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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pantera


Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas, formed by the Abbott brothers, Vinnie Paul (drums) and Dimebag Darrell (guitar) in 1981. Bassist Rex Brown would join in late 1981 with vocalist Terry Glaze. In 1987 Phil Anselmo became the group's lead vocalist. In 2003, Pantera officially disbanded. Any hope of a reunion was lost in 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on-stage at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio on December 8 while performing with Damageplan.


History


Formation and early glam years (1981–1987)
The band was originally named Pantera's Metal Magic and consisted of Donnie Hart on vocals, Dimebag Darrell (then known as Diamond Darell) and Terry Glaze on guitar, Tommy Bradford on bass, and Vinnie Paul on drums. In 1982, the band was renamed Pantera in order to shorten the name and to settle an agreement between all band members. Hart left the band because he didn't agree with the bands' ethics and Glaze became the group's vocalist, leaving Darrell as the sole guitarist. Later that year Bradford also departed and was replaced by Rex Brown (then known as Rexx Rocker). Pantera became an underground favorite, though its regional tours in this era never took them beyond Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The band began supporting fellow heavy metal acts such as Stryper, Dokken, and Quiet Riot, who in turn promoted Pantera's debut, Metal Magic. Metal Magic was released on the band's record label with the same name in 1983 and produced by the Abbott brothers' father, Jerry Abbott (referred to as "The Eldn"), at Pantego Studios.

The following year, Pantera released its second album, Projects in the Jungle. Though still very much a glam metal album, the band members crafted songs that had less overbearing melodic influences than songs from Metal Magic. Another change was Terry Glaze's name, as he was henceforth credited as "Terrence Lee". In addition, a music video for the album's lead track, "All Over Tonight", was eventually created. Projects in the Jungle was also released on the independent Metal Magic Records label and produced by Jerry Abbott.

In 1985, Pantera again released a full-length album with Metal Magic Records, entitled I Am the Night. As with Projects in the Jungle, this album saw Pantera's sound becoming heavier (though still rooted in glam metal), and the heavy metal press took more notice of the band. Because of poor distribution, I Am the Night was a costly album to many fans. Around 25,000 copies of I Am the Night were sold. Pantera's second music video was produced for the track "Hot and Heavy".


 A new vocalist emerges (1987–1989)
1986 saw the release of several landmark thrash metal albums that would prove influential to Pantera's developing musical style. Among the most prominent of these were Metallica's Master of Puppets, Slayer's Reign in Blood, and Megadeth's Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? Terrence Lee's glam approach did not fit the band's new outlook and he and the other members parted ways, beginning the search for his replacement. Terrence then went on to form rock group, Lord Tracy.

The band went through temporary vocalists Rick Mythiasin and Matt L’Amour before eventually discovering New Orleans native Phil Anselmo in 1987. Anselmo had previously been the vocalist for the bands Samhain  (not to be confused with Glenn Danzig's band of the same name) and Razorwhite. Upon playing with Pantera, Anselmo immediately clicked with the other three members. More than just the band's image was changing, however. In 1988, Pantera released its first album with Anselmo, entitled Power Metal. By far the band's heaviest album at this point, Power Metal was a mix of 1980s hard rock and thrash metal, sometimes blending both styles in a single song. Complementing the band's new sonic approach was Anselmo's harder-edged vocals compared to those of Terrence Lee. After the release of Power Metal, the band members decided to seriously reconsider their glam metal sound and image. Referring to the band's spandex appearance, Vinnie Paul remarked at a band meeting that "These magic clothes don't play music; we do. Let's just go out there and be comfortable—jeans, t-shirt, whatever—and see where it goes."

As with the previous three 1980s albums, Power Metal was released on Metal Magic Records. Power Metal began to reflect the characteristic sound of later Pantera, though it still contained many elements of 1980s glam metal. The band members would later ignore their independent releases, including Power Metal, as they sculpted a new, heavier image to accompany their developing "groove" sound. Their four independent albums are not listed on the band's official website and have become hard-to-find collector's items.


Cowboys from Hell (1989–1991)
Shortly after Power Metal was released, "Diamond Darrell", as he was then known, auditioned for Megadeth's vacant guitarist slot, and was invited to join the band. Darrell insisted his brother, bandmate Vinnie Paul, be included, but because Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine had already hired a drummer, Nick Menza, Darrell declined and Mustaine instead decided on Marty Friedman. The Abbott brothers refocused their attention on Pantera, and in 1989 they were given their first shot at commercial success. 1989 was also when the band formed their relationship with Walter O'Brien at Concrete Management (the management arm of Concrete Marketing), who remained their manager until they disbanded in 2003.

After being turned down "28 times by every major label on the face of the Earth", Atco Records representative Mark Ross and Stevenson Eugenio was asked by his boss, Derek Shulman who was interested in signing them, to see the band perform after Hurricane Hugo stranded him in Texas. Ross was so impressed by the band's performance that he called his boss that night, suggesting that Pantera be signed to the label. Atco Records accepted, and at the close of 1989, the band recorded its major label debut at Pantego Studios.

Released on July 24, 1990, and produced by Terry Date and Pantera, Cowboys from Hell was another leap into heavier territory. Pantera showed a more extreme style on this outing, leaving behind its glam metal influences in favor of an amalgamation of thrash metal and groove metal dubbed "power groove" by the band. Although Anselmo still used Rob Halford-influenced falsetto vocals, he also adopted a more abrasive delivery. Darrell's more complex guitar solos and riffs, along with his brother's faster-paced drumwork were evidence of the band's extreme transformation. The album marked a critical juncture in the band's history. Most fans, as well as the band itself, consider it Pantera's "official" debut. Cowboys included the popular tracks "Cemetery Gates", a brooding seven-minute piece that focuses on death and religion, and the thrashing title track, which gave the band members their nickname and asserted their raucous personality and style.

So began the Cowboys from Hell tour alongside thrash acts Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. In 1991, Rob Halford performed with the band onstage, which led Pantera to open for Judas Priest on its first show in Europe. The band eventually landed a billing for "Monsters in Moscow" with AC/DC and Metallica in September 1991, where they played to a crowd of over 500,000 in celebration of the new freedom of performing Western music in the former Soviet Union shortly before its collapse three months later. The band was often found at the Dallas club "the Basement", where the band shot the videos for "Cowboys from Hell" and "Psycho Holiday", the band's 2006 home video compilation, 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell, features performances of "Primal Concrete Sledge", "Cowboys from Hell", "Domination" and "Psycho Holiday" from the show in Moscow.


Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven (1992–1994)
Pantera's unique "groove" style came to fruition in its breakthrough album Vulgar Display of Power, released on February 25, 1992. On this album, the power metal falsetto vocals were replaced with a hardcore-influenced shouted delivery and heavier guitar sound. While some critics point to the rise of grunge as the downfall of glam metal, others cite Pantera, most notably Vulgar Display, as being the catalyst that overpowered popular 1980s metal. Among critics and fans, it is frequently cited as the band's best effort. Songs like "Fucking Hostile", a fast, aggressive challenge to authority, the riff-driven "Walk", and "Mouth for War", remain some of the most popular songs in Pantera's catalog. Two other singles from the album became two of Pantera's best-known ballads: "This Love", a haunting piece about lust and abuse, and "Hollow", somewhat reminiscent of "Cemetery Gates" from Cowboys. "Hollow" was recognizable for its popularity at live performances. The band would play the song "Domination" (from Cowboys) leading into the ending of "Hollow" (what is roughly the last 2:30 of the album version), forming a medley referred to as "Dom/Hollow", as can be heard on the band's 1997 live album. Singles from Vulgar also received significant airplay on radio as did the companion music videos on MTV. The album entered the American charts at #44. Pantera hit the road again, visiting Japan for the first time in July 1992 and later performing at the "Monsters of Rock" festival co-headlined by Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath in Italy. It was around this time that Darrell Abbott dropped the nickname "Diamond Darrell" and assumed "Dimebag Darrell", and Rex Brown dropped the pseudonym "Rexx Rocker".

The extent to which Vulgar Display of Power grew in popularity can be assessed by the instant success of its follow-up, Far Beyond Driven (released on March 22, 1994), which debuted at #1 in both U.S. and Australian album charts. The album's first single, "I'm Broken", earned the band's first Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance" in 1995. Driven saw Pantera continue its groove metal approach, while taking an even more extreme direction with its musical style. The album's original artwork (a drill bit impaling an anus) was banned, so it was re-released with the now familiar skull impaled with a drill bit. A limited edition was released with a slip-cover case. Also, a boxed set called Driven Downunder Tour '94 Souvenir Collection was released in Australia and New Zealand to coincide with the tours there. It featured Far Beyond Driven (with its original banned artwork) with a bonus 13th track, "The Badge" (a Poison Idea cover), the 5-track aLIVE and hostile e.p., and the Japanese collector's edition Walk EP, all presented in a special cardboard box with an 8-page color biography. Just like the other rare editions of Far Beyond Driven, this box set is very rare and is highly sought after.

Pantera hit the road again and toured South America, along with being accepted into another "Monsters of Rock" billing. At that festival on June 4, 1994, the Abbott brothers got into a scuffle with journalists from the music magazine Kerrang! over unflattering cartoon depictions of drummer Vinnie Paul. Then in late June, Anselmo was charged with assault for hitting a security guard after he prevented fans from getting on stage, Anselmo was released on $5,000 bail the next day. The trial was delayed three times. In May 1995, he apologized in court and pleaded guilty to attempted assault and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.Pantera continued their tour of the United Kingdom in 1994 and eventually ended it in the United States where the band was opened for by fellow groove metal band Prong.

Band tension and The Great Southern Trendkill (1994–1996)
According to the Abbott brothers, frontman Phil Anselmo began behaving strangely and distanced himself from the band when they returned to the road in 1995. The rest of the band members first thought that Pantera's fame had gotten to Anselmo, but Anselmo cited back pain from years of intense performances as the reason for his erratic behavior. Anselmo attempted to subdue his pain through alcohol, but this, as he admits, was affecting his performances and "putting some worry into the band." Doctors predicted that with surgery, Anselmo's back problem could be corrected, but that the recovery time could be a year or more. Not wanting to spend that much time away from the band, Anselmo refused, and began using heroin as a painkiller.

Anselmo's on-stage remarks became notorious during this time. After stating at a Montreal concert that "rap music advocates the killing of white people", Anselmo denied accusations of racism, and later issued an apology, stating that he was drunk and that his remarks were a mistake.

