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Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. It was released by Capitol Records in 1990. A remixed and remastered version, featuring several bonus tracks, was released in 2004.

Singles featured on the album include "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due", and "Hangar 18", both of which were made into music videos.

This was the first Megadeth album to feature Marty Friedman and Nick Menza.


After being released from a twelve-step program, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine had hired drummer Nick Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman to record Rust in Peace, creating what would become the band's first stable line-up, lasting to 1998. Bassist David Ellefson along with Mustaine were the only members who were not replaced. Rust in Peace was produced by Mike Clink, who previously co-operated with Whitesnake and Guns N' Roses. Clink's job as producer contributed to the outcome of the record, with Mustaine being satisfied with the results. Mike Clink was also Megadeth's first professional producer.

The album's name comes from a bumper sticker (below) that Dave Mustaine, the band's main songwriter, saw on the back of a vehicle. From an interview with Mustaine:

"I was driving home from Elsanon... um, Lake Elsanon. 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."

Lyrical themes

Politics, warfare and the environment are the main topics explored throughout the album, with songs such as "Rust in Peace... Polaris," which is about intercontinental ballistic missiles, and their effects on the world (Polaris refers to Polaris missile); "Take No Prisoners," which is about prisoners of war; and "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due," which is a two-part song containing "Holy Wars," which is not referring to any historical place or event and "The Punishment Due," which is about the Marvel Comics character The Punisher, of which Mustaine was a huge fan at the time. "Dawn Patrol" is about the environment being destroyed by global warming and greenhouse gases.

"Five Magics" references to the obscure fantasy film Goreblade: Warrior King of the Universe, in which the hero who lives by the sword must master the five magics to become Warrior King and marry the princess, although he is warned that the power could corrupt him as it did the previous master.

Musical content

The album is, barring the exception of the brief "Dawn Patrol", highly technical and progressive thrash metal, comparable to the work the band's peers Metallica had been releasing around the same time. The album has been cited as a particular influence on the development of progressive metal, and is sometimes considered to belong to the genre itself. While only one song tops the six-minute mark, many songs go through several time signature, tempo, or key signature changes and are comprised of multiple sections.

"Dawn Patrol", the one piece that does not qualify as thrash metal, is a brief, midtempo piece with spoken word vocals written by bass guitarist David Ellefson.


Rust in Peace debuted at #23 on the Billboard 200 in the US, and #8 in the UK.

Allmusic cited Rust in Peace as "Megadeth's strongest musical effort".

The album was certified Platinum in 1994, and received Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance.

IGN named Rust in Peace the 4th most influential heavy metal album of all time, after Metallica's Master of Puppets, Black Sabbath's Paranoid and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast.


In 2002, Mustaine remastered the debut Megadeth album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!. Inspired by the positive outcome of the re-release, he worked to remaster all of the subsequent Megadeth albums which had been recorded with Capitol Records (up to 1999's Risk).

Rust in Peace was re-released in 2004 with a new sound and four new bonus tracks. During the audio mixing process, Mustaine found that the original lead vocal tracks for "Take No Prisoners", "Five Magics" and "Lucretia" were missing — he had no choice but to re-record the vocals on "Take No Prisoners" and use alternate takes for "Lucretia" and "Five Magics" and possibly "Rust in Peace - Polaris" as the second verse differs from the original slightly.


The album's artwork was created by longtime Megadeth artist Ed Repka. It shows band mascot Vic Rattlehead and the leaders of the five major world powers (at the time) attending a secret meeting in Hangar 18, with Vic in the foreground presiding over the body of an alien.

The world leaders, from left to right, are former British Prime Minister John Major, former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, former Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, and former American President George H. W. Bush.

Correct track listing:

1. Holy Wars...The Punishment Due - 6:36
2. Hangar 18 - 5:14
3. Take No Prisoners - 3:29
4. Five Magics - 5:43
5. Poison Was the Cure - 2:59
6. Lucretia - 3:59
7. Tornado of Souls - 5:23
8. Dawn Patrol - 1:50
9. Rust in Peace...Polaris - 5:38 .

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