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Megadeth (formed in the mid-1980s) is a pioneering group of the American thrash metal music genre, hailing from Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Formerly the lead guitarist of highly revered metal band Metallica, frontman and guitarist Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth alongside bassist David Ellefson in 1983. Alongside Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer, Megadeth are credited as being one of the driving forces of thrash metal music over the ’80s and ‘90s, however differ from their peers by dropping some of the progressive rock influences and emphasising the skills and attack of instrumental accompaniments.
In the early years following Mustaine’s prompt removal from Metallica, Megadeth’s line-up was a changing feature of the band. In 1984 with a few performances under their belt Lee Rausch was replaced by the jazz fusion drummer Gar Samuelson and guitarist Chris Poland. The band’s debut album entitled “Killing Is My Business… and Business is Good!” was released through Combat Records in 1985, attracted major label interest and became popular in both underground and mainstream metal circles.
After signing with Capitol, Megadeth released their major-label debut “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” in 1986 which eventually went platinum. Around this time frontman Mustaine came under a whole-host of criticism regarding his drug use, and stories documenting his unruly and irrational behaviour began to surface. These stories were proved correct when Mustaine fired Poland and Samuelson and hired Jeff Young and Chuck Behler to record the new album “So Far, So Good… So What!” in 1988.
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Following another stint of drug abuse which led to an arrest, Mustaine entered rehab and soon reformed the band firing Young and Behler and hiring guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. Megadeth’s fourth studio album “Rust in Peace”, despite adopting a more progressive approach was a return to winning ways for Mustaine. In the hope of appealing to the same mainstream audience Metallica did, Megadeth stripped back their sound on “Countdown to Extinction” in 1992, however lost none of the technical proficiency fans had come to expect. The album was certified double platinum and resulted in Megadeth becoming one of the biggest bands in the world.
Megadeth’s sixth full-length album “Youthanasia” in 1994 followed the same mainstream trend as its predecessor, and was succeeded by a rare collection of unheard recordings titled “Hidden Treasures”. The band has subsequently released “Cryptic Writings” in 1997, “Risk” in 1998 with Ex-Suicidal Tendencies drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, and through the BMG subsidiary Sanctuary “The World Needs a Hero” in 2001.
In 2002 Mustaine relapsed on his drug addiction after receiving pain medication following the removal of a kidney stone. He subsequently suffered nerve damage to his left arm, which left the guitarist unable to use his left arm. Mustaine disbanded Megadeth, underwent physio- and electroshock therapy and released the compilation album “Still Alive… and Well?” to be freed from Sanctuary’s contractual agreement.
The band reformed in 2004 and has since released “The System Has Failed” (2004), “United Abominations” (2007), “Endgame” (2009), “Thirteen” (2011) and “Super Collider (2013). Megadeth has sold over 50 million records worldwide, earned platinum certification for six of their fourteen studio albums and received 11 Grammy nominations.