In 1995, Down, one of Anselmo's many side projects, took off. Down was a supergroup consisting of Anselmo, three members of Crowbar—guitarist Kirk Windstein, bassist Todd Strange and drummer Jimmy Bower (also of Eyehategod)—and Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan. Down's 1995 debut, NOLA, was a success, but shortly after the group members returned to their respective bands, leaving Down inactive for several years.

Pantera's next album, The Great Southern Trendkill (released May 22, 1996), came out during grunge rock's dominance and at the onset of rap metal. It is often considered Pantera's "overlooked" album. Phil Anselmo recorded the vocals for this release in Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor's studio in New Orleans while the rest of the band members recorded in Dallas, evidence of the continued distancing between Anselmo and the rest of the band. In comparison to the band's previous efforts, there was a heavier emphasis on vocal overdubbing in a somewhat "demonic" fashion. Drug abuse is a popular theme in Trendkill, as exemplified by tracks such as "Suicide Note Pt. I", "Suicide Note Pt. II" and "Living Through Me (Hell's Wrath)". Perhaps the most popular song from Trendkill is "Drag the Waters". "Drag the Waters" became the album's only music video, and likewise, the only track from the album to appear on the band's compilation album. Another Trendkill single, "Floods", achieved acclaim largely because of Darrell's complex guitar solo in the song, which ranked #15 on Guitar World magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" of all-time.

In an episode of the short-lived Australian sex advice show "Sex Life", in a segment discussing what to make of a man's CD collection when first going back to his place, the host drew out a copy of The Great Southern Trendkill and referred to Pantera as "the loudest band in the world."

Overdose, Official Live: 101 Proof, and side projects (1996–2000)
On July 13, 1996, Anselmo overdosed on heroin an hour after a Texas homecoming gig. After his heart stopped beating for almost five minutes, paramedics gave Anselmo a shot of adrenaline and sent him to the hospital. After waking up in the hospital, the nurse working in his room said "Welcome back to life, oh and you have overdosed on heroin." Anselmo apologized to his bandmates the next night, and said he would quit using drugs. The revelation of heroin use came as a shock to Vinnie and Darrell who were embarrassed by Anselmo's actions, according to Rita Haney, the guitarist's girlfriend. Anselmo says he would relapse two more times and guilt overcame him.

Some of the band's live performances were eventually compiled in its July 29, 1997 release, Official Live: 101 Proof, which included fourteen live tracks and two new studio recordings: "Where You Come From" and "I Can't Hide". Two weeks before the live album's release, Pantera received its first platinum album, for Cowboys from Hell. Just four months later, both Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven went platinum as well. The band also received their second and third "Best Metal Performance" Grammy Nominations for Trendkill's "Suicide Note (Pt. I)" and Cowboys's "Cemetery Gates" in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

Also in 1997, Pantera played on the mainstage of Ozzfest alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and Powerman 5000. Additionally, the band played on the 1998 UK Ozzfest tour alongside Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Slayer, Soulfly, Fear Factory, and Therapy?

Around this time, Anselmo ventured into more side projects, such as playing guitars on Necrophagia's 1999 release Holocausto de la Morte, where he went as the alias "Anton Crowley", which combines the names of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and famous occultist Aleister Crowley. He also temporarily joined the black metal supergroup Eibon and contributed to that band's 2000 release. Another one of Anselmo's "Anton Crowley" projects was black metal band Viking Crown. The Abbott brothers and Rex Brown began their own heavy metal/country music crossover project, Rebel Meets Rebel with David Allen Coe, around the same time.

Fans of the NHL's Dallas Stars were treated to a raucous fight song penned by Pantera and dedicated to their favorite hockey team during the Stars 1999 Stanley Cup Championship run. Throughout the season members of the team befriended members of Pantera. During a Stanley Cup party hosted by drummer Vinnie Paul, the Stanley Cup was damaged when Guy Carbonneau attempted to throw the Cup from the roof of Vinnie Paul's house into his pool. The Cup landed short on the concrete deck and had to be repaired by NHL commissioned silversmiths.

Reinventing the Steel and break-up (2000–2003)
Pantera returned to the recording studio with Anselmo in 1999 and cut its last album, Reinventing the Steel, which was released on March 21, 2000. Steel debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and included "Revolution Is My Name" and "Goddamn Electric", the latter of which featured a Kerry King outro solo recorded (backstage in one take) during Ozzfest in Dallas. "Revolution Is My Name" became the band's fourth nomination for Best Metal Performance in the 2001 Grammys.

In 2000, Pantera played on the mainstage of Ozzfest alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Godsmack, Static-X, Methods of Mayhem, Incubus, P.O.D., Black Label Society, Queens of the Stone Age, and Apartment 26. In November the band cancelled their planned tour after Anselmo broke his ribs after falling during his eighth annual House of Shock event.

The band once again returned to touring and visited the United States (where they were guest musicians on the show Spongebob Squarepants in the episode "Pre-Hibernation Week"), Canada, South Korea, Australia, and Europe. The tour in Europe was cut short, however, by the September 11, 2001 attacks which left the band stranded in Dublin, Ireland for 6 days as a result of all flights being cancelled. This would be the last time the members of Pantera performed together. Back home, the band planned to release its fourth home video in Summer 2002 and record another studio album later that year, but neither came about.

Anselmo again engaged in numerous side projects. In March 2002, Down released its second studio album, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, which featured Rex Brown on bass following Todd Strange's departure in 1999. Brown remains Down's full-time bassist, having appeared on their subsequent release in 2007. Also, in May of that year Anselmo's Superjoint Ritual released its debut, Use Once and Destroy. Vinnie Paul claims that Anselmo told him he would take a year off following the events of September 11, 2001, but Anselmo's touring and record output for both Superjoint Ritual and Down contradicted this. The Abbott brothers were frustrated, and held out for a time, assuming Anselmo would return. However, according to Anselmo, taking a break from Pantera was a "mutual thing" between each of the band members.

The band officially broke up in 2003, also the year when their "Best Of" compilation album was released (on September 23), when the Abbott brothers concluded that Anselmo had abandoned Pantera and would not return. The break-up of the band was not amicable and subsequently a war of words was waged between the former bandmates via the heavy metal and musical press. The Abbott brothers and Pantera crew members claimed that they tried numerous times to contact Anselmo over the phone to reorganize Pantera, but Anselmo maintains that they never called him. Caught up in the torrent was Rex Brown, who later said "It was a bunch of he said, she said nonsense that was going on, and I wasn't going to get in the middle of it."Anselmo's comment in a 2004 issue of Metal Hammer magazine saying that "Dimebag deserves to be beaten severely" typified Pantera's internal conflicts; Anselmo insists that this comment was tongue-in-cheek. This explanation was soon dismissed by Vinnie Paul, who said shortly after the 2004 murder of his brother that he had personally listened to the audio files of the interview and that Anselmo had not been misquoted or misrepresented, but said the exact words which appeared in the article.

In July 2004, Vulgar Display of Power went double-platinum, and The Great Southern Trendkill went platinum the next month.

Damageplan and Darrell's murder (2004)
After Pantera's breakup, Darrell and Vinnie formed a new band, Damageplan, with vocalist Pat Lachman and bassist Bob Zilla. The group released their first album, New Found Power, in February of 2004. The album was a commercial success; over 44,000 copies were sold in its first week alone and within a year over 100,000 copies were sold. However, some fans felt that Damageplan's material did not measure up to that of Pantera.

Tragedy struck on December 8, 2004. The band was performing in support of the album at a show at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio when, less than a minute into the first song of their set, mentally unstable Nathan Gale, 25, went onstage and shot and killed Darrell. Gale also killed fan Nathan Bray, 23, club employee Erin Halk, 29, and Pantera security official Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, 40, and injured longtime Pantera and Damageplan drum technician John "Kat" Brooks and Damageplan tour manager Chris Paluska before being shot dead by police officer James Niggemeyer.

Aftermath (2004-present)
When Anselmo called in the aftermath of the murders, Rita Haney, Darrell's girlfriend, answered one of Anselmo's calls and said she would "blow Anselmo's head off" if he attended Darrell's funeral.Not long after Dimebag's murder, Anselmo received a heated message from Vinnie, which (according to Anselmo) went along the lines that Anselmo's day was coming. Anselmo's rebuttal was that everybody's day is coming and that if his day should end before Vinnie's it would not change anything, except for Vinnie to go through 'losing another brother'. Public comments made by Phil Anselmo following the shooting suggested that he had considered reuniting with the band prior to Darrell's death. However, one year after the murder Vinnie stated in an interview that this reunion was never going to happen.

On May 11, 2006, the VH1 Behind the Music episode on Pantera premiered. While focusing heavily on Darrell's murder, the episode also detailed the band's glam metal beginnings, its rise in popularity after the change in musical direction, and the conflicts between Anselmo and the Abbott brothers in the band's later years that would tear them apart.

When asked by Crave Music in 2006 if there was any chance of reconciling with Phil Anselmo, Vinnie Paul answered "Absolutely not. That's it." The former Pantera drummer has since begun work on Hellyeah, a collaboration between him and members from Mudvayne and Nothingface. Both Anselmo and Brown have reunited with Down, and supported Heaven & Hell and Megadeth on their 2007 Canadian tour, as well as supporting Metallica on the first half of their World Magnetic Tour.

On March 30, 2010, Pantera released a greatest-hits collection, titled "1990-2000: A Decade of Domination". It was made available exclusively at Walmart stores and is made up of 10 tracks that were remastered.

Legacy and influences
Pantera have been influential to the development of nu metal.[ They have also been called one of the pioneers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.Popmatters has claimed that, "Darrell Abbott's influence on the entire genre of heavy metal is massive; after Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power, every notable young American metal band since has, in some way or another, copped their guitar style from those records: Tool, Korn, Deftones, Killswitch Engage, Limp Bizkit, Disturbed, Bullet For My Valentine, White Zombie, Slipknot, As I Lay Dying, Job For A Cowboy, Avenged Sevenfold, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Mastodon, The Showdown... the list is endless."

Pantera has toured on Ozzfest as main stage acts twice; the band played at the second annual Ozzfest in 1997 and the fifth Ozzfest in 2000. Over the course of their career, Pantera's members became known for their excessive partying and debauchery, even acquiring an official drink called the "Black Tooth Grin". The "Black Tooth Grin" ("Black Tooth", "The Grin", or "BTG", alternatively), named after lyrics from Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets", is a mixture of Crown Royal or Seagram 7 whisky (or both) and Coca-Cola.

