Sound — 10
Megadeth's fourth album, and what many consider their last true thrash album, is one to remember. Also, it's the first album in which frontman Dave Mustaine was completely sober for it's creation. This is the hardcore, punch in the face, thrash metal of the early Megadeth (circa Peace Sells... ) with the technical power of new guitarist Marty Friedman. In the solos, you can see plenty of classical and middle eastern influences, and trust me, there are plenty, plenty, of solos for the fans on this album. This is what many consider Megadeth's greatest musical effort, and I will say that it definately isn't anything short of amazing.
Lyrics — 9
Megadeth's lyrical content evolves from their prior album (So Far, So Good... So What? ) and seems to gain a general focus on political subjects, a theme that was started on SFSGSW, and is fine tuned on Rust in Peace. There's still a bit of variety as far as lyrical topics with tracks such as Five Magics, and Poison Was the Cure offering alternatives. I think this album is also Megadeth's strongest lyrical effort, with tracks such as Holy Wars... The Punishment Due and Tornado of Souls standing out as amazing works of art, lyrically and musically. Once again, Dave's voice continues to evolve as you begin to see his trademark growl start to show it's face again, however, in some aspects the vocals may fall short for fans. I personally didn't like Dave's vocal work on Hangar 18. While, still vocally brilliant, the song kind of lacked. Otherwise, the lyrical section of the album is ace.
Overall Impression — 10
Holy Wars and Hangar 18 alone could make this an album worth mention and comparison with other bands' albums, however, the album offers so much more than just these two tracks, with highly technical solos and powerful thrash riff work on every other track on the album, save Dawn Patrol, which serves as a display of David Ellefson's work on bass, and as a filler for the general political theme of the album. I love the overall solo work on the album. Friedman is a beast, and his team up with Mustaine on this album gives birth to many, many, highly technical, but thrash oriented, tracks. There really isn't anything to dislike here, except maybe Mustaine's vocals on Hangar 18. If this album was stolen or lost, I would definately replace it, as this is the essence of Megadeth. This album captures all of the spirit, the tone, the aggression, and the power of one of thrash metal's greatest acts. I suggest this album to ALL fans of thrash metal, and suggest that anyone who's considering getting into Megadeth to check the album out, if not just for Holy Wars and Hangar 18, but for all of the solo work, especially that in the aforementioned tracks as well as Tornado of Souls and Five Magics.