Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heavy Band 003: Megadeth

The only problem that I'm having selecting bands for the heavy band of the week is determining which of the band that I want to feature each week.

In April of 1983, Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica, he was then determined to create a band even greater than them. Though he hasn't had the commercial success that they have, I believe that he accomplished his goal. Megadeth has had more complex music, more intelligent lyrics, and has a much more sinister sound... but first perhaps we should go back to the beginning. The only other constant member of the band is David Ellefson, though from 2003-9 he wasn't in the band. Ellefson has played some of the most influential bass riffs in metal. Dave Mustaine met David Ellefson in 1983 just a few months after Metallica had left him stranded in New York. The story goes that Ellefson heard Mustaine playing upstairs in their apartment building, he went up to Mustaine's apartment and asked if he could bum a smoke. Mustaine closed the door in his face, and Ellefson returned a few minutes later with some money, asking if Mustaine could buy them some liquor. Mustaine replied something like, "Now you're talking." They bought some booze, he revealed that he could kind of play bass, they got drunk and jammed.
The first album that they released was Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good. This album sounds a lot like Metallica's Kill 'Em All album, due to the fact that Dave developed a lot of the songs for Kill 'Em All and he recycled several of the riffs for Killing Is My Business, but in addition to this he added several other riffs that he had been working on since. The album was speedy and thick with truly sick riffs. There were so many riffs in this album that it could have been expanded into 5 separate albums, each of which would have sounded pretty awesome. Killing Is My Business foreshadows the greatness to come. In addition to the kickass title track, the songs Skull Beneath The Skin introduces the band's mascot Vic Rattlehead, who is featured on the front cover, a skull with a visor nailed to his eyes with meathooks holding shut his mouth. The song Rattlehead is perhaps the heaviest song from 1985. It has a speedy feel of the fastest Judas Priest song.
1986 brought Megadeth's second release Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? The title track was a very cynical take on our society. The intro bass riff to the song is one of the most awesome of all time. The bass riff was used as an intro for MTV News for over a decade. Megadeth's cynicism that began on this album was refreshing in the 1980s when no one was questioning societal norms, everyone was just happy to be sheep. Songs like The Conjuring and Good Mourning/Black Friday showed some of the most metal heavy guitar licks, with lyrics about occult topics.
Megadeth's third album So Far, So Good... So What! featured an occult heavy song by the name of Mary Jane that would be worthy of old school Black Sabbath. Mustaine wrote the song In My Darkest Hour after finding out about the death of his former band mate Metallica's Cliff Burton.
Rust in Peace is an amazing work. Every song is a masterpiece. Holy Wars...The Punishment Due is the first song on it. It is the tale of a man who has lost everything that he has, due to the fact that he worships in the wrong church. "They killed my wife and my baby...tried to enslave me." Hanger 18 delves into US conspiracies, specifically Hanger 18 in Roswell NM. The drum intro to Rust in Peace...Polaris leading into the sick guitar riffing makes it one of the hardest songs of all time. Never to be heard on the radio, in part due to its message about nuclear arms. This album is my all time favorite Megadeth album.
In the early 1990s Megadeth continued with their hard rocking with Countdown to Extinction. Countdown to Extinction is the most commercially successful album released by Megadeth. This is in contrast to it being the most political album to be released in 1992. The songs Symphony of Destruction and Architecture of Aggression are about dictatorships and the buildup of the military industrial complex. Foreclosure of a Dream is about the loss of the family farm, as farms were being gobbled up by ConAgra. This was the first album not to feature Vic Rattlehead on the album cover, and he wouldn't be on another Megadeth album for the 1990s.
The last Megadeth album that I am going to write about is 1994's Youthanasia. Featuring the kickass songs Reckoning Day, Train of Consequences, and A Tout le Monde. Train of Consequences opens with the best opening lines of all time, "I'm doing you a favor, As I'm taking all your money, I guess I should feel sorry, But I don't even trust me."

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1 comment:

Calogero said...

Thanks for your notes!

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Heavy Metal Yogi by Nick Matthaes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.