Pantera also adopted a self-described "take no shit" attitude, epitomized in its popular song "5 Minutes Alone" from the album Far Beyond Driven. According to Vinnie Paul, the song originated when, during a show in San Diego, California, Anselmo was annoyed by a heckler and encouraged the crowd to "jump [his] ass and beat the shit out of him on the spot." Consequently, the band was sued; the man's father took action and called Pantera's manager, saying, "You just give me five minutes alone with that Phil Anselmo guy and I'll show him who's big daddy around here", to which Anselmo responded, "You just give me five minutes alone with that cat's dad and I'll whoop his ass."

Despite being a by-the-book Glam Metal band early in their career, the band members perceive themselves to have had an uncompromising career in which they never "sold out" or gave into trends. This is most noticeably highlighted in the themes and title of The Great Southern Trendkill. On Pantera's official website, Anselmo puts it in his own words:

We've survived every fucking trend—heavy metal, "grunge metal", funk metal, rap metal—and we're still here. We put everyone on notice that we don't fuck around. Our fans know we're true right down to the fucking core.

Similarly, the die-hard attitude of "We'll Grind That Axe For a Long Time" (from Reinventing the Steel) is, according to Anselmo, "in a way, our motto."

Aside from their post-glam thrash metal influences, the band members cite heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath as one of their favorite bands. As a tribute, Pantera has recorded three different covers of Black Sabbath songs (all from the Ozzy Osbourne era). The first was "Planet Caravan", a slower, quieter song planned for the first Sabbath tribute album, Nativity in Black, that eventually became the final track on Far Beyond Driven. The band performed Sabbath's "Electric Funeral" on the second Nativity in Black. A previously unreleased cover of Sabbath's "Hole in the Sky" was included on the band's 2003 compilation album, The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits! Pantera's affinity for Black Sabbath is also shown through the lyrics, "Your trust is in whiskey and weed and Black Sabbath", in "Goddamn Electric". The same song also mentions Slayer, one of the band's thrash metal influences.

Pantera has come under some criticism within the fringes of the heavy metal world in relation to New Orleans thrash metal band Exhorder. Some fans[who?] have accused Pantera of stealing from Exhorder the groove metal sound for which they became famous. While Pantera's style change on Cowboys from Hell was released before Exhorder's debut, Slaughter in the Vatican, Exhorder self-released two demos in the late 1980s (around the time that Pantera was still playing glam metal) that a number of fans believe to be the real birth of the musical style Pantera popularized.

Allmusic points to several elements of Exhorder's debut that could potentially explain its lack of success in relation to Pantera. In disagreement with the opinion that Exhorder is "Pantera minus the good songs", AMG's review of Slaughter in the Vatican expresses that "perhaps a more accurate billing would be to call them Pantera without the major label backing." They also point to the fact that the title of Exhorder's debut, along with the unsubtle album cover, "certainly didn't help [its] cause any."

However, some fans and critics dispute any notion that Pantera "stole" Exhorder's sound. Brian Davis, a contributor to Internet radio station KNAC, addresses the issue as follows:

Exhorder's main "claim to fame" is the common opinion that they're the band that Pantera stole their sound from. That's total bullshit. There are minor similarities in guitar style, and on occasion, vocalist Kyle Thomas spits out a line or scream that will bring Pantera to mind, but to go so far as to say that Pantera is an Exhorder clone is ludicrous.

Despite originally decrying Pantera as a rip-off to their sound, lead vocalist of Exhorder, Kyle Thomas, has stated that he does not care about any of the criticism and is sick of seeing Exhorder's name tied to Pantera's. He also stated that he and the members of Pantera were great friends who used to tour together, and that he mourns the loss of Dimebag Darrell.Recently, Thomas suggested that while it is possible Pantera may have been influenced by his band, the members of Pantera "work[ed] a ... lot harder than [we] did."

Band members
Final lineup
  • Phil Anselmo – lead vocals (1987–2003)
  • Dimebag Darrell – guitar, backing vocals (1981–2003)
  • Rex Brown – bass, backing vocals (1982–2003)
  • Vinnie Paul – drums, percussion (1981–2003)
  • Previous members
  • Terry Glaze – rhythm guitar (1981–1982), lead vocals (1982–1986)

Discography
Main article: Pantera discography

Studio albums
  • Metal Magic (1983)
  • Projects in the Jungle (1984)
  • I Am the Night (1985)
  • Power Metal (1988)
  • Cowboys from Hell (1990)
  • Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
  • Far Beyond Driven (1994)
  • The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)
  • Reinventing the Steel (2000)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Anthrax




Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981. Founded by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker, the band has since released 9 studio albums and 20 singles, and an EP featuring Public Enemy. The band was one of the most popular of the 1980s thrash metal scene. When thrash metal began to gain a major following in the mid-to-late 1980s, Anthrax were dubbed one of the "big four" of thrash metal alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.
History

Early days (1981)
Anthrax was formed in mid-1981 by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker. They got the band's name from the disease listed in a biology textbook and claimed it because it sounded "sufficiently evil" to them. John Connelly jammed with the band, but never actually joined. He was a roadie for them for many of their early shows, and eventually formed Nuclear Assault with Lilker in 1984. The initial line-up of Anthrax was rounded out by drummer Dave Weiss and bassist Kenny Kushner. Kushner was not felt to be adequate for the band's needs and was replaced very early by Paul Kahn, but Kahn also did not work out for the band, so Lilker chose to take over on bass and Greg Walls joined as lead guitarist. Vocalist Neil Turbin joined the group after Ian's 14-year-old brother Jason Rosenfeld was a temporary singer. Weiss soon was replaced by Greg D'Angelo. Tommy Wise, vocals, was also an early addition to the band but quit before the band was found by the record company.

Neil Turbin era (1982–1984)
Neil Turbin joined the band in late August 1982 and performed two weeks later at Great Gildersleeves on September 12, 1982. This line-up made frequent live performances in the New York/New Jersey tri-state area. The line-up recorded a NWOBHM-sounding demo in July 1982. Greg Walls left in the summer of 1983, and Bob Berry, who was recommended to Turbin by Rhett Forrester of Riot, temporarily replaced him.

Berry's stay was short and he was replaced by Dan Spitz who had previously been with New Jersey thrashers Overkill. With Spitz, a second demo was recorded. In September, Charlie Benante replaced Greg D'Angelo. This lineup recorded the "Soldiers of Metal" 7" single, produced by Ross the Boss of Manowar. The B-side of this single was "Howling Furies" from the previous demo recorded with Greg D'Angelo on drums, and is the only official Anthrax recording to feature his work. It was this demo that won the band a recording deal with Megaforce Records. Anthrax recorded their debut album, Fistful of Metal, in late 1983. The album garnered some international attention. It was released in January 1984, followed by a US tour, during which tensions grew between Danny Lilker and the rest of the band due to Lilker's non-paying of rehearsal rent, lateness, sloppiness and unprofessional demeanor.[citation needed] Lilker was released from the band and he went on to form Nuclear Assault with former roadie John Connelly. Greg D'Angelo joined White Lion in 1984.

Joey Belladonna era (1985–1992)
Charlie Benante's nephew Frank Bello replaced Lilker on bass guitar. Shortly after, in late August 1984, Turbin was fired. Matt Fallon (who later preceded Sebastian Bach as vocalist with Skid Row) was a temporary replacement and the band also appeared as a four-piece billed as The Diseased, with Scott Ian on vocals. They performed a few hardcore punk covers.
Vocalist Joey Belladonna debuted live with the band on February 27, 1985, and an EP titled "Armed and Dangerous" was recorded. Some older material was added to fill out the EP including two live tracks from early 1984, and the two songs from the "Soldiers of Metal" 7". Later the same year, Ian, Benante and Danny Lilker colloborated with Billy Milano to produce the satirical album Speak English or Die under the name Stormtroopers of Death.
Anthrax's next album, Spreading the Disease, came out in the same year and was followed by US and European touring. The follow-up album Among the Living, recorded during 1986 and released in March 1987, developed the band's humorous and more experimental side. Anthrax radically departed from the "traditional" heavy metal look in favour of brightly colored "surfer" jam shorts style of appearance and began a lyrical trend that focused on movies, comic books and Stephen King novels, elements that became typical for fans to expect. "I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" ("nise fukin life" spelt backwards) is about comedian John Belushi's drug addiction and death. "Indians" and the mosh pit anthem "Caught in a Mosh" are still considered Anthrax classics today. The album was dedicated to the memory of Cliff Burton, the early Metallica bass player. "I Am the Law" was issued as a single, backed with "I'm the Man", a song that combined rap with metal, and Anthrax toured Europe with Metallica and Metal Church.
Anthrax stuck to its thrash metal formula on the 1988 album State of Euphoria. The single "Antisocial", originally by French heavy metal band Trust, soon became a staple on MTV in regular rotation as well as on Headbangers Ball. The group continued to expand its horizons by touring the US with funk metal band Living Colour; the previous year they further indulged their appreciation for rap by appearing on the title track of U.T.F.O.'s album Lethal.
In 1989, MTV held a contest in which the winner would get to have the band come to their home and trash it. The contest was won by a female fan, and the band subsequently came to her house and caused havoc. This was the inspiration for the band's 1992 appearance on Married... with Children, where the main characters of the show win a similar television contest.
In 1990, Anthrax released the more serious Persistence of Time to even greater success than State of Euphoria. The album was considerably darker, more technical and progressive than Anthrax's previous work. This struck a chord with metal fans who had been previously wary of embracing the band because of their "silly" side. The biggest single off the album was a cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time". Jackson himself even claimed that he enjoyed Anthrax's cover version of his song.[citation needed] "In My World" and "Belly of the Beast" were also successful.
During 1991 they collaborated with pioneering rap artists Public Enemy on a joint version of "Bring the Noise". This was a hit, and the band played a successful joint tour with Public Enemy.

