A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1990
Review by: Dinar Khayrutdinov
Thrash metal was still hot in 1990, but this is not why this album was so successful in the charts and acclaimed by critics. Why was it that well-received, though? What distinguishes it from other thrash metal albums? The answer is quite simple – it simply went one step beyond everything the genre was known for: ferocious riffage, technical complexity, kick-ass speed and angry, socially conscious lyrics. Remember that movie, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’, where a rock band members really wanted to go ‘one louder’ by having their amps ‘go to 11’? This is what Megadeth did on this album (not literally, of course). Rust in Peace is an onslaught from the very opening riffs of ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’ to the closing chords of ‘My Creation’, but not in the all-out crazy way either, no siree! Megadeth sure as hell ain’t Slayer. Mustaine is clever enough to amp up the songwriting, the musicianship and the production too instead of just going for speed and aggression. But the main thing is here, folks: THIS IS A CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING ALBUM! Every song has something to offer, be it hooky guitar lines (yes! they manage to make thrash-metal catchy!), tasty solos, time signature changes (they’re almost going prog on some of the songs!) or ironic lyrics about wars, nuclear holocausts and government conspiracies (with aliens!).
So, in a nutshell, this is why Rust in Peace is my favorite 1990 album. It pushes the boundaries of thrash-metal in every direction without ever going “out-of-the-genre”: it’s still just thrash metal, yeah, but it’s THAT good. If you’re a metalhead, you have probably already heard it. If you’re not but you have at least a passing interest in metal, this is not one to miss.