Megadeth was formed in 1983, shortly after California native Mustaine parted ways with Metallica. “When I first started the group, I wanted to form a band because I was very bitter about being fired (from Metallica) and my fuel was revenge,” said the bracingly candid musician. With something to prove, Mustaine initially set out to create the heaviest metal band ever. Beginning with the band’s 1985 debut album, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!, and evolving through a shifting series of lineups, Megadeth crafted a dynamic, intelligent style that combined the aggressiveness of thrash metal, the improvisational nature of jazz, and cynical, articulate, politically-charged lyrics into an innovative mix that built a rabid worldwide following.
Several early albums, including 1986’s classic Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? and the masterful 1990 release, Rust In Peace, solidified the band’s underground metal fanbase. In 1992, Megadeth burst into the mainstream with their fifth album, Countdown To Extinction, which debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart and went on to sell more than two million copies in the U.S. alone. 1994’s Youthanasia followed with a #4 debut, while 1997’s Cryptic Writings yielded four Top 20 hits at rock radio, including “Trust” and “Almost Honest.”
By the time of 1999’s Risk, however, which featured a pop slant unheard on previous Megadeth recordings, Mustaine himself began to grow disillusioned with the band’s direction and the music industry. 2001 saw a return to the band’s heavier roots on The World Needs A Hero, but a year later, a compressed nerve in Mustaine’s arm forced the singer and guitarist to put his career and Megadeth on hiatus, while reassessing both.
Part of that reassessment involved Megadeth’s Capitol Records catalog, which began with the band’s second album, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? “I always had the desire to make So Far, So Good…So What! (1988) sound good ever since it came out, because I wasn’t really happy with it,” says Mustaine. “I just wanted all of them to sound good.” Mustaine spent months remixing, remastering, restoring – and in some cases, reconstructing – the band’s Capitol catalog to bring it as close to his original vision as possible. Each reissue was packed with unreleased tracks, demos and alternate mixes, as well as new liner notes by the iconoclastic Mustaine.
Megadeth’s tenth studio album, 2004’s The System Has Failed, debuted at #18 on Billboard’s Top 200, and the band’s sold-out “Blackmail The Universe” tour followed, supporting the new album and Capitol’s extensive catalog campaign. Dave Mustaine’s “GIGANTOUR,” inspired in name by the classic 1960s cartoon “Gigantor,” took Megadeth and a host of other bands selected by Mustaine across North America and in 2005 and 2006. The prophecy continues with the band’s new critically acclaimed album, United Abominations. Megadeth will invade cities across the U.S. this fall on the band’s “United Abominations Tour Of Duty.”
For the majority of three decades, Megadeth has yanked heavy metal into the future – musically, lyrically, and culturally – and worked the raw soil into something desirable and dangerous. With defiance and grace, through unusual quality and intelligence, Megadeth has raised a generation on a diet of truth serum and bitter pills. Instead of being kicked to the curb for their insolence, they’ve been rewarded with seven Grammy nominations and five platinum and multi-platinum albums. Just shield your eyes, open the Warchest, and count the notches on Megadeth’s bullet belts.