John Bush era (1992–2004)
The EP "Attack of the Killer B's" was recorded during 1991, featuring a new version of "I'm the Man" and a cover of "Bring the Noise" on which Scott Ian did the vocals. A short time later during 1992, Joey Belladonna was fired from Anthrax.
He was replaced by John Bush, formerly of Armored Saint who had recently disbanded. Ten years earlier, Bush had been approached by Metallica to sing for them. The band also left Island Records and signed with Elektra Records to release Sound of White Noise in 1993.
Though it was quite a change from their earlier work with a dark, rockier feel, Sound of White Noise received mostly positive reviews and "Only" was a major hit (in the liner notes for Return of the Killer A's, Ian says James Hetfield once told him it was a "perfect song"). In keeping with the band's eye for unlikely collaborations, classical composer Angelo Badalamenti provided music for the track "Black Lodge," a tribute to the TV show "Twin Peaks". Importantly, the album demonstrated that Anthrax had at last shed its sometimes cartoonish outlook in favor of mature, thoughtful songwriting, a trend which had begun on the previous album Persistence of Time.
During the hiatus between Sound of White Noise and Stomp 442, longtime guitarist Dan Spitz left the band to quit music and become a watchmaker,leaving Anthrax officially a quartet for years. In 1995, the band released Stomp 442,, on which Charlie Benante played much of the lead guitar parts, assisted by Paul Crook – who would become the band's touring lead guitarist for several years – and Dimebag Darrell from Pantera. Elektra refused to provide real promotion for the album and it quickly disappeared without a trace. Upset at what they felt was an attempt by the label to kill the album, Anthrax severed ties with Elektra.
Anthrax signed with independent label Ignition Records for the 1998 release Volume 8: The Threat Is Real that once again saw Benante playing lead guitar alongside Crook and Dimebag. Pantera's Phil Anselmo also guested. Unfortunately, almost immediately after the album's release, the label went bankrupt and disappeared, making the album difficult to find. Regrouping, the band signed Beyond Records and released the greatest-hits album Return of the Killer A's, although Beyond soon went out of business as well. During this period, a two-vocalist tour featuring both Joey Belladonna and John Bush was proposed and set to go, until Belladonna decided to pull out at the last minute.

During the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, the band altered its website to provide information about the disease after people began simply typing anthrax.com into their browsers. Amid what could have become a PR nightmare for the band, Anthrax issued a press release on October 10, 2001, that jokingly mentioned that they were going to change the name of the band to "something more friendly, like 'Basket Full of Puppies'."They later sank all name-change rumors that erupted from the press release at the New York Steel 9/11 benefit concert in November 2001, when they took the stage wearing boiler suits with a different word on each one that spelled out the sentence "WE'RE NOT CHANGING OUR NAME". A picture of the band wearing the suits can be seen on the inner tray card of We've Come for You All.
Despite the hardships and various legal entanglements regarding who had the rights to certain albums, Anthrax managed to continue. In 2001, new lead guitarist Rob Caggiano joined, and two years later, the band released We've Come for You All, through Sanctuary Records—an album hailed by the metal press as a return to form.
In early 2004, the band returned to the studio to record The Greater of Two Evils—a "live in the studio" re-recording of the band's early work with the then-current lineup. Shortly afterward, bassist Frank Bello announced he was leaving the band to join Helmet and was replaced for touring purposes by Fates Warning and former Armored Saint member Joey Vera.

Among the Living reunion (2005–2007)
On April 1, 2005, the band announced that the Among the Living lineup of Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Dan Spitz, Joey Belladonna, and Frank Bello would be reforming. On some dates of the resultant tour, they performed Among the Living in its entirety for the first time. At the conclusion of the tour, it was expected the reformed line-up would begin a new album, but on January 24, 2007, Scott Ian posted a message to Blabbermouth.net.
Finally, we're going back to work. We're going to Chicago to work our asses off and write a record. [...] One problem... no singer. We were offered a direct support slot on a major tour this spring and Joey [Belladonna] decided he did not want to move forward. The reunion is over. We tried to make it work but I guess that's the problem, you can't 'make' something work. [...] My curiosity was piqued by the idea of what Anthrax would sound like now with Joey singing. Over the last few months we've discussed this endlessly to no avail. The problems that were there could not be fixed no matter how hard we tried and in the end Joey made the decision.
Following that announcement, speculation was cast over whether John Bush would return. Bush had stated on February 7 that he was not ready to commit to Anthrax again.In May 2007, Scott Ian said that the announcement of who will be singing for Anthrax would be made at the end of June, though the actual announcement didn't come until December.
In June 2007, Bush was interviewed by Rock Hard about being asked to return to Anthrax, and whether or not he was bitter about the reunion. He replied:
"No. Bitter is not the way I wanna be about anything. I'm not bitter at all. There was probably not a perfect way to do that, what they did. It was like, how are they gonna say...? I mean, they asked me to do it—the tour with Joey—and it just wasn't right for me, I couldn't do it. So, whatever...if they felt they had to do that, I understand. It wasn't like I was going, 'Yeah, do it. That's great.' But once it happened, I was like, 'okay.' It was like a book ended. It's okay. I mean, it's much better to look at it that way than to be angry or frustrated, 'cause I really don't feel that way."
When asked if he was approached to rejoin the band once Belladonna left the group, Bush said,
"I was asked to write, and it just wasn't right for me. I couldn't go back and say, 'Here I am...' It would be like coming in with my tail between my legs, and that's not right for me. I just couldn't do that. It just didn't feel right to do that. It was about soul, your gut. How does that feel? Does it feel right? Good enough. Sold. Answer."
Bush subsequently did appear with Anthrax for Sonisphere 2009 festival in the UK. Due to the overwhelming fan response following his performance, a 'Bring Back Bush' campaign was set up and subsequently endorsed by Scott Ian.

Dan Nelson era (2007–2009)
On December 10, 2007, it was announced the band's new vocalist would be Dan Nelson, formerly of Devilsize. Around the same time, it was confirmed that Rob Caggiano would return as lead guitarist.
On May 28, 2008 Anthrax played their first show in 19 months at The Double Door in Chicago. Along with new singer Nelson, the band played new material which was well received by the sold-out crowd despite some equipment problems. Anthrax then played in South Korea for the first time on August 17, 2008.
In his monthly Food Coma column,which was posted on December 22, 2008, Anthrax's Scott Ian revealed that he'd "been in the studio working on the new Anthrax album since November 4." Ian went on to say that drums, bass and rhythm had been laid down on a total of 19 tracks, and that the process of laying down vocals had begun. "We should be mixing at the end of January and soon after that giving birth to a really pissed off, loud, fast and heavy child."[9] In a subsequent May 2009 Food Coma column,Scott announced that the album was being mixed by Dave Fortman whose previous credits include both of Evanescence's multi-platinum selling albums and Slipknot's album All Hope Is Gone. In a post to the Anthrax website, Charlie Benante stated that "Worship Music should be out in May".
On Saturday March 7, 2009 Anthrax played Bogota, Colombia for the first time in their career, opening for Iron Maiden. Then, on July 21, 2009 manager Izvor Zivkovic confirmed the departure of Dan Nelson, due to illness. Nelson has since denied this, saying: "I was never seriously ill or sick at all, as reported in Anthrax’s 7/17/09 press release. This extremely inflammatory statement hurt me tremendously. This statement misled fans, friends and family members into believing that I was seriously ill when I was not. I was not aware such a statement was being issued and it came as a total shock to me, as I’m sure it did to all of you. It was the other band members’ decision to cancel the tour dates, not mine. I was ready, willing and able to do my job. After issuing the press release the other band members decided, on their own accord, that I had 'resigned' from the band. I never resigned from the band.".

Reunion With John Bush (2009-2010)
All following performances were canceled, except the UK Sonisphere Festival in August 2009, with John Bush performing vocals.
On September 3, 2009, it was announced that John Bush would be yet again singing with Anthrax at the Loud Park '09 Festival in Japan on October 17.
Anthrax with John Bush also took part in the February 2010, 5-show touring Soundwave 2010 festival in Australia. Soon after, Benante said that the band is "in the process of regrouping with [Bush]. We played two shows with him, and we are looking forward to proceeding with this lineup."
Anthrax has also confirmed a "big 4 tour" (with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer) as part of the 2010 Sonisphere festival. This will be the first time that all four bands have played together.
In an interview with metalsucks.com John Bush said- "we just did these shows in Australia that were really fun. They were for the Soundwave Festival, and they were great. I had committed to doing these shows to these four shows in June as well as more festivals in August. As of now we’re trying to figure out a way to see if we can re-record some of the songs that the band had already recorded [for Worship Music]. We’re just trying to iron out some of the legalities on it. That’s where we are at today."
When asked if he would be re-recording some of Dan Nelson’s vocals he stated "That is what they want to do, and it’s been a conflict for me, to be quite frank, simply because I kind of felt like I wasn’t part of the creation of it. On all the other Anthrax records, I was part of it when it happened. I just wasn’t involved in this, and it’s something that they’ve already actually completed. I haven’t disregarded it completely, and I know it’s important to them. I realize they made this record and they’re kind of sitting on it. They want to put some of it out, if not everything… at least a single, and we’ve talked about [releasing] an EP. We’re still trying to figure out if we can do that, especially in conjunction with these shows in June. We’ve just got to kind of iron out some specifics. That’s where we’re at today, March 15, 2010."

Reunion with Joey Belladonna (2010-present)
It is confirmed that Joey Belladonna will return to Anthrax for the shows in summer 2010 as well as a new album. Anthrax, along with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth performed on the same bill for the first time on June 16, 2010 at Bemowo Airport (Warsaw, Poland). It was the first performance of that bands played as a part of Sonisphere Festival series, one of the following (Sofia, Bulgaria, June 22, 2010) was sent via satellite in HD to cinemas. They also went on to play in Bucharest, Romania (June 26, 2010) and then in Istanbul, Turkey (June 27, 2010) , Stockholm, Sweden (August 7, 2010),and last in Pori, Finland (August 8, 2010) also as part of the Sonisphere Festival.
Ian reported, on 8 December 2010, that the band has almost completed their new album. He states “We’re almost ready to go, eight things are recorded and we’ve only got to go back and re-record two or three things. And Joey’s singing on all of it.”

Side projects
Several members have launched affiliated side projects, such as Scott Ian's project with Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, the original Anthrax bassist/lead guitarist Danny Lilker and Billy Milano called Stormtroopers of Death. After leaving Anthrax, Joey Belladonna began a series of solo albums: Belladonna, Spells of Fear, and 03. John Bush is involved with his former band Armored Saint, while original Anthrax vocalist Neil Turbin has been touring Japan, Europe, Mexico and US with his band Deathriders. Neil Turbin's debut album, "Back With A Vengeance", was released in 2009. Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano are currently in a side project called The Damned Things with members of Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die.

