, thus becoming leader, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. Also in 1983, drummer Dijon Carruthers was replaced by Lee Rausch.
In early 1984, Megadeth recorded three demos. Before this, guitarist Greg Handevidt left the band to form the group Kublai Khan, so the demos featured only Mustaine, Ellefson, and Rausch, which contained the songs “Last Rites/Loved to Death”, “Skull Beneath the Skin”, and “Mechanix”. At the gigs featuring the demos, Megadeth featured guitarist Kerry King. After a few shows, Lee Rausch was replaced by drummer Gar Samuelson, and after exactly five shows, it was King’s turn to withdraw, returning to Slayer. Mike Albert took his place in the band temporarily.
After showing talent on the three demos, Megadeth signed a contract with an independent New York label called Combat Records and added Chris Poland as the new guitarist in December.
With Poland, Mustaine, Samuelson and Ellefson playing, Megadeth released the demo Last Rites, and in 1985, the first album Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! with exceptional public and media acceptance. It sold over 100,000 copies, a good number for being an album released by an independent record label, especially the songs Rattlehead, Mechanix, Chosen Ones, The Skull Beneath the Skin and “Last Rites / Loved to Death”.
In 1986, the band released the album Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying, with the highlight songs “Peace Sells,” “My Last Words,” “Wake Up Dead,” and “Good Mourning/Black Friday”. It was the band’s first album to be certified platinum in the United States (in 1992) and was listed in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”. It is considered one of the band’s best albums, along with Rust in Peace. The album cover features the band’s mascot “Vic Rattlehead” with a sign in his hand that says For Sale. Dave Mustaine meant that the UN was selling out at the time.
After the album’s release, Mustaine fired Chris Polland and Gar Samuelson from the band, replaced by interim guitarist Jay Reynolds and drummer Chuck Behler.
With this new line-up, Megadeth releases the album So Far, So Good… So What!, highlighting the songs “In My Darkest Hour”, ”Set The World Afire” Anarchy in the U.K.”, a Sex Pistols cover, and Mary Jane. The album was certified platinum in 1998.
Once, in April 1988, at a music concert in Ireland, Mustaine dedicated the song “Anarchy in the U.K.” to the Irish Armed Republic. Mustaine said before the song’s end, “That song is for the cause! Give Ireland back to the Irish! A big fuss broke out in the audience, and the band had to use an armoured bus until the end of the tour. Unfortunately, Mustaine’s relationship with the band members was not very good then. He suffered from drug addiction and was arrested once for it because of a friend. After this, Mustaine had to be committed to a rehabilitation clinic.
A few months later, Mustaine called himself a new man and reshaped the band, which consisted of guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza.
The new line-up released in 1990 the album Rust in Peace, a worldwide sales success, and for several weeks among the TOP 10 in the United States, with highlights for the songs “Tornado of Souls”, “Hangar 18” and “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”. This album is considered a thrash metal classic. Some point to it, along with Metallica’s Master of Puppets, as the best in the history of this style. Critics have highlighted the superior sound quality compared to its predecessors, the more complex lyrics and the partially progressive style adopted by the band. Megadeth went platinum for the album in 1994 and received Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance. Rust in Peace was included in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”. The Rust in Peace tour brought Megadeth to Brazil for the first time, where the group performed at the second edition of Rock in Rio, held at Maracanã stadium in January 1991.
In 1992, they released the album Countdown to Extinction, a great commercial success, certified double platinum in the United States. The highlight goes to the song “Symphony of Destruction”, which is the best known by the public and was re-recorded by several other bands, and the song “Sweating Bullets” had great repercussions.
Youthanasia, released in 1994, kept the good level of the previous album. The title is a pun on the term euthanasia, implying that society is euthanizing its young people, which is consistent with Mustaine’s view. Youthanasia continues the trend of slower, hard rock-oriented songs that began with the Countdown to Extinction album. Highlights include the songs Reckoning Day, Train of Consequences and “A tout le monde”, which was for almost a year the most played song on US radio stations[source needed].
In 1995, they released the EP Hidden Treasures, which pleased the public, but the media didn’t pay much attention.
In 1997, Megadeth released Cryptic Writings, a “Back to the Origins” album with highlights such as: “She-Wolf”, “Trust”, and “Almost Honest”. That same year, Nick Menza left the band. Nick was diagnosed with a tumour in his knee. Tests found it to be benign, and the tumour was removed. Instead of cancelling the shows, Dave Mustaine called in drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. Nick Menza has told in several interviews that one day, while he was still in the hospital recovering from surgery, Dave Mustaine called and said, “Your services are no longer required.
