Monday, September 29, 2008

Metal Mondays: Megadeth, 'Holy Wars...The Punishment Due'

Since the ‘Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying’ album in 1986, the band had endured several years of chaotic upheaval, surviving amongst other things, substance abuse problems and a revolving door band membership. Though this would have shattered a lesser figure, Dave Mustaine has proven himself to be one of the great survivors of metal.

After his bitter ousting from Metallica, he ploughed his own thrash metal furrow, achieving nothing less than excellence but never coming close to knocking his erstwhile partners from the top of the mountain. He convened the latest aggregation of the band for his next album ‘Rust In Peace', armed with a stupendously talented new lead guitarist, Marty Friedman. Friedman was cast into the spotlight and rises to the occasion with aplomb adding a third dimension to the rampaging landscapes. Friedman’s neoclassical textures singlehandedly broke the stranglehold of the Randy Rhoads/ Eddie Van Halen cluster style which had dominated much of eighties metal.

‘Holy Wars... The Punishment Due’, is a two-part song, ‘Holy Wars’ which threads a familiar Mustaine theme of apocalyptic jihad is something that only he can do with a semblence of credibilty. ‘The Punishment Due’, on the other hand, is about the Marvel comics character ‘The Punisher', and is classic revenge fantasy stuff. Adding his usual abrasive rhythm guitar to conjure up fury, Mustaine leads his mercenaries with wild vigour, like a man having exorcised his past demons, creating a masterpiece to rival anything in the genre. Now it was time for the competition to play catch-up.

Where to find: Rust In Peace (1990)

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