Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. It was released on September 24, 1990 by Capitol Records. The album was produced by Mike ClinkRust in Peace is the first album to feature guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza, following the departure of Jeff Young and Chuck Behler in 1989. Two singles were released from the album: "Hangar 18" and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", which have become staples of the band's live performances.

Rust in Peace has received universal acclaim by fans and critics, and was responsible for bringing Megadeth to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. It has been cited as one of the best thrash metal records of all time by publications such as Decibel and Kerrang! and listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards.

A remixed and remastered version featuring four bonus tracks was released in 2004. In addition, in January 2010, the band announced a North American tour to commemorate the album's 20th anniversary. Their performance at the Hollywood Palladium was filmed and released as Rust in Peace Live on CD, DVD and Blu-ray later that year.


 [hide*1 Background


In 1988, Megadeth appeared at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park in the UK, alongside Iron MaidenKissHelloweenGuns N' Roses, and David Lee Roth, performing to an audience of more than 100,000 people.[1] The band was soon added to the "Monsters of Rock" European tour, but dropped out after the first show due to bassist David Ellefson's drug problems.[2] Due to further issues within the band, Dave Mustaine fired both drummer Chuck Behlerand guitarist Jeff Young, and canceled their scheduled 1988 Australian tour.[3] Nick Menza, previously Behler's drum tech, was hired as the band's new drummer.[4] The search for a new guitarist was a drawn out process. Mustaine examined a number of guitarists for the job, including "Dimebag Darrell" Abbott of Pantera, who was initially offered the job before declining.[5] According to Mustaine, one of the last guitarists he had heard about, Marty Friedman, had sent him a CD, Dragon's Kiss. Upon listening to the CD, Mustaine had Friedman come in to audition and hired him.[4] This would become the band's first stable line-up.[6]

The title "Rust in Peace" was inspired by a bumper sticker that Mustaine saw on the back of a vehicle. In an interview from 1990, Mustaine remarked, "I was driving home from Elsinore... um, Lake Elsinore. I was tailgating somebody, racing down the freeway, and I saw this bumper sticker on their car and it said... you know, this tongue-in-cheek stuff like, 'One nuclear bomb could ruin your whole day' and then I looked on the other side and it said, 'May all your nuclear weapons rust in peace' and I'm goin', Rust in Peace. Damn, that's a good title. And I'm thinkin' like, what do they mean, rust in peace? I could just see it now―all these warheads sittin' there, stockpiled somewhere like Seal Beach, you know, all covered with rust 'n' stuff with kids out there spray painting the stuff, you know."[7]

Rust in Peace was recorded in Rumbo Studios with producer Mike Clink, while the mixing was handled by Max Norman.[8] The album's artwork was created by artist Ed Repka,[8] who previously had done the cover for Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? in 1986.[9]


Rust in Peace features songs with multiple sections, shifting time signatures and intricate riffing and soloing,[10] and is sometimes described as having a progressive style.[11] In this regard, the album has been compared with Metallica's 1988 album, ...And Justice for All, also noted for its technical complexity.[10] Additionally, the album features multiple lyrical themes: religion,[12] politics and warfare, as well as Mustaine's personal issues, such as his fight against drug and alcohol addiction,[13] UFO conspiracy theories[14] and even the Punisher,[15] of Marvel Comics fame.

The opening song, "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" finds its thematic inspiration derived from the Northern Ireland conflict, in which the largely Catholic nationalist community were in conflict with the mainly Protestant loyalistcommunity over the sovereignty of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Mustaine has said that at a show in Antrim, Northern Ireland, he discovered bootlegged Megadeth T-shirts were on sale. He was dissuaded from taking action to have them removed on the basis that they were part of fund raising activities for "The Cause".[16] He liked how "the cause" sounded[17] and unknowingly dedicated a performance of "Anarchy in the U.K." to it, where the audience quickly started to riot. The band were forced to travel in a bulletproof bus after the show.[18] This incident, along with Marvel's Punisher,[15] inspired the Mustaine to write the song.

