Right at the onset, I have to confess that listening to heavy metal music is one of my recent hobbies (developed in the last five years), so I am obviously not a heavy metal connoisseur. Heavy metal music is an extreme kind of music characterized by aggressive tempo and lyrics. It involves two awesome instruments – the guitar and drums. Acoustic guitars are not used in heavy metal, instead we have the electric guitar variants used. So, what got me attracted to this genre of music? It was METALLICA of course. To be even more exact, it was their song ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ which was used by pro-wrestler Triple H as his opening theme in Wrestlemania 27. Metallica is regarded as one of the most popular and commercially successful heavy metal bands. Their songs can act as a nice starting course for peeps who are new to this type of music. In all probability, folks who often say Metallica is the best metal band, would have only heard to just Metallica songs. However, take nothing away from their masterpiece albums Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightening, Justice for All and Black. In particular, Master of Puppets single is one of the best songs one could hear in any type of music.
I was hearing to just Metallica on a casual basis for almost four years and then I accidentally ran into that one song Holy Wars…The Punishment Due. BOOM! The genius of Dave Mustaine won me over. Enter MEGADETH and there was no turning back. While the uniqueness of the metal sound got me hooked to Metallica, it was the technical dexterity and ironically inspiring lyrics that got me hooked to Megadeth. If I have to draw an analogy here. Metallica is like Arnold Schwarzenegger while Megadeth is similar to Sylvester Stallone. Arnie became a household name with few global blockbusters during the 80s and 90s and it is safe to say he fizzled out with failed attempts at rehashing his own movies. On the other hand, Stallone had his big start with the Oscar winning Rocky but he never managed to attain the same level of popularity that Arnie attained. However, Stallone even at 69, continues to deliver memorable performances that keep the action movie fans interested. Recently, he indicated interest in playing dramatic roles which opens up a lot of exciting opportunities as Stallone is not a bad actor by any means. Stallone won a Golden Globe this year and is tipped to win the Oscar too, for his performance in the movie Creed. So, there you have it. Megadeth just like Stallone, has remained far more consistent than Metallica. They have 15 albums till date compared to Metallica’s nine studio albums. Megadeth is considered as one of the top thrash metal bands. Thrash metal is one of the exciting sub-genres of heavy metal, characterized by “thrashy” lyrics and faster tempo. The lyrics are never meant to provide a positive outlook on life, instead they convey the things wrong with the society, religion, government, international politics and even women & relationships.
Finally, coming to the main topic of this article, continuing our “Top Five” series, I now attempt to find my top five favorite Megadeth songs, a very very tough task considering the infinite number of memorable songs they continue to produce. Let’s start with the honourable mentions and obvious universal favourites – Holy Wars, Hangar 18, In My Darkest Hour, Wake Up Dead, Symphony of Destruction and Peace Sells are universally liked by every metal fan.
Tornado of Souls
IMO, this song is the dark horse behind Holy Wars if there is a universal poll on the best Megadeth song. This song is different from other Deth songs in the sense that I get a positive and inspiring vibe even though the lyrics are otherwise. This song shows the genius of Mr. Marty Friedman, who is considered as one of the greatest guitar players. Just listen to the solo that starts at 3:10 and you will be blown away. The tempo never drops and it is crazy ride from start to finish. Dave’s lyrics signify the brutal end of a relationship with a woman. It depicts the state of mind of a person who wants to hurt the other person for spoiling his life. Overall, this song seals the deal in making the Rust in Peace, one of my top 2 favourite metal albums.
This is not a typical speed metal or thrashy song by any means. But, it is still loved by metalheads. That drums intro from Nick Menza just wins the listener right away. If that intro was the only part of the song, it will still be good. Well, there is something with the lyrics again. It’s again about a failed relationship and the suffering at the end of it. Marty’s riffs blend beautifully with Mustaine’s vocals. Trust along with She-wolf (listen to Marty’s solo at the end!) are the best songs from the highly innovative Cryptic Writings album.
“God help me please, on my knees
Betrayed by lust
We lied to each other so much
That in nothing we trust
How could this be happening to me
I’m lying when I say, “Trust me”
I can’t believe this is true
Why does trust equal suffering
Absolutely nothing we trust”
Die Dead Enough
This song has Dave Mustaine written all over it. It shows his versatile skills as song-writer, guitarist and vocalist. This is the lead single from my favourite Deth album The System has Failed, which silenced his critics when they were claiming his career to be over. Chris Poland, one of Deth’s founders, rejoins Dave for this album, as a lead guitarist. The bass intro to this song just sets the right tone. The best part of the song is the use of chorus at important parts and also the complimentary riffs. The riffs of Jimmie Lee never gets the cred it deserves, especially the part from 2:43 to 3:29 is just so captivating to listen. The lyrics signify the diffidence and sorry state of a depressed man’s life who is unable to do anything properly. This song has amazing repeat value and is one of the most under-rated songs in metal circles, perhaps sharing the same fate as the whole album which IMO is more creative than any other Deth album.
Dave Mustaine is often criticized for dumping his team members over the years. He and Dave Ellefson have remained the only two consistent members (even Ellefson quit the band between 2004 and 2010). Despite the volatile nature of his crew, Dave has had the knack of picking the best artists. The latest album Dystopia is a testament. Chris Adler and Kiko Loureiro are the latest additions to the band and they have already set the stage on fire. Kiko is already being hailed to be on the same level as Marty Friedman. Well, is it a overstatement? Listen to the lead single Dystopia from the album. His riffs are innovative and the last 50 seconds of the song is a sheer headbanger’s delight, a compelling and pulsating combination of metal geniuses. This song is thrashy, fast, heavy and even too some extent melodious. The lyrics represent the current state of most countries where citizens live in consistent fear.
Most of Deth’s songs are based on Dave’s personal life incidents. Its been told that Dave came up with this song after a doctor told him that he was suffering from Schizophrenia. Let’s thank that doctor shall we 🙂 Sweating Bullets is a scintillating single from the album Countdown to Extinction. The music video of this song makes this song even more enjoyable. Metal fans often say Deth’s best lineup is Mustaine, Ellefson, Friedman and Menza. I think I may have to agree to that statement because the albums that these four produced, are some of the best metal albums of all time. Mainly, because each one complements the other very well. Friedman and Ellefson are awesome in this song. But, this song belongs with Dave’s vocals. The way he has sung it, I don’t think anyone would dream of singing it the same way. Such a blast from start to end.