Guest musicians
A number of Anthrax albums have featured guests, most notably Dimebag Darrell, who appeared on "King Size" and "Riding Shotgun" from Stomp 442; "Inside Out" and "Born Again Idiot" from Volume 8: The Threat Is Real; and "Strap It On" and "Cadillac Rock Box" from We've Come for You All. Vocalist Roger Daltrey of The Who has also appeared on the band's We've Come for You All disc, providing backing vocals for "Taking the Music Back". Phil Anselmo of Pantera appears on Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, on the song "Killing Box." Public Enemy worked with Anthrax on a metal version of "Bring the Noise" from Public Enemy's album "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back".
Band members
Current
·         Scott Ian – rhythm guitars, lead guitar, backing vocals (1981–present)
·         Charlie Benante – drums, percussion (1983–present)
·         Joey Belladonna – lead vocals (1984–1992, 2005–2007, 2010–present)
·         Frank Bello – bass, backing vocals (1984–present)
·         Rob Caggiano – lead guitars, rhythm guitar (2001–present)



FormerLead vocals
·         John Connelly (1981)
·         Dirk Kennedy (1981)
·         Jason Rosenfeld (1981–1982)
·         Neil Turbin (1982–1984)
·         Matt Fallon (1984)
·         John Bush (1992–2005, 2009–2010 Touring Member)
·         Dan Nelson (2007–2009)

Drums
·         Dave Weiss (1981)
·         Greg D'Angelo (1981–1983)

Lead guitars
·         Danny Lilker (1981)
·         Greg Walls (1981–1983)
·         Bob Berry (1983)
·         Dan Spitz (1983–1995, 2005–2007)
·         Paul Crook (1995–2001)
Bass
o   Kenny Kushner (1981)
o   Paul Kahn (1981)
o   Danny Lilker (1981–1984)
o   Joey Vera ( 2004-2005)

Discography
·         Fistful of Metal (1984)
·         Spreading the Disease (1985)
·         Among the Living (1987)
·         State of Euphoria (1988)
·         Persistence of Time (1990)
·         Sound of White Noise (1993)
·         Stomp 442 (1995)
·         Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (1998)
·         We've Come for You All (2003)
·         Worship Music  *Tentative title until this album is published. (2011)


Appearances in other media
Anthrax has made several appearances on television, including the programs Married... with Children, WWE Raw, NewsRadio, Cheers, and Ask Dr. Ruth among others. Scott Ian has a cameo in the film Run Ronnie Run ( also performing on the soundtrack as part of the band Titannica) and the band appear in the 2003 comedy Calendar Girls. Their song "Madhouse" was used in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in-game radio station V-Rock and in Guitar Hero II. The song "Now It's Dark" was also converted into simlish on the metal radio station for The Sims PC game. Their song "Caught in a Mosh" was featured in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, and it is also featured on Guitar Hero: Smash Hits. In 2006, guitarist Scott Ian was a cast member of VH1's reality show SuperGroup and is also featured on many other VH1 shows such as I Love the 80s and I Love the 90s. Anthrax contributed a song to The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience CD, a cover of the Beastie Boys song "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun". They also contributed a song, Poison My Eyes, to The Last Action Hero soundtrack and provided the title track on the Bordello of Blood soundtrack. Anthrax also worked on the soundtrack to the John Carpenter film, Ghosts of Mars, working with the director and other musicians rather than writing their own songs. On the compilation album ECW:Extreme Music Anthrax recorded a cover of the Metallica song Phantom Lord.
                            


Friday, December 24, 2010

Megadeth



Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1983. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson following Mustaine's departure from Metallica, the band has since released 12 studio albums, three live albums, two EPs, 26 singles, 32 music videos, four compilations and one box set. As a pioneer of the American thrash metal movement, Megadeth rose to international fame in the 1980s and was ranked as one of the "Big Four of Thrash," along with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who were responsible for creating, developing and popularizing the thrash metal sub-genre.
Megadeth has experienced numerous line-up changes, due partly to the band's notorious substance abuse problems. From 1983 to 2002 — and as of February 8, 2010 — Mustaine and Ellefson are the only original members of the band, with Mustaine being the only constant member. After finding sobriety and securing a stable line-up, Megadeth went on to release a string of platinum and gold albums, including the platinum-selling landmark Rust in Peace in 1990 and the Grammy nominated, multi-platinum Countdown to Extinction in 1992.
Megadeth disbanded in 2002 after Mustaine suffered a severe nerve injury to his left arm. However, following extensive physical therapy, Mustaine reformed the band in 2004 and released The System Has Failed, followed by United Abominations in 2007; the albums debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #18 and #8, respectively. Megadeth, along with their new lead guitarist Chris Broderick, released their twelfth studio album, titled Endgame, on September 15, 2009, which debuted at #9 on the Billboard 200, marking Megadeth's fifth top 10 album.
In the band's 25 active years, there have been over 20 individuals that have all officially been a part of the group at different times, with Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson being the only original members. Megadeth is known for its distinctive, technical instrumental style, often featuring dense, intricate passages and trade offguitar solos, as well as for Mustaine's recurring lyrical themes including politics, war, addiction, personal relationships and religious themes. Megadeth has sold over 25 million albums worldwide, with five consecutive albums being certified platinum or multi-platinum in the USA. The band has also been nominated nine consecutive times for Best Metal Performance.

History
Early days (1983–1984)
Two months after lead guitarist Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica due to drinking, drug use, violent behavior and personality conflicts with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson formed Megadeth in Los Angeles. Mustaine later said, "After getting fired from Metallica, all I remember is that I wanted blood. Theirs. I wanted to be faster and heavier than them."
According to Mustaine, the name "Megadeth represents the annihilation of power. We spell the name phonetically because the meaning to us is the same as you get out of the dictionary; it's hypothetical body count after a nuclear fallout. It's a million deaths, and we want to leave our audience shell-shocked wherever we go." Fueled by the desire for revenge, Mustaine elevated the intensity of Megadeth's music, speeding up existing songs such as "Mechanix," which Metallica's new line-up adapted into the slower paced "The Four Horsemen." After unsuccessfully searching for a vocalist for nearly six months, Mustaine decided to handle lead vocal duties himself, while also serving as the band's primary lyricist, main songwriter, and co-lead and rhythm guitarist.
Early in 1984 Megadeth recorded a three song demo, the so-called 1984 Demo, featuring Mustaine, Ellefson, and Rausch, which contained early versions of "Last Rites/Loved to Death," "Skull Beneath the Skin" and "Mechanix." Kerry King (of Slayer fame), covered a handful of live dates while the band sought a permanent replacement. After just a few shows in 1984, Lee Rausch was replaced by fusion drummer Gar Samuelson. On the strength of their three song demo, Megadeth signed with the New York based independent label Combat Records, and in December added second guitarist Chris Poland, a friend of Gar's from the fusion scene.

Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985–1986)
Early in 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat Records to record and produce their debut album. However, after spending half of the album's budget on drugs, alcohol, and food the band was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album themselves.  Despite the resulting poor production, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, released in May 1985, was a well-received effort that blended elements of thrash, and speed metal.
The album features the first of many cover songs performed by Megadeth; a speed metal version of Nancy Sinatra's classic "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", with lyrics altered by Mustaine. The song sparked controversy in later years when the song's original author, Lee Hazlewood, deemed Mustaine's changes to be "vile and offensive" and demanded that the song be removed from the album. Under threat of legal action, the song was removed from all pressings released after 1995. In 2002, however, the album was re-released with a partial version of the song, though with the altered lyrics censored by a "beep." In the Killing Is My Business... deluxe ion liner notes, Mustaine is strongly critical of Hazlewood, and notes he received royalties for almost 10 years before objecting to the altered version.
In the summer of 1985, the group toured the United States and Canada for the first time, supporting Killing Is My Business... with Exciter. During the tour, new guitarist Chris Poland abruptly left the band, and was replaced by touring guitarist Mike Albert. Poland later rejoined Megadeth in October 1985 however, shortly before they began work on their second album with Combat Records.

Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? (1986–1987)
Originally completed in March 1986, Megadeth's second album again suffered from Combat Records small recording budget, and the band was initially unhappy with the final mixed product. Frustrated by the small independent label's financial insufficiencies, Megadeth signed to major label Capitol Records, who also bought the rights to the new album. Capitol hired producer Paul Lani to remix the recordings, and in November 1986, more than a year after recording began, Capitol released Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?. The album marked Megadeth's commercial and critical breakthrough, eventually selling more than a million copies in the US alone.
Considered to be a landmark thrash metal album, Allmusic cited Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? as "One of the most influential metal albums of its decade, and certainly one of the few truly definitive thrash albums." The album's title track "Peace Sells" was chosen to be the band's first music video, receiving regular airplay on MTV's Headbangers Ball. "Peace Sells" ranked #11 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs and the opening bass line was used for years as the theme for MTV NewsPeace Sells... but Who's Buying? was the first Megadeth album to feature art by Ed Repka, who redesigned the band's mascot Vic Rattlehead to the current standard, and designed much of the band's artwork in later years
In February 1987 Megadeth was added as the opening band on Alice Cooper's Constrictor tour, followed by a brief tour supporting Mercyful Fate in the US. Cooper, alarmed by the band's drug habits, summoned them to his bus one night to warn against constant excessive drug use. In March of that year, Megadeth began their first world tour as a headlining act in the United Kingdom, which featured support bands Overkill and Necros.
After years of problems stemming from substance abuse, both Gar Samuelson and Chris Poland were fired from Megadeth in July 1987, following the final show of the tour in Hawaii. Mustaine claimed that Samuelson had become too much to handle when intoxicated, and even had replacement drummer Chuck Behler flown out for the last few dates of the tour, fearing that Samuelson would not be able to finish with the band's commitments. Mustaine claimed that Poland had sold band equipment to fund his increasing drug habit, detailed in the song "Liar," which is also dedicated to Poland. Samuelson later died in July 1999 due to liver failure, while Poland managed to overcome his addiction. Poland was initially replaced by Jay Reynolds of Malice, but as the band began work on their next album, Reynolds was replaced by his own guitar teacher Jeff Young, who joined Megadeth six weeks into the recording of their third album.