Drummer Nick Menza proposed the concept for "Hangar 18", a song about UFO conspiracies and Area 51.[14] Musically, the song features twin guitar solos after the lyrical part.[19] "Take No Prisoners" is a war song that opposes The Establishment.[20]

"Rust in Peace... Polaris", addresses the topic of nuclear warfare,[21] with "Polaris" referring to the Cold War-era Lockheed UGM-27 Polaris intercontinental ballistic missile.[22] Mustaine has revealed that he had written the song as a teenager, and the song was one of his first compositions. The song was originally titled "Child Saint".[14]


Rust in Peace was released on September 24, 1990, and debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200, becoming Megadeth's highest charting album up to that point.[23] In 1994, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping one million copies in the United States.[24]

Rust in Peace, along with the rest of Megadeth's Capitol-released studio albums, was remixed and remastered in 2004.[25] During the audio mixing process, Mustaine found that the original lead vocal tracks for "Take No Prisoners", "Rust in Peace... Polaris", "Five Magics" and "Lucretia" were all missing. Mustaine was forced to re-record the vocals on "Take No Prisoners" and "Rust in Peace... Polaris", while alternate takes were used for "Lucretia" and "Five Magics".[26] Four bonus tracks were added: a previously unreleased song entitled "My Creation", as well as three demos of songs on the album featuring guitarist Chris Poland.[27]

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [11]
Chicago Tribune [28]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music [29]
Entertainment Weekly B+[30]
Record Collector [31]
Rock Hard 9.5/10[32]
Rolling Stone [33]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [34]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[35]

Rust in Peace was released to widespread critical acclaim.[3] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune called it Megadeth's "most accomplished album", praising its "instrumental virtuosity, thoughtful lyricism and punkish rage".[28] Allmusic's Steve Huey also named the album "easily Megadeth's strongest musical effort". While noting that the entire record is "consistently impressive", Huey picked the second track "Hangar 18" as the "obvious highlight".[11] Reviewing the album for Entertainment Weekly, Jim Farber described the music as "sheer velocity, combined with dexterity" and Mustaine's lyrics as "nihilistic whimsy".[30]

Robert Palmer of Rolling Stone wrote that the album is demonstration of how far the "nasty speed thrash" concept can go without being "formulaic and boring".[33] Mike Stagno fromSputnikmusic agreed that the songwriting was "top notch" on the album, as well as the fast and technical musicianship. He also spoke highly of Marty Friedman's and Dave Mustaine's guitar performance, calling them "one of the most potent duos in the scene".[35] In a review of the album's reissue for AllMusic, Jason Birchmeier observed that the record was a big step forward for the band. However, he criticized the album for being "too consistent" and noted that many of the songs were "sounding overly similar to one another".[27]

Spin reviewer Tom Nordlie described the record as "mature, complex, surprisingly consonant and sparely produced album". He concluded: "Simply put, Rust in Peace never sleeps".[36]Another positive reaction came from Rock Hard, whose writer Holger Stratmann stated that the record was "pure Megadeth", filled with "razor sharp guitars" and "snotty vocals".[32] Music journalist Kim Cooper wrote that Rust in Peace was a "mature thrash metal experience that transcended the hard rock genre and raised the bar to a whole new level".[37]


In retrospective analysis, Rust in Peace has been cited as an album that had big impact on its genre.[38] Heavy metal magazine Decibel labeled the album as a "genre-defining work",[39] while Kerrang! wrote that the record "set a new standard for heavy metal in the 90s".[40] IGN named Rust in Peace the fourth most influential heavy metal album of all time, commenting that the album "displays Dave Mustaine's finest writing ever".[41] Additionally, Martin Popoff ranked it eleventh among the best heavy metal albums of all time.[42] In a reader poll organized by MusicRadar in 2010, Rust in Peace was voted as the sixth best metal album ever. The MusicRadar staff explained that the record saw Megadeth moving "into the big league", while staying true to their intricate sound and lyricism.[43] In a list compiled by Chad Bowar of About.comRust in Peace was placed as the best heavy metal album of the 1990s and named a "thrash masterpiece".[44] The album was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards.[45]


[1][2]Dave Mustaine in Moscow during the album's 20th anniversary tour.

