Selected by Dan Grunebaum
Happy satanic flamenco
High priests of thrash
metal Megadeth are due in for their annual Japan tour in July. And from the sounds of it,
bandleader Dave Mustaine and Co are in peak form on their just-released album, The
World Needs A Hero.
Their first recording for their new Sanctuary label, The World Needs A Hero marks a
return to Megadeth' bare-bones formula after experimenting with melodicism on 1999's Risk.
"This record was written in spite of all the people who tried to turn us into an
alternative pop machine," said Mustaine in a recent press release. "Basically,
no one was welcome into the studio, and if they did get in we tried not to let them
influence us. Feed us, sure, but anything else forget about it!"
Formed in San Francisco in 1984 after Mustaine left Metallica, Megadeth debuted in 1985
with Killing Is My Business...And Business is Good! Mustaine's political
outspokenness and heavy-duty riffing - the essential elements to Megadeth's success - were
already in evidence, but did not reach peak form until the singer-songwriter recruited
guitar wizard Marty Friedman for 1990's Rust In Peace. Countdown To Extinction,
dealing with the theme of impending ecological disaster, followed soon thereafter, marking
the band's commercial apex with the UK Top 20 singles "Skin O' My Teeth" and
"Symphony Of Destruction."
Despite lingering reports of Mustaine suffering from drug problems, Megadeth remained at
the forefront of metal throughout the '90s, hewing along with Slayer to a more orthodox
approach and leaving the flirtations with grunge and alternative to Metallica.
But this spring, Megadeth surprised fans by mounting a 12-city acoustic promotional tour
to launch The World Needs A Hero. "Most people are dumfounded with the idea of
Megadeth going acoustic," Mustaine told Wall of Sound. "It's like satanic
flamenco - happy satanic flamenco."
Mustaine explained that Megadeth began experimenting with live acoustic sets in Japan,
when it test-ran an acoustic version of "Use the Man" from its 1997 release Cryptic
"It's really hard to play acoustic," said Mustaine. "Acoustic is harder to
play than electric, really; you can hide behind the distortion when you're playing
play Akasaka Blitz on July 19 and 20, and Yokohama Bay Hall on July 21. See listings for details.