So Far, So Good... So What! (1987–1989)
With a major label recording budget, and producer Paul Lani behind the desk, Megadeth spent five months recording their third album, So Far, So Good... So What! The recording process was again plagued with problems from the beginning, due in part to Mustaine's ongoing battle with addiction. Mustaine later said: "The production (of So Far, So Good...) was horrible, mostly due to substances and the priorities we had or didn't have at the time." Mustaine also clashed with Lani, beginning with Lani's insistence that the drums be recorded separate from the cymbals (an unheard of process for rock drummers). During the mixing process, Mustaine and Lani had a falling out, and Lani was replaced by producer Michael Wagener, who remixed the album.
In January 1988 Megadeth released So Far, So Good... So What!, and while the album was eventually certified platinum in the US, it was initially panned by critics, with Allmusic complaining that the album "lacked conceptual unity and musical bite", and that it "wants to sound threatening but mostly comes off as forced and somewhat juvenile".So Far, So Good... featured the song "In My Darkest Hour," with music written by Mustaine as a tribute to fallen Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. The song remains a fan favorite, and has been performed at nearly every Megadeth show since. So Far, So Good... also featured a cover version of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK", with lyrics altered by Mustaine (who later admitted to hearing them wrong).
In June 1988, Megadeth appeared in Penelope Spheeris' documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years, which chronicled the Los Angeles heavy metal scene of the late 1980s, mostly focusing on glam metal. The video for In My Darkest Hour was filmed by Spheeris (who also directed the "Wake Up Dead" and "Anarchy in the UK" videos), and appears in the final scene of the movie. In Megadeth's 1991 Rusted Pieces VHS, Mustaine recalls the movie as a disappointment, which aligned Megadeth with "a bunch of shit bands".
Megadeth began their world tour in support of So Far, So Good... opening for Dio in Europe in February 1988, later joining Iron Maiden's 7th Tour of a 7th Tour summer tour in the US. Noticing problems developing with drummer Chuck Behler, Mustaine brought drummer Nick Menza in to act as Behler's drum technician. As with Gar Samuelson before him, Menza was to be ready to take over for Behler in the event that he could not continue with the tour.
In August 1988, Megadeth appeared at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donnington in the UK, alongside KissIron MaidenHelloweenGuns N' Roses, and David Lee Roth, performing to an audience of more than 100,000 people. The band was soon added to the "Monsters of Rock" European tour, but dropped out after the first show due to Dave Ellefson's drug problems. Shortly after that appearance, Mustaine fired both Chuck Behler and guitarist Jeff Young, and canceled their scheduled 1988 Australian tour. "On the road, things escalated from a small border skirmish into a full-on raging war," he later recalled, "I think a lot of us were inconsistent (on the 1988 tour) because of the guy we were waiting for after the show."
In July 1989, Nick Menza was hired to replace Behler on the drums. Unable to find a suitable lead guitarist in time, Megadeth recorded a cover version of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" as a three piece band. The version later appeared on the soundtrack to the 1989 Wes Craven horror movie Shocker. While the band was holding auditions for the new lead guitarist in the summer of 1989, Mustaine was arrested for driving while intoxicated and possession of narcotics, having crashed into a parked vehicle occupied by an off-duty police officer. He entered court-ordered rehab soon after, and got sober for the first time in ten years.

Rust in Peace (1990–1991)
Following Mustaine's new found sobriety, Megadeth began a lengthy search for a new lead guitarist. Lee Altus of Heathen was among those who auditioned, as was Eric Meyer of Dark Angel fame. Meyer had been invited to join the band following Chris Poland's departure, but had declined in order to remain in Dark Angel.
Dimebag Darrell Abbott of then-obscure Pantera also auditioned, and was initially offered the spot. Darrell, however, would not join without his brother, Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, and, having already hired Nick Menza, the band was forced to turn Darrell down. In 1987, a 16-year-old Jeff Loomis (of Sanctuary, and later Nevermore) auditioned. Afterwards, Mustaine complimented Loomis on his playing, but rejected him because of his age. Loomis later saw Cacophony with Marty Friedman and Jason Becker on tour, and told Friedman, who had just released his first solo effort, Dragon's Kiss in 1988, of the experience. Friedman eventually auditioned for the spot, but was initially rejected by Mustaine for having multicolored hair. However, after undergoing what Mustaine called "Rock School 101", Friedman officially joined Megadeth in February 1990.
A revitalized Megadeth entered Rumbo Studios in March 1990 with co-producer Mike Clink to begin work on what would become their most critically acclaimed album to date, Rust In Peace. For the first time in their career, the band worked sober in the studio, alleviating many of the problems faced recording previous albums. Clink was also the first producer to successfully produce a Megadeth album from start to finish, without being fired.
Released worldwide on September 24, 1990, Rust in Peace was a hit with fans and critics alike, debuting at #23 on the Billboard Top 200 in the US, and #8 in the UK. The album showcased a much tighter sound, with Mustaine's writing style adopting a rhythmically complex progressive edge, prompting Allmusic to cite Rust in Peace as "Megadeth's strongest musical effort". The album featured the singles "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", and "Hangar 18",  both of which received music videos, and remain live staples. Rust in Peace went on to sell more than a million copies in the US, and received Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance.
In September 1990, Megadeth joined SlayerTestament and Suicidal Tendencies for the European "Clash of the Titans" tour, and in October, they were added as the opening band on Judas Priest's Painkiller tour, culminating with a performance to 140,000 people in January 1991 at Rock in Rio 2 festival in Brazil. Following the success of the European tour, a "Clash of the Titans" US tour began in May 1991, featuring Megadeth, SlayerAnthrax and opener Alice in Chains. In July, Megadeth's "Go to Hell" was featured on the Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack, and shortly after "Breakpoint" was featured on the Super Mario Bros soundtrack. In 1991, Megadeth also released their first home videoRusted Pieces, which contained six of the band's music videos, along with a video interview with the band.

Countdown to Extinction (1992–1993)
In January 1992, Megadeth entered Enterprise Studios in Burbank, California with co-producer Max Norman. Norman, who had mixed Rust in Peace, would be integral in Megadeth's resulting musical makeover, pushing for shorter, less complicated, and more radio-friendly songs. The band spent four months in the studio with Norman, writing and recording what would become Megadeth's most commercially successful effort, Countdown to Extinction. The album was the first to feature writing contributions from each band member, and was even named by drummer Nick Menza.
On July 14, 1992, Capitol Records released Countdown to Extinction. The album was an instant hit, debuting at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts in the US, and #5 in the UK. Anchored by the Mainstream Rock hits "Symphony of Destruction" ,"Foreclosure of a Dream", and "Sweating Bullets" the album quickly went double platinum in the US, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1993. The album's title song, "Countdown to Extinction" also gave Megadeth the distinction of being the only metal band to ever win the "Doris Day Music Award", presented to the band by the Humane Society of the United States in 1993 for "spotlighting species destruction and the horrific 'sport' of canned hunts".
The band released their second home video Exposure of a Dream, in November 1992, continuing in a similar to fashion to Rusted Pieces, the release featured all music videos previously released from Countdown. Megadeth began their world tour in support of Countdown to Extinction in December 1992 with Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies, followed by a North American tour beginning in January 1993 with Stone Temple Pilots. Just one month into the North American tour, however, the band was forced to cancel all remaining shows, including dates scheduled in Japan, as Mustaine again fell into substance abuse, and ended up in the hospital emergency room. After a seven week stint in rehab, Mustaine emerged clean once again, and the band returned to the studio to record "Angry Again", a song which was featured in the 1993 film Last Action Hero, and later nominated for a Grammy in 1994.
In June 1993 Megadeth returned to the stage, appearing as "special guests" at Metallica's Milton Keynes Bowl Festival, marking the first time the former bandmates played the same stage in ten years. The pairing prompted Mustaine's on stage announcement that "The ten years of bullshit is over between Metallica and Megadeth!", although problems would later resurface between the long-feuding bands. In July, Megadeth was added as the opening act for Aerosmith's Get A Grip US tour, but due to contractual disputes, and on stage remarks made by Mustaine about Aerosmith's "advancing" age, Megadeth was removed from the tour after just seven dates.
Following their canceled US tour, Megadeth returned to the studio to record "99 Ways to Die", a song that appeared on The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience, a compilation album featuring songs intercut with commentary by Beavis and Butt-head, released in November 1993. The song was later nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for Best Metal Performance. At the same sessions, "Paranoid" was recorded for a Black Sabbath tribute album. Paranoid was often performed as an encore.

Youthanasia (1994–1995)
Early in 1994, Megadeth again teamed up with co-producer Max Norman to begin work on the follow up to Countdown to Extinction. With two members of the band now residing in Arizona, initial work began at Phase Four Studios in Phoenix. A few days into pre-production, problems with Phase Four's equipment forced the band to seek out an alternative studio. Mustaine, however, insisted on recording at his home state of Arizona, and no suitable recording facility could be found in time. At the request of co-producer Norman, the band opted to construct their own recording studio inside of a rented warehouse in Phoenix, Arizona, later dubbed "Fat Planet in Hangar 18". While the studio was being constructed, much of the pre-production song writing and arrangements took place at Vintage Recorders in Phoenix (a studio which would also be used for MD45 and both Mustaine and Friedman solo projects). For the first time in their career, the band wrote and arranged the entire album in studio, and included basic tracks recorded live by the whole band at the same time. Recording of the album was captured on video, and later released as Evolver: The Making of Youthanasia.
Following eight months in the studio, Youthanasia was released on November 1, 1994, Oct.31st 1994 (Halloween ) saw a live broadcast on MTV of "Night of the Living Megadeth" which introduced the new songs to a wide audience for the first time. Youthanasia debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart in the US. The album was certified gold in Canada in just thirty minutes, and was certified platinum in the US faster than any other Megadeth album. With producer Max Norman still pushing for a slower, more commercial sound, Youthanasia followed the stylistic shift that began with Countdown to Extinction. While still retaining core metal elements, the album focused on stronger vocal melodies and more accessible, radio friendly arrangements. The band even enlisted noted fashion photographer Richard Avedon to further their new image, dropping their jeans and t-shirts for a more style conscious look.
A sticker on initial releases of Youthanasia advertised the then-new concept of a band website, affectionately known as "Megadeth, Arizona". Fans could chat in the "Mega-diner", correspond with the band through email, request songs to be played live, and read columns and tour diaries written by band members.
Youthanasia's first single, "Train of Consequencesreached #29 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock charts, and in November 1994, Megadeth appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing the album's second single, "À Tout Le Monde". "À Tout Le Monde" also received a music video, which MTV refused to play, thinking its lyrics were an endorsement of suicide.
Live support for Youthanasia began in South America in November 1994, and would span eleven months, becoming Megadeth's most extensive tour to date. The band was joined by Corrosion of Conformity in both Europe and the US, and Flotsam and JetsamKorn and Fear Factory in the US. The tour culminated with an appearance at the Monsters of Rock festival in Brazil, co-headlining alongside Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne. In January 1995, Megadeth appeared on the soundtrack to the horror film Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight with the song "Diadems". Megadeth also contributed a cover version of "Paranoid" to Nativity in Black, the first Black Sabbath tribute album. The band's version of "Paranoid" was nominated for a Grammy in 1996 for Best Metal Performance, Megadeth's sixth nomination in as many years.
In March 1995, Megadeth released a special ion of Youthanasia in Europe, containing a bonus disc entitled Hidden Treasures. The bonus disc featured every one-off song by Megadeth, from film soundtracks, compilations, and tribute albums, including a new recording of the Sex Pistols' "Problems". Due to fan demand, the bonus disc was released as its own EP in the United States and Japan in July 1995.
During the summer of 1995, the band underwent changes on the business side. Manager Ron Lafitte was hired by EMI Records and essentially disbanded his Management company. Megadeth later signed with ESP Management, and hired a new "creative manager" Bud Prager, a previous manager of both Foreigner and Bad Company. As with Max Norman before him, Prager would go on to be highly influential in shaping the direction of the band.