Decline and temporary closure
In 1999, they released the album Risk, which followed the path of songs like “Almost Honest” from the previous album, featuring semi-electronic samples. Despite disappointing some fans, it generated many fans and was a sales success in the United States. The album’s sound was close to the alternative rock sound, which generated criticism from thrash metal listeners, a style by which Megadeth is often labelled. Highlights include the song “Crush Em'”, which became the theme song for several wrestling shows, was the theme song for the movie Universal Soldier and made the band win some awards. One of the assumed fans the band won was the actor Jean-Claude van Damme, who is now a good friend of Dave Mustaine.
Mustaine predicted that the Risk album would be guitarist Marty Friedman’s last. To this day it is not known for sure why he left. The official version is that he no longer wanted to play in any band but wanted to create a long solo career, which has been successful until today in Japan. In his place was Al Pitrelli, former guitarist of the band Savatage.
It was 2001, and the band released the controversial album The World Needs a Hero. It was very well received. It was seen as a return of Megadeth to the roots of thrash metal, after the more commercial style of rock found on the previous three albums – however, the album still retained some of the commercial styles. Dave Mustaine said that the album was like “a ship lost at sea trying to get back on course. A curiosity is that the band was barred from entering Malaysia to play a show. The reason was that “the band causes misconduct and makes young people visibly changed”.
On April 3, 2002, Dave decided to temporarily end Megadeth due to problems with a nerve in his arm. At that time, he got into a crisis with bassist David Ellefson, who left to form the group F5. During the confusion, Mustaine re-releases the album “Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!” with new tracks.
It was 2004, and everybody thought that the band would definitely close its activities, but Dave Mustaine managed to recover from his hamstring injury and announced the band’s resumption. In addition, he released more remastered CDs with new tracks.
In the middle of 2004, Megadeth released the album The System Has Failed, highlighting the songs Blackmail the Universe, Die Dead Enough and Of Mice and Man. Chris Poland (guitar), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) and Jimmie Lee Sloas (bass) complete the band as a temporary formation since this album was planned to be a solo album by Dave, who changed his mind, and after the recording, decided to reformulate the band.
The System Has Failed refers to the “American system and Western civilization” that dictates the world’s ways in Dave Mustaine’s opinion. Dave cites examples of such failure in the American educational system, which underpays its teachers and court, allowing criminals to escape punishment. After sales of the new album are better than expected, Mustaine announces a world tour. Preferring to revamp the band, he calls in guitarist Glen Drover and his brother Shawn Drover for drums. The bassist is James MacDonough. On October 11, 2005, the band played in Brazil.
In February 2006, then-bassist MacDonough was fired by Mustaine. Rumours on the internet suggested the return of David Ellefson. The latter had sued Mustaine two years earlier, but they made up. Everyone wanted the original bassist back except himself. He then called bassist James LoMenzo, ex-Black Label Society.
Also in 2006, the band released a new DVD, Arsenal of Megadeth, which sold very well in the United States. James LoMenzo was Megadeth’s bassist between 2006 and 2010
In October 2005, the band released a DVD entitled That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires. The United Abominations album came out in May and emerged as the band’s return to its roots, highlighting the songs “Sleepwalker”, “Washington Is Next!”, “Never Walk Alone (A Call To Arms)” and the reinterpretation of the classic “A Tout Le Monde”. The album resonated very well with fans all over the world. Some even say it’s the best album since Rust In Peace. The name is a pun on the name of the United Nations (United Nations).
Recently, the band released a new collection, Megadeth Warchest, which features 4 CDs with great songs from the band, including some unpublished ones and a bonus concert DVD. (recently when?)
On January 14, 2008, Mustaine officially announced the departure of Glen Drover. Glen preferred to spend more time with his family, so he was fired. The one chosen to replace Glen was the former Nevermore guitarist, Chris Broderick. Chris Broderick was the band’s guitarist between 2008 and 2014.
With Broderick on guitar, the band released Endgame in 2009, which so far has had very good acceptance from the media and the public, being considered one of the best albums ever released by Megadeth, highlighting the songs “Head Crusher”, “The Right to go Insane” and “The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed With a Kiss”. Dave Mustaine said the album was “fast, heavy, there’s singing, there’s growling, there’s talking, and guest vocals and the solos are insane”.
