By Brian M. Howle
Every heavy metal musician strives for one thing from the first time they hear that first intoxicating, addictive chord, measure, or lyric – to be in a band that breaks through the unmerciful world of music oblivion and then zooms to world-wide adulation and insane quadruple-Platinum sales. So just imagine that you’ve paid a lot of dues, honed your skills and hooked up with such a group – and then just as they teeter on the threshold of superstardom and a seminal debut album – you get fired and sent home on a Greyhound bus – cross country. Alone. What would you do?
Well, if you were Dave Mustaine, you’d just go out and form your own legendary, iconic heavy-metal thrash band, and you’d name it Megadeth. Which is an amazing coinky dink, because Megadeth – with opening acts Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Arcanium – comes to House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, November 28, 2009.
Here’s a little info on the band and their latest release, for which they are touring in support of for this visit:
Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1983. Founded by Dave Mustaine following his departure from Metallica, the band has since released twelve studio albums, six live albums, two EPs, twenty six singles, thirty-two music videos, and three compilations.
As a pioneer of the American thrash metal movement, Megadeth rose to international fame in the 1980s, but experienced numerous line-up changes, due partly to the band’s notorious substance abuse problems. From 1983 to 2002, Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson were the only continuous members of the band. After finding sobriety and securing a stable line-up, Megadeth went on to release a string of platinum and gold albums, including the platinum-selling landmark Rust in Peace in 1990 and the Grammy nominated, multi-platinum Countdown to Extinction in 1992. Megadeth disbanded in 2002 after Mustaine suffered a severe nerve injury to his left arm. However, following extensive physical therapy, Mustaine reformed the band in 2004 and released The System Has Failed, followed by United Abominations in 2007; the albums debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #18 and #8, respectively.
Megadeth is known for a distinctive guitar style, often involving complex, intricate musical passages, and trade off guitar solos. Mustaine is also known for his original “snarling” vocal style, as well as his recurring lyrical themes, often involving politics, war, addiction, and personal relationships.
Megadeth has had some commercial success worldwide and has sold more than 20 million albums, with six consecutive albums being certified platinum in the USA. The band has also received great critical acclaim with seven consecutive Grammy nominations for Best Metal Performance. In the band’s 24 active years, Megadeth has had 20 official members, with Dave Mustaine remaining as the driving force, main songwriter, and sole original member following the end of his musical partnership with David Ellefson in 2002, due to personal disagreements. In the mid-late 1980s, Megadeth were one of the “Big Four of Thrash,” along with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who were responsible for creating, developing and popularizing the thrash metal sub-genre.
As Megadeth’s primary lyricist, Mustaine is known for his often controversial, political, and more recently, personal lyrics. War and nuclear war are common topics, including the military-industrial complex (“Architecture of Aggression”, “Hangar 18”, “Return to Hangar” “Take No Prisoners”), and the aftermath of war (“Dawn Patrol” “Ashes In Your Mouth”). The name Megadeth is a deliberate misspelling of the word megadeath, a term coined in 1953 by RAND military strategist Herman Kahn to describe one million deaths, popularized in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. Politics are also a common theme to many Megadeth songs, such as Mustaine’s scathing assessment of Tipper Gore, the PMRC, and music censorship in the song “Hook In Mouth”. Mustaine takes an environmentalist stance in “Countdown to Extinction” and “Dawn Patrol”, and shuns dictators in songs like “Warhorse”, and “Symphony of Destruction”. The UN is criticized for its ineffectiveness in “United Abominations”. Mustaine’s general cynicism regarding politics shines through on tracks like “Peace Sells”, “The World Needs A Hero” and “Blackmail the Universe”.
Controversial and misunderstood lyrics have also caused problems for the band, as the music video for “In My Darkest Hour” was banned from MTV in 1988 when the music channel deemed the song to be pro-suicide. The music video for “À Tout le Monde” was later banned by MTV, again wrongly interpreted as being pro- suicide, when in fact it was written from the perspective of a dying man, saying his last words to his loved ones
Addiction is also a common theme, as in “Use the Man”, “Burnt Ice”, and “Addicted to Chaos”, about a former substance abuse counselor who died of a drug overdose. Recently, some lyrics have taken on religious themes, such as “Never Walk Alone… A Call to Arms”, which supposedly is about Mustaine’s relationship with God, and “Shadow of Deth”, with spoken lyrics taken directly from Psalm 23 of the King James Bible.
