Megadeth is a pretty important band to Hellbound readers. In fact, two of the five most read articles on this website are articles dealing primarily with the band – check the Most Viewed feature on the bottom of any page to see what I mean – and it is very easy to see why. Since we started this here place back in 2009 the band has been in high gear, releasing what was arguably their best album in nearly a decade in Endgame and touring their asses off for the better part of a year afterwards. Not to mention the fact that Junior (AKA Dave Ellefson) returned to the group after an extended hiatus, proving once again that yes, time can heal all wounds.
Of course, the real reason that Megadeth is so important is because of their place in the history of modern metal. Dave Mustaine is arguably one of the five most influential people in the world of heavy metal; his groundbreaking guitar style and succinct song writing not only kick-started both Metallica and Megadeth’s career but also influenced at least two generations of budding metal musicians. Many believe Mustaine single-handedly started thrash – I think I might give that nod to Lips from Anvil and his riffing on the Metal On Metal album – but no matter what you think there is no denying just what an important figure he has been towards the continuous evolution of metal music. And as far as this writer is concerned, no album Mustaine plays on has ever been as important as Rust In Peace is.
Originally released twenty years ago, Rust In Peace easily sits in the same revered place as true metal classics like Piece Of Mind, In Rock, Ace of Spades and Stained Class. It is the type of album that you pull out when a curious friend wants to know what the best metal albums of all time are. It is the culmination of the early formative years of Megadeth, which betters the already impressive levels the band had reached previously on Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying a few years before. The twin riffing of Mustaine and Marty Friedman, the rock-solid rhythm section of Ellefson and Nick Menza and perhaps the best group of songs ever penned by Mustaine secures its place in the upper pantheon of must have metal releases.
It almost seemed a no-brainer for the band to announce they would celebrate RIP’s twentieth anniversary by playing the album in its entirety. Actually, it was something that made me really, really happy, as I have always loved the album more as an entire piece than as a group of separate songs. The idea of going to see them do it front to back was like a dream come true and one that I managed to do a few times in person before the release of this DVD. Which may be the ultimate reason why I think that while this DVD is really, really good that I know it’s not as amazing as it could be. Not to mention the fact that I feel the current line-up of the band, with Shawn Drover on drums and Chris Broderick on guitar, is the hands down the best incarnation of Megadeth since the Friedman/Menza era.
Recorded live at Hollywood’s Palladium during the first leg of their Rust In Peace anniversary tour, the show was captured beautifully on a mixture of digital cameras and film that has a great pace. The cuts are not overtly quick, a problem with many live concert films these days, and it sounds really good both through my television and my stereo system. The producers knew to keep the cameras with the guitarists for their solos, unlike the cameras in The Big Four theater presentation, who seemed to miss the majority of the solos. Technically this is captured very well. I have very few problems with it.
So here is my one and only minor complaint – and it really isn’t a complaint at all. As good as this concert is, I think the band made a mistake filming it so early on in the touring cycle. The band is solid here, definitely better than a lot of bands on their best night, but the two shows I saw them do in Toronto and London, Ontario this summer blew this performance away. Especially the one in Toronto, where Megadeth really proved that on their best night they can blow away a band the calibre of Slayer with ease.
The bonus material on the disc caused a bit of an argument between my wife and I. The few times that I have watched this blu-ray disc in her presence she has noted that it seems like Mustaine has re-recorded the vocals to the six songs included as bonus. She swears the vocals have been overdubbed. Me, I’m not so sure (and don’t really care, honestly) as I am all about the main set anyway. Another cool portion is the behind-the-scenes footage, which follows Mustaine through the afternoon leading up to this show and also gives a look into the band rehearsing.
Bottom line: a great snapshot of this current incarnation of the band, even if a few more months on the road turned the band from really great to completely shit hot by summer’s end. I can’t wait to see where they are going to go from here with a new studio album. My fingers are crossed!
(Shout Factory / Universal)