The tracks "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18" have become almost permanent additions to Megadeth's live set, and are fan favorites.[46]

In 2010, the band announced a 22-show North American tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rust in Peace. The band performed the entire album at every show.[47][48] Dates in South and Central America were later added to the tour, due to positive response from fans.[49] In 2010, Shout! Factory released a live recording filmed on the Hollywood Palladium stop of the tour,[50]entitled Rust in Peace Live. It was released on September 7, 2010 in Blu-ray, CD and DVD formats,[51] and debuted at number 161 on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Billboard DVD charts, respectively.[52]

Rust in Peace in its entirety was released as purchasable downloadable content in the rhythm game Rock Band, a part of the their "Rust in Peace Download Package".[53] It was released a little more than a year after the release of Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? on the game's download store. A cover version of "Holy Wars" by Steve Ouimette was featured in Rock Revolution.[54] "Holy Wars" was also featured in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock,[55] while "Hangar 18" was featured in Guitar Hero II[56] and as downloadable content for Guitar Hero 5.[57] Both songs have been described as amongst the most difficult songs in the series' history.[55]

A sequel to "Hangar 18" titled "Return to Hangar" later featured on Megadeth's ninth studio album, The World Needs a Hero. It concludes the fictional narrative begun in "Hangar 18", where the life-forms said to be contained in Hangar 18 come back to life and kill those inside the building before escaping.[58] Both songs have been played back-to-back live, which can be heard on Rude Awakening and That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires.

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by Dave Mustaine, except where noted.[8]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"   6:36
2. "Hangar 18"   5:14
3. "Take No Prisoners"   3:28
4. "Five Magics"   5:42
5. "Poison Was the Cure"   2:58
6. "Lucretia"   Mustaine, David Ellefson 3:58
7. "Tornado of Souls"   Mustaine, Ellefson 5:22
8. "Dawn Patrol"   Ellefson 1:50
9. "Rust in Peace... Polaris" (5:44 on reissue) 5:36
Total length: 40:44


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[4][8]

2004 remix and remaster
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine
  • Mixed by Ralph Patlan and Dave Mustaine
  • Engineered by Ralph Patlan with Lance Dean
  • Edited by Lance Dean with Scott "Sarge" Harrison
  • Mastered by Tom Baker
  • Additional demo recording by Chris Poland


Chart (1990) Peak


Australian Albums Chart[59] 47
Canadian Albums Chart[52] 70
Dutch Albums Chart[59] 72
Japanese Albums Chart[60] 29
New Zealand Albums Chart[59] 35
Swedish Albums Chart[59] 34
Swiss Albums Chart[59] 29
UK Albums Chart[61] 8
US Billboard 200[52] 23


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[62] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] Platinum 1,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone


Except where otherwise cited, all listed accolades attributed to Rust in Peace are adapted from Acclaimed[29]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Martin Popoff Canada Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of all Time[42] 2004 11 United States Best Heavy Metal Albums Of 1990[64] 2012 1
Best Heavy Metal Albums Of The 1990s[44] 2012 1
Revolver The 69 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time 2002 54
Robert Dimery 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2006 *
IGN Top 25 Metal Albums[41] 2007 4
Kerrang! United Kingdom Albums of the Year 1990 11
Select 46
Terrorizer The 100 Most Important Albums of the 90s 2000 *
Classic Rock & Metal Hammer The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s 2006 *
MusicRadar The 50 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time[43] 2010 6
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