In the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster, Dave Mustaine sits on the band’s therapy couch and reveals that he wished one of his mates would’ve helped pry the bottle from his hand back when he was the lead guitarist. Instead, Metallica kicked him to the curb in 1983 and dissed him in public for two decades. But Mustaine didn’t need those pricks then and he doesn’t need them now: in his own band, Megadeth, he’s kept the pedal to the metal while Metallica’s slowed to a geriatric pace. Both bands have sucked for roughly half their careers, but Megadeth still has some goodwill with its old fans, and Mustaine’s still working hard to keep it. The recent The System Has Failed (Sanctuary) punches you in your stupid face right away with meaty-fisted double kick while guitars roll in like dark clouds about to rain on your favorite new shoes. Mustaine growls acerbic poli-sci lyrics (“Justice means nothing today / Now that the courts are for sale”) and never sounds like a goddamn billy goat. Plus: olde-school guitar solos ahoy! Yes, the lone soloist raging on a cliff, long hair blowing in the bitter wind, is cheesy. But it’s also heavy-metal tradition, and maybe a little more of Megadeth’s brand of integrity could’ve stopped the newfangled alterna-rage that’s really turned the genre into a joke. With Exodus. Friday 11/19, 7 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, sold out.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steven Stickler.