On February 8, 2010, Mustaine announced the return of original bassist David Ellefson, who had been with the band from its inception until 2002. Along with Ellefson’s return, Mustaine announces a 20th anniversary tour for Rust in Peace. Initially held only in the United States, the tour is extended to South America.
With the return of the original bassist, Megadeth released the album TH1RT3EN in November 2011. It received this name because it is the band’s thirteenth album, and Mustaine was born on the 13th, so he preferred it that way. He said, “This album is the culmination of my work over the thirteen records I’ve recorded. There are moments where it captures all my emotions and others where I release feelings that I never knew existed! The best moments of my musical career have been captured on TH1RT3EN.” Highlights include the songs Public Enemy No. 1 and Sudden Death. The latter was composed for the game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. The single was released saying on the cover, ‘Featured in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock’. Later, in May 2012, the band released a lyrics video for the song Whose Life (Is It Anyway). Thirteen days after the album’s release, the band performed in Brazil at the SWU music festival, being one of the biggest attractions.
On July 17, 2012, a tweet from the Twitter account of the Megadeth band’s fan page, Vic Rattlehead, reported that vocalist Dave Mustaine had begun writing lyrics for a successor album to Thirteen. Also, in an interview with NME, Mustaine revealed the existence of new material, commenting, “Some of it is a little darker, and some of it is a little faster.” Later in July, in an interview with activist and radio host Alex Jones, Mustaine announced that the band was preparing to start work on a new studio album. He wished the release good luck for the spring of 2013. Mustaine also clarified that the band sought a new record label to release the album. However, Mustaine did not identify which label might be chosen. The band had a contract with Roadrunner Records, but it was only for three albums, expiring after the release of the band’s studio album before this one, Thirteen.
In January 2013, several short videos were uploaded to the band’s official YouTube channel showing the band members in the studio playing and recording.
On January 24, 2013, Megadeth posted a photo of the members in rehearsal on their Facebook with the caption, “Dave and Shawn have recorded ten songs for our new album so far, and we’re doing the last track tonight.”
In an interview with Shockwaves, Dave Mustaine acknowledged that the label change brought some pressure to Megadeth’s new album, Super Collider. “No offence to Roadrunner, our old company, but we felt more respected by Universal. They wanted to hear the songs before the record was ready, which caused us some anxiety.” Vocalist David Draiman of the band Disturbed contributed two tracks to the album. “Forget To Remember” and “Dance In The Rain” are the songs. But the musician did not register a voice on “Forget To Remember”; he only contributed to the composition. Dave Mustaine confirmed the information on social networks.
Super Collider was released on June 4, 2013, and sold 29,000 copies in its first week, debuting at six # on Billboard. The lukewarm reception from critics and the public justified the sales number. Super Collider did not please conservative Megadeth fans. Highlights include the songs Kingmaker and Super Collider
In 2014, the band performed around the world on the “Youthanasia 20th Aniversary” tour, playing the Youthanasia album in its entirety in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of its release while Mustaine planned the release of a new album for 2015, beginning songwriting work in August 2014.
On November 25, 2014, drummer Shawn Drover announced his departure from the band, citing musical disagreements. Less than three hours later, guitarist Chris Broderick left the band, citing the same reasons.
After many rumours, in early 2015, Chris Adler of Lamb of God was confirmed as drummer for the upcoming album; however, he will not remain in the band. Also, in 2015, Brazilian Kiko Loureiro took a break from his activities in Angra to dedicate himself to Megadeth and replaced Chris Broderick.
On January 22, 2016, Dystopia, the band’s 15th album, already with the new lineup. Highlight the songs: Dystopia, Fatal Illusion, The Threat is Real and Post-American World.
Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!
Released: June 12, 1985
Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?
Released: September 19, 1986
So Far, So Good… So What!
Released: January 19, 1988
Rust in Peace
Released: September 24, 1990
Countdown to Extinction
Released: July 14, 1992
Released: November 1, 1994
Released: June 17, 1997
Released: August 31, 1999
The World Needs a Hero
Released: May 15, 2001
The System Has Failed
Released: September 14, 2004
Released: May 15, 2007
Released: September 15, 2009
Released: November 1, 2011
Released: June 4, 2013
Released: January 22, 2016
The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!
September 2, 2022