Archives For megadeth

I first started working on this series about four years ago. It has been through many revisions, rewrites, and re-visitations since then.

But here’s the thing: metal history doesn’t stop!

So let us consider this coverage of more “recent” events (since 2010 or so) as a bonus.

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2016 was not off to a good start for us headbangers with Lemmy Kilmister’s passing, but I am happy and proud to say that this latest Megadeth statement helped jerk me out of my mourning phase.
More than thirty years into their career, Megadeth has managed to craft one their stronger all-time records. As the excellent cyborg-apocalypse album art shows, the band has its finger on the fear and anger over the state of our world in 2016, with strong, tight, relevant music to match.

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As I drove through the parking lot of Nassau Coliseum, the bass riff of “Dawn Patrol” thundering at top volume, I kept thinking about what a great deal my ticket for this show was: $40 for three of the most legendary and successful metal bands of all time (Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, and if Metallica been added to the bill, that price would have easily climbed to $150).

It was the 20th anniversary of the 1990 thrash masterworks “Rust In Peace” and “Seasons In The Abyss,” so both records would be performed straight through. I’ve always enjoyed that, as it’s like a giant listening party for the benefit of the especially eager fans. When you’ve taken the time to love every song on the record, it’s rewarding for you and the band, since you both get to hear and perform songs you usually don’t get to hear live.

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After the 1990s, which saw the rise of experimentation away from thrash metal with varying degrees of success, the genre was due for another sea change. New sounds were cropping up everywhere in the music world (not all of them good by any means), and in the midst of it all the old guards felt compelled to rediscover their original brazen sound. Just as all good things must come to an end, so must all bad things as well.

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It’s incredible how mass tastes in music can change so quickly. 1991 was a year of absolute sea change in this regard, and metal wasn’t immune. Some would argue that the genre came of age in the 1990s, giving rise to a beautiful time of rich experimentation. 80s synths and big hair were out; grunge and plaid were in. For metal, thrash, British, and other “classic” metal were out (temporarily), and more extreme/advanced subgenres like death metal, black metal, and prog metal were in.

So, what exactly happened to thrash?

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“The Big Four” is a name given to a group of four of the most popular and influential thrash metal groups, all of whom started in the United States in the 1980s: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Between them, they have sold about 200 million albums worldwide, a true juggernaut. For many mainstream listeners, thrash metal performed by one of these groups is likely their first exposure to heavy metal of any kind. So many are their collective sales and accolades that some fans complain that they took attention away from other excellent, but lesser-known thrash bands (which is why I’m writing a separate section for those bands beyond the Big Four).

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