Bands celebrating milestone albums with anniversary tours has become an often tired marketing exercise designed to coax even the most jaded fan to put their hand into their pocket. However, while COVID-19 has ensured groups aren’t able to do so at the moment, some metal fans are still left seeking a nostalgia fix outside of watching classic sets on YouTube.
Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece may go some way towards filling such a void. And for the band, it helps keep the name omnipresent while in lockdown. Thirty years on from the record’s release, the book celebrates and documents the making of Megadeth’s fourth LP, one rightfully considered a thrash metal landmark and by many to be their greatest work.
A quick read at less than 200 pages, the book largely adopts an oral history format, which makes it ease to consume. The tome seeks to place the genesis of Rust in Peace in its proper context, beginning with the rampant addictions that plagued band leader Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson prior to recording, the missed opportunities due to these issues, and their respective long roads to sobriety. Covered along the way is the recruitment of then new members (guitarist Marty Friedman and late drummer Nick Menza), the creation of the record, video shoots, touring cycle and other assorted personal details. As Ellefson notes, it was an album they, “wrote in our darkest days and then recorded in our brightest days with our brightest future”.
There are worthwhile insights along the way, such as Mustaine’s explanation of the lyrics in each song, which does afford a new appreciation of them. It’s not just a self-congratulatory, mutual admiration society type vibe, though. For one, there is evidently still friction between the main-man and Friedman, with songwriting credits on Rust in Peace a real bone of contention. The aborted attempts at reforming the Rust in Peace-era line-up years later is also dissected, and the reader’s left disappointed that this version of the band, its definitive incarnation, was unable to reconvene for even a brief victory lap.
Given Mustaine already penned an autobiography several years back, perhaps doing a deep dive into a classic record was viewed as a no-brainer when seeking subject matter for a follow-up. And it’s certainly a release worthy of greater attention. The finished product isn’t essential reading for anyone bar the most diehard Megadeth or thrash fan, but given there are plenty of such folks about, it should find a sizeable audience.