Megadeth / Rust In Peace – the good, the bad and the ugly

10 December 2020

Many artists, even those who “make it”, cannot necessarily claim to have a seminal album that is held up as one of the finest in their respective genre. Megadeth is in the unique position where more than one of their albums can be argued as their most influential and popular release.

There is one in particular though, when named, is rarely followed by debate. In September 1990, Megadeth unleashed this album onto the world; their now legendary fourth album titled ‘Rust In Peace’.

Dave Mustaine – Rust In Peace (Hachette Books)

Words: Brandon Oberkrieser

The story behind this album is as great as the music itself, and is told with complete honesty and rawness in the book ‘Rust In Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece’ written by Dave Mustaine himself (with Joel Selvin).

Dave Mustaine, Rust In Peace.
Rust In Peace, Hachette Books

Despite the authorship belonging to Mustaine, the legendary frontman, guitarist and overall musical mastermind of Megadeth, the book is told through the eyes of all the important figures involved in the writing, recording and touring of Rust In Peace.

The Foreword, written by Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, helps set the stage for the importance of the album, while the opening chapter then drops you off at Castle Donington and the drug fueled mania that was Megadeth during the writing of Rust In Peace. Both Mustaine and Megadeth bassist and co-founding member David Ellefson detail their drug addiction with complete honesty throughout the book.

After their lengthy struggle of getting clean, this becomes the first album that the two record in sobriety. The longtime bandmates are honest about how sobriety changed their friendship and the future of the band.

Elsewhere the book chronicles how guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza join the band, creating what many consider to be the definitive line up of Megadeth. Additionally the recording of the album is detailed by all major figures including producer Mike Clink, including how he meticulously pieced together the songs during the recording process.

Dave Mustine and David Ellefson from Heavy Metal band Megadeth
Mustaine and Ellefson

The subsequent touring behind the record is also chronicled, including the now legendary Clash Of The Titans Tour with Slayer, Anthrax and a then unknown up and coming band named Alice In Chains.

Of course the book also details the songs themselves. In an entire chapter, Mustaine goes track by track talking about his inspiration for the lyrics of each song. He then goes beyond the words, detailing the arrangements, solos and of course the all important riffs.

If you are a fan of Megadeth, or even just a music fan who is interested in learning more about one of the all time great metal albums, I highly recommend this book.

Megadeth Live at Hallam Arena, Sheffield 13th February 2009 - Photo By Mick Burgess
Megadeth, Sheffield 2009. Photo: Mick Burgess

It is an honest and unfiltered look at the most important era in the long, illustrious career of one of the greatest Metal bands of all time.

Even when it becomes hard to decipher between fact and fiction, there is no denying that everybody is at least telling their truth. It might not be how it happened, but it does mostly come across that when there are disagreements (for example how or by who a song was composed), those involved are truthfully speaking what they think or how they remember it.

For a book that was written by Dave Mustaine, he certainly did not censor or edit what people had to say, even if it was derogatory or how he explains it at the end of the book, “painful” for him to hear.

This is the story of Rust In Peace; the good, the bad and the ugly.

It is important all of this is covered to get the full story of a true masterpiece and the definitive album of their career.

Photo of David Ellefson
David Ellefson. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
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