Dave Mustaine is notorious for making inflammatory statements in the press, usually regarding feuds and problems with former bandmates and other bands, including Slayer and Metallica. Perhaps most well known is his long standing feud with Metallica members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, stemming from his ejection from the band, and the method in which it was conducted, as well as disagreements on songwriting credits.
In April 1988, at a concert in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Mustaine “unknowingly” dedicated the final song to the IRA. Before the final song, “Anarchy in the UK”, Mustaine said, “This one’s for The Cause!”. A fight amongst the audience ensued, as Protestants took offense and, according to Mustaine, the band had to travel in a “bulletproof bus” for the remainder of the tour of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Mustaine later alleged that he had been misled as to the meaning of the expression “the cause” by T-Shirt bootleggers outside the venue where they were performing. This incident served as inspiration for one of Megadeth’s most well-known songs, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”.
Also sparking minor controversy was Mustaine’s announcement that Megadeth will not play certain songs live anymore, due to Mustaine’s new identification as a Christian. In recent years Dave Mustaine has become a Born again Christian. In May 2005 Mustaine also allegedly threatened to cancel shows in Greece and Israel with extreme metal bands Rotting Christ and Dissection, due to the bands’ perceived anti-Christian beliefs, which in turn caused the two bands to cancel their appearances.
With over 25 million albums sold worldwide, ten top 40 albums (including 5 top 10 albums), 18 top 40 Mainstream Rock singles, and seven Grammy nominations, Megadeth remains one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time. Of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands (Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer), Megadeth is second only to Metallica in sales and commercial success.
As an early pioneer of thrash metal, Megadeth helped pave the way for the burgeoning extreme metal movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and is often cited as an influence by later metal acts, including Pantera, Arch Enemy, Lamb of God, and In Flames.
Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? is considered a landmark in the history of thrash metal, with Allmusic calling the album “One of the most influential metal albums of its decade, and certainly one of the few truly definitive thrash albums,” as well as “one of the best beginning-to-end metal albums ever”. In May 2006 VH1 ranked “Peace Sells” #11 on the 40 Greatest Metal Songs of all time countdown. In addition to this, Rust In Peace was named the 3rd greatest thrash metal album of all time by Metal Hammer magazine. Peace Sells…But Who’s buying? was placed 11th. In 2004, Guitar World magazine ranked Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman together at #19 on the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time.
The current lineup for Megadeth is: Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, guitar (1983–present); Chris Broderick – guitar, backing vocals (2008–present); James Lomenzo – bass guitar, backing vocals (2006–present); and, Shawn Drover – drums, percussion (2004–present)
Endgame is the twelfth studio album by Megadeth. Released on September 9, 2009, it is the first album featuring guitarist Chris Broderick following Glen Drover’s departure in 2008.
The first preview of any song off Endgame was a six-minute video featuring the band’s English producer Andy Sneap describing the process of mixing the new Megadeth track “Head Crusher” at his studio in Derbyshire, England. In the video, Sneap says, “It’s certainly old-school Megadeth — that’s what I like.” Endgame was recorded at the band’s own personal studio, aptly named Vic’s Garage, in San Marcos, California USA.
Endgame received highly positive reviews and was thought of continuing the success from the band’s 2007 album United Abominations. Chad Bowar, About.com reviewer, stated, “Megadeth is still at the top of their game. Endgame has some old-school moments, but also modern ones. 2007’s United Abominations garnered a lot of critical praise and was on many year-end best of lists that year… Endgame is even better.” Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic stated, “…and company’s second release for Roadrunner, Endgame, whose title apparently refers to “coming full circle” rather than any sort of goodbye, and finds the latest iteration of Megadeth — debuting new guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Nevermore, Jag Panzer) — working primarily within their technical thrash comfort zone (think Peace Sells through Rust in Peace), with only a few latter-day elements and rare experimental diversions.”
Endgame debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200, selling 45,000 copies in the United States and 8,200 copies in Canada in its first week of release. The album also placed as #1 on the Hard Rock Albums chart and #2 on the Rock Albums chart. Musician Slash gave a favorable review to Endgame via twitter. Hey, what better endorsement do you want, huh?
So prepare to slosh that leetle gray matter mass around your noggin’ as Megadeth – with supporting acts Machine Head, Suicide Silence and Arcanium (no pushing, now, plenty of angry angst for all the kids!) – refine head banging at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Doors open 6:00pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit http://www.houseofblues.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com.
This article also appears at http://www.myrtlebeachalternatives.com under “Nightlife & Entertainment” in the Nov. 5, 2009 issue. was originally published at: https://bhowle.wordpress.com.