Cryptic Writings (1996–1998)
Following an extensive world tour in support of Youthanasia, Megadeth took time off late in 1995. Mustaine began work on MD.45, a side project with vocalist Lee Ving of Fear. Drummer Jimmy Degrasso ( who had been playing in Alice Cooper's Band for the South American Monsters of Rock Tour months previous) was brought in. Sessions were recorded and Vintage Recorders, and Dave also started work on a home demo studio. Marty Friedman constructed a studio in his new home in Phoenix and started work both there and at Vintage Recorders on a solo project. In September 1996, Megadeth began working on songs for their next album in London, tentatively titled Needles and Pins. The writing process was closely supervised by new manager Bud Prager, who also contributed musical ideas and lyrics to the songs. Many lyrics, and even song titles were changed at the request of Prager. Regarding Prager's writing influence, Mustaine later wrote "I figured maybe this guy (Prager) could help me get that intangible 'Number One' record I so badly wanted" Due to a problem with the album's original artwork, the album cover was replaced with a "voodoo symbol", and renamed Cryptic Writings.
On June 17, 1997 Capitol Records released Cryptic Writings. The album debuted at #10 on the Billboard Top 200, and was Megadeth's sixth consecutive studio album to be certified gold in the United States. Cryptic Writings scored Megadeth their highest charting single to date, the #5 Mainstream Rock Track, "Trust",  which was also nominated for a Best Metal Performance Grammy in 1998. Press response to the album was mixed, but the album would go on to score four top 20 Mainstream Rock Tracks, including "Almost Honest" (#8), "Use the Man" (#15), and "A Secret Place" When asked about the eclectic nature of the album, Mustaine later said "We divided it into thirds. One part of the record was really fast and aggressive, one third of it was the really melodic, in between stuff, and then the final third was really radio-orientated music like Youthanasia."
After more than a year away from the stage, Megadeth returned as a live act in June 1997, beginning a world tour with The Misfits, and later touring in the United States with Life of Agony and Coal Chamber. In July Megadeth joined Ozzfest 98, but halfway through the tour, drummer Nick Menza discovered a tumor on his knee, and was forced to leave the tour to undergo surgery. He was replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso, temporarily at first. Following the tour, however, DeGrasso replaced Menza permanently, after Mustaine claimed that Menza had "lied about having cancer".
In 1998, computer game development company 3D Realms announced that they would be using two unreleased Megadeth tracks on their promotional album Duke Nukem: Music to Score By. First was a rendition of the Duke Nukem theme song "Grabbag", originally composed by Lee Jackson, and second was a Megadeth song originally recorded in 1995, "New World Order", which later appeared on the remastered ion of Hidden Treasures. A demo version of this song had already featured on the 1994 Japanese ion of Hidden Treasures, but this was included on the remaster of Youthanasia instead.

Risk (1999–2000)
Following the band's first real radio success with Cryptic Writings, Megadeth opted to again work with country pop producer Dann Huff in Nashville on their eighth studio album, which began in January 1999. The writing of the album was again supervised by manager Bud Prager, cred with co-writing on five of the album's twelve songs. Prager convinced Mustaine to grant producer Dan Huff more control over the recording process. "When it comes to Risk", Mustaine later wrote, "there'd been people in there playing and I wouldn't even know who they were or where the parts came from, and I'm not used to that. I was a little bit intimidated by the success we had with Cryptic Writings, so when it came to creating new material after that, it's like being "power-drunk" - you want more. After the success with "Trust", I thought to myself "wow, we've had a number one hit." We'd had four top five hits in a row, so why would I not want to give Dan even more control when it comes to the producing part on the next record? So I did, and it backfired."
Released on August 31, 1999, Risk was both a critical and commercial failure, and led to a backlash from many longtime fans. Although recent Megadeth albums had incorporated mainstream rock elements alongside a more traditional heavy metal sound, Risk was virtually devoid of metal, featuring instead dance, electronica, and disco influences. Risk was Megadeth's first release since 1985 not to be certified gold or higher in the US. The album's lead-off single, "Crush Em", appeared on the Universal Soldier: The Return soundtrack, temporarily as World Championship Wrestling's entrance theme for Bill Goldberg and later became an official NHL song, played during hockey games. Singles were made out of Crush 'EmBreadline and Insomnia.
In July 1999, Megadeth recorded a cover version of the Black Sabbath song "Never Say Die", which appeared on the second Nativity in Black tribute album. They began their world tour in support of Risk in September 1999, playing alongside Iron Maiden during the European leg. Three months into the tour, longtime guitarist Marty Friedman announced that he would be leaving the band, citing musical differences. As Mustaine later explained: "I told (Marty) after Risk that we had to go back to our roots and play metal, and he quit." Megadeth enlisted guitarist Al Pitrelli, formerly of SavatageAlice Cooper, and currently ofTrans-Siberian Orchestra, as Friedman's replacement in January 2000.
Megadeth returned to the studio in April 2000, to begin work on their ninth studio release. However, one month into production the band was given the opportunity to join the "Maximum Rock" tour, alongside Anthrax and Mötley Crüe. Megadeth put the recording on hold, and toured North America throughout the summer of 2000. Early into the tour, Anthrax dropped off the bill, allowing Megadeth to play an extended, co-headlining set.
Megadeth and Capitol Records parted ways in October 2000, after fourteen years. The label returned the band's newest recordings, and in return released a greatest hits record, Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years. The album also featured two new tracks, "Kill the King", and "Dread and the Fugitive Mind", both of which showcased the band's return to their metal roots following Risk.

The World Needs a Hero (2001–2002)
In November 2000, Megadeth signed with new label Sanctuary Records. The band returned to the studio in October to put the finishing touches on their next album, which had been near completion before the band joined the "Maximum Rock" tour six months earlier. Following the overwhelming negative response to Risk, Mustaine fired manager Bud Prager, and decided to self-produce Megadeth's next album. The World Needs a Hero, the first Megadeth album since Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? to be written entirely by Mustaine (with one contribution from Al Pitrelli on "Promises"), was released on May 15, 2001 to mixed reviews.While the album marked a return to form following the attempted mainstream rock direction featured on Risk, some critics felt the album fell short of expectations. Mustaine himself likened the album to be the first major turn of a huge ship at sea, trying to right itself and get back on course. The album's lead off single, "Moto Psycho", reached #22 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, also receiving regular airplay on VH1's Rock Show.
Touring in support of The World Needs a Hero began in the summer of 2001 in Europe supporting AC/DC, followed by an American tour with Iced Earth and Endo in September. The tour was cut short however, following the attacks on America on September 11, the band were forced to cancel all scheduled dates, including a DVD shoot set in Argentina. Although they did perform one show at the Commador Ballroom in Vancouver, B.C. on September 12. Instead the band played two shows in Arizona in November, which were filmed and later released as Rude Awakening, Megadeth's first official live release. The DVD went gold on July 23, 2002. In February 2002, Bill Kennedy remixed and remastered Megadeth's first album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, with modern mixing and mastering techniques used on modern metal albums, and added bonus tracks.

Breakup (2002–2004)
In January 2002, Mustaine was admitted to the hospital to remove a kidney stone. While undergoing treatment, he was administered pain medication, which triggered a relapse. Following his hospital stay, he immediately checked himself into a treatment center in Texas. While at the treatment center, Mustaine suffered a freak injury causing severe nerve damage to his left arm. The injury, induced by falling asleep with his left arm over the back of a chair, caused compression of the radial nerve. He was diagnosed with radial neuropathy, which left him unable to grasp or even make a fist with his left hand (a condition known as Saturday Night Palsy).
On April 3, 2002, Mustaine announced in a press release that he was disbanding Megadeth, officially due to his arm injury. For the next four months, Mustaine underwent intense physical therapy five days a week. Slowly, Mustaine began to play again, but was forced to "re-teach" his left hand.
In order to fulfill contract obligations with Sanctuary Records, Megadeth released a compilation album, Still Alive... and Well? on September 10, 2002. The first half of the album contains live tracks recorded at the Web Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 17, 2001. The second half of the album contains studio recordings taken from The World Needs a Hero.
Following nearly a year of recovery, including physical and electric shock therapy, Mustaine began work on what was to be his first solo album. The new material was recorded with session musicians Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Sloas in October 2003, but the project was put on hold when Mustaine agreed to remix and remaster Megadeth's eight album back catalog with Capitol Records. Mustaine re-recorded some parts that were lost over time, or altered without his knowledge in the initial mixing process.

