Sound — 10
In 1990, Megadeth released one of the greatest thrash metal albums ever created. You know what? That could actually be my whole review right there. But I think I'll elaborate. After kicking Jeff Young and Chuck Behler out partially due to the poor reception of 1988's "So Far, So Good... So What!" (even though I peronally thought it was pretty sweet), Megadeth needed a new guitarist and drummer. Axe-wielder Marty Friedman took the guitar spot while Nick Menza came in on drums, and the "classic" 'Deth lineup was born that would stay intact for four studio albums. Filled with complex guitar solos and even astoundingly hard rhythms, the band's unique song arrangements make the album touch the boundaries of prog metal, and many guitarists (I included) will tell you that it's the band's hardest album to play, by far. And it's not just complex guitar, either; Nick Menza also happens to be an amazing drummer. The intro to "Rust In Peace... Polaris", for instance, is a miniature but impressive drum solo, and maniacal fills and robotic-speed beats blister mercilessly throughout the album. Also, David Ellefson lays down some nice bass lines, though the uncomprehensive production job (as with most of Megadeth's albums) makes him almost impossible to hear. Although he does get a pretty awesome bass solo flurry in "Take No Prisoners", and he's the only guitarist present on "Dawn Patrol".
Lyrics — 10
In my eyes, Rust in Peace shows a lyrical quantum leap when compared to the band's previous 3 albums. The usual war & political themes still reign true, but are delivered from such a more mature approach that the lyrics almost become as astounding as the guitar work (rare for Megadeth; or even thrash metal, for that matter). "Hangar 18" delightfully mocks the government's cover up of alien activity, and tells the story of accidentally stumbling upon a top-secret alien haven, obviously names Hangar 18. "Dawn Patrol" is a creepy 2-minute dark number about how we create bombs and other weapons and seem to think nothing of it, and how it will be the death of us. Mustaine sings in a soft but sinister voice, over a simple drum line and one of the creepiest bass lines ever. The song acts as a prelude to the album's closer, "Rust In Peace... Polaris", into which "Dawn Patrol" segues. The album's closer is perhaps the most disturbing song on the album. Continuing with the theme of "Dawn Patrol", "Rust in Peace" explains in haunting detail the story of the threat of nuclear war, and how the government keeps telling people that it won't happen. Mustaine's verses tell about the inevitable warfare finally happening and describes what is, quite literally, the end of the world. What is probably the most shockingly descriptive and accurate portrayal of this would be the line: "Back to the start, talk of the part, when the Earth was cold as ice/Total dismay as the sun passed away, and the days were black as night". And, of course, Mustaine's brilliantly haunting rhythm work behind it makes it one of the most memorable album-closers ever.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, there's really nothing here that disappoints. All I can say is that it's easily my favorite Megadeth album. Its ridiculously complex guitar work intertwined with Mustaine's perfectly satirical lyrics make it a true knockout, and you don't have to be a guitarist to see that.