Megadeth Rust In Peace's 30th Anniversary
What in the arrangement makes this classic thrash record so unique?
Today marks the 30 years of Rust in Peace by Megadeth! What is your favorite song from this album, and why?
To me, this album is innovative in so many ways and the best example probably is the first song ‘Holy Wars’.
This is a piece out of this world where the guitars rush at an insane speed, creating an inimitable feeling of urgency.
This song includes breakdowns where the drummer plays half time. To make it simple, this basically means that the drummer suddenly plays ‘slower’, infusing a feeling of heaviness in the music. Half time breakdowns are literally what every modern metal band is doing nowadays. Dave Mustaine was doing it in 1990.
In terms of harmony, the riff starts with fifth intervals, which is extremely common in metal. This is what we call ‘power chords’ because they sound heavy as f***. However, once the verse starts, the riff switches to a third, which is much less common in thrash metal. Rather than heaviness, the third interval brings this ‘scary evil vibe’, which is why you usually hear it in black metal, the most evil genre. The way that Dave Mustaine moves from fifths to thirds intervals creates melodic variety and harmonic depth and nourishes the overall richness of the song.
Although labelled as thrash, this album fits somewhere between thrash and prog, bringing diverse ideas from black metal and even jazz.
Also, among the reasons why this album is amazing, do I even need to mention… Dave. Just Dave on guitars. I mean, WOW. And backed up by another astonishing soloist: Marty Friedman.
This album brought Megadeth to the top of the thrash scene. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax form the ‘Big Four’, that is to say the most successful thrash bands in the US.
Happy birthday, ‘Rust in Peace’! You are 30 years old and you still make my heart beat like the first day I heard you.