The System Has Failed (2004–2005)

In May 2004 Mustaine returned to his newest recordings, intended as a solo effort, but due to outstanding contractual obligations with the band's European label EMI, he was forced to release one more album under the "Megadeth" name. Mustaine decided to reform the band, and contacted the fan favorite "Rust in Peace line-up" to re-record backing tracks on his latest songs. While drummer Nick Menza initially signed on, Marty Friedman and Dave Ellefson were both unable to come to an agreement with Mustaine. Menza was dismissed shortly after he began rehearsing with the band again. Mustaine states, "It just didn't work out. We tried for two weeks to get everything to happen, and it just didn't click. Five days before the tour started, I had to send him home." Regarding longtime bassist Ellefson not returning to the band, Mustaine said: "Dave lied to me in the press, he said that my arm injury was fake, went around town and slandered me. We made him a really good offer (to rejoin the band) and he said no. I mean, if I give you an offer and you don't take it, it means no, right?" The resulting album became the first ever Megadeth recording not to feature Ellefson. Original lead guitarist Chris Poland (from the 'Killing is My Business' and 'Peace Sells' era) was hired by Mustaine to contribute guitar solos to the new album; the first time the two musicians had worked together since Poland's dismissal from the band in the 1980s. Poland opted to serve as a studio musician only, as he wished to remain focused on his own jazz fusion project OHM.
On September 14, 2004 Megadeth released their comeback album, The System Has Failed on Sanctuary Records in the US and EMI in Europe. Heralded as a return to form, Revolver magazine gave the album four stars, calling The System Has Failed "Megadeth's most vengeful, poignant and musically complex offering since Countdown to Extinction." The album debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at #18, and was led by the radio single "Die Dead Enough",  which reached #21 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. Mustaine announced that the album would be the band's last, followed by a farewell tour, after which he would focus on a solo career.
Megadeth began the Blackmail the Universe world tour in October 2004, enlisting touring bassist James MacDonough (Iced Earth), and guitarist Glen Drover (Eidolon, King Diamond). While in rehearsal for the tour, drummer Nick Menza parted ways with the band, as he was unable to prepare for the physical demands of a full US tour. He was replaced just five days before the first show by Shawn Drover, brother to new guitarist Glen Drover, and also a member of the Canadian thrash metal band Eidolon. The band toured the US with Exodus, and later in Europe with Diamond Head and Dungeon.
In June 2005, Capitol Records released a greatest hits album to replace the now out of print Capitol Punishment, entitled Greatest Hits: Back to the Start, which featured the new remixed and remastered versions of songs from the first eight albums.

Gigantour (2005–2006)

In the summer of 2005, Mustaine organized an annual heavy metal festival tour, dubbed Gigantour. Megadeth headlined the inaugural run with Dream Theater, Nevermore,Anthrax, Fear Factory, Dillinger Escape Plan, Life of Agony, Symphony X, Dry Kill Logic and Bobaflex. Performances from the Montreal and Vancouver shows were filmed and recorded for a live DVD and CD, both of which were released in the summer of 2006.
On October 9, 2005, following the successes of The System Has Failed and the Blackmail the Universe world tour, Mustaine announced on stage in Argentina to a sold out crowd at the Pepsi Music Rock Festival that Megadeth would continue to record and tour with the line "... And we will be back!." This concert was officially released on DVD as That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires in March 2007. The DVD went gold on July 19, 2007. The 2 CD version was released on September 4, 2007.
In February, 2006 bass player James MacDonough parted ways with the band for what MacDonough called "personal differences". He was replaced by bassist James LoMenzo, who had previously worked with David Lee Roth, White Lion and Black Label Society. On March 16, 2006 the new Megadeth line-up made their live debut headlining the Dubai Desert Rockfestival held in the United Arab Emirates, alongside Testament and 3 Doors Down.
On March 21, 2006, Capitol Records released a two disc DVD titled Arsenal of Megadeth, which included archive footage, interviews, live shows, and many of the band's music videos. Due to licensing issues, movie soundtrack videos, as well as videos not released by Capitol Records were not included on the DVD. However, the DVD still featured the songs No More Mr. Nice Guy and Go to Hell from Hidden Treasures. The DVD went gold on July 27, 2007.
Second installment of the Gigantour was launched in fall of 2006, Megadeth headlining the inaugural run with Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Overkill, Into Eternity, Sanctity and The SmashUp. Gigantour 2006 also continued with 3 dates in Australia, line up included Soulfly, Arch Enemy and Caliban. Performances from the Sunrise, Florida show were filmed and recorded for a live DVD and CD, both of which were released in the spring of 2008.

United Abominations (2006–2009)
In May 2006 Megadeth announced their eleventh studio album, entitled United Abominations, was near completion. Originally scheduled for release by Roadrunner Records in October 2006, Mustaine announced in August 2006 that the band were "putting the finishing touches on it", and it was rescheduled for release on May 15, 2007. United Abominations is the band's first studio release to feature members Glen DroverShawn Drover, and James Lomenzo. In March 2007 Dave Mustaine announced at the Megadeth forums that a new version of "À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)" would be released on the album. It features a duet with Cristina Scabbia of the band Lacuna Coil, and was to be the first single from the album until it was replaced by "Washington Is Next!".
United Abominations was released on May 15, 2007. It debuted a week later at #8 in the US, the band's highest charting position since 1994's Youthanasia, and sold 54,000 copies in its first week. In March 2007 Megadeth commenced a tour through Canada and the United States as an opening act for the newly-reformed Heaven & Hell, along with Down on Canadian dates and Machine Head on US dates, followed by a summer festival tour through Europe. In September 2007 Megadeth returned to the United States as the headline act on their Tour Of Duty tour, which also included the Pacific rim and the third installment of Gigantour which was launched in Australia in November 2007, line up included Static-XLacuna CoilDevilDriver and Bring Me the Horizon.
On January 13, 2008, Dave Mustaine confirmed that Glen Drover had quit Megadeth to focus on his family, and was replaced by Chris Broderick (formerly of Nevermore and Jag Panzer). The new line-up made its live debut in Finland on February 4, went on Tour Of Duty tour in Europe as the headline act and returned to UK the same month and US in the spring for Gigantour 2008. Dave Mustaine wanted a shorter lineup so each band had a good chance to put on a show. The 2008 installment of the tour featured In FlamesChildren of BodomJob for a Cowboy, and High on Fire (and Evile for the UK and Scandinavia tour).  Also Megadeth did Tour Of Duty tour in South America and Mexico in May and June 2008. Commenting on leaving the band, Drover said "I am aware of the rumors that I left Megadeth to focus on family life. My family life has always been my priority. In the end, I was unhappy with the situation, which magnified me wanting to spend more time with my family and realizing that it's time for me to move on to the next chapter in my musical career, I have a lot of great memories and met a ton of great people along the way, both fans and people in the industry." 
Mustaine said he is happy with Drover's decision and is pleased that his replacement is Broderick. Mustaine also said "Chris is doing just fine." Former Nevermore bandmate Van Williams commented that Megadeth is "getting one hell of a good player, more importantly they're getting a great guy to hang out with and a true friend." Broderick said "I realize I have some big shoes to fill and I will do my best."With regards to what kind of an addition Chris Broderick will be for Megadeth, Dave Mustaine in an interview said "...thoroughly thrilled with Chris... it reminds me a lot like when Ozzy found Randy Rhoads." A compilation album called Anthology: Set The World Afire was released on September 30, 2008.

Endgame (2009–2010)

Megadeth embarked on the "Priest Feast" European tour with headliners Judas Priest and openers Testament in February and March 2009. Dave Mustaine was invited by Metallica to attend their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction; Mustaine congratulated them respectfully and stated due to winding down European tour with Judas Priest he would be unable to attend the ceremony. Megadeth and Slayer co-headlined Canadian Carnage, the first time they had performed together in more than 15 years. Opening acts for the four shows that occurred in late June were Machine Head and Suicide Silence.
As of May 19, Megadeth had finished recording the album and on June 18, the album title was revealed to be Endgame. On May 27, 2009, Dave Mustaine confirmed all 12 songs are complete and they are currently mixing and mastering the record. As mentioned by Dave Mustaine on the syndicated radio show Infowars, the name of the album Endgame is an homage to the Alex Jones documentary of the same name.
The release date for the "Endgame" album was announced on the Megadeth official website as September 15, 2009, and Metal Hammer magazine's website were the first to review the album track by track. Megadeth began its Endgame tour on November 14, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and ended on December 13, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Tour featured Machine Head, Suicide Silence, Warbringer, and Arcanium. In January 2010, Megadeth was set to embark on the "American Carnage" tour with Slayer and Testament, both giants of the thrash and heavy metal scene. The tour was scheduled to begin on January 18, but was ultimately postponed until later in the summer due to Tom Araya's back surgery. Several weeks later, Megadeth's "Head Crusher" was nominated for a 2010 Grammy.
Megadeth also announced a "Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary Tour", which began on March 1 as a month-long North American tour with support from Testament and Exodus. During the tour, Megadeth played Rust In Peace in its entirety and Testament played The Legacy in its entirety. As of February 8, 2010, and prior to the start of the "Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary Tour", original bassist Dave Ellefson rejoined Megadeth after eight years. He stated in an interview for Classic Rockmagazine that Megadeth drummer Shawn Drover contacted him and had said that bassist James LoMenzo was declining and had told him that "if ever there was a time for you and Dave to talk, now is it."
In recent news, Megadeth have been working on a new song entitled "Sudden Death" and to which Mustaine claims "won't be ready for a half a year at best." However, it appears in the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. On June 18 IGN posted a video showcasing the completed version of the song on the game. Accompanying Sudden Death on the game will be Holy Wars... The Punishment Due and This Day We Fight!. On September 7, 2010, the band released Rust in Peace Live on CD, DVD, and BluRay, recorded at the Hollywood Palladium via Shout! Factory.
Megadeth, along with MetallicaSlayer, and Anthrax performed on the same bill for the first time ever on June 16, 2010 at Bemowo Airport (Warsaw, Poland). It was the first performance of that bands played as a part of Sonisphere Festival series, one of the following (SofiaBulgaria, June 22, 2010) was sent via satellite in HD to cinemas. They also went on to play in AthensGreece (June 24, 2010), BucharestRomania (June 26, 2010) and then in IstanbulTurkey (June 27, 2010) also as part of the Sonisphere Festival. This was the first time that Megadeth and Metallica played the same stage since June 1993, and only the second time since 1983 that he, Hetfield, and Ulrich have shared the same stage.
On September 24, 2010, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax will begin The Jägermeister Music Tour in Dallas, TX. Megadeth will continue to play their 1990 album Rust In Peace in its entirety, while Slayer will perform their Seasons in the Abyss album, which was also released in 1990. Also, on September 24, 2010, Megadeth released the new track Sudden Death on iTunes. On September 28, Roadrunner Records made the track available for streaming on its website. On October 21 the finale date of Jägermeister Music Tour in fall of 2010, Kerry King joined Megadeth on stage, at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood, California to perform Megadeth's classic "Rattlehead" which was the first time in 26 years that Kerry King has shared the stage with Megadeth since he played with the band during Megadeth's very first shows in 1984.
In an October 2010 interview with Crypt Magazine, Shawn Drover stated plans on a new upcoming Megadeth album: "Yeah, we’re certainly talking about it. Right now we’re in tour mode, but we’re starting to discuss our game plan for next year, and I envision next year we’ll be recording a new record." Later that month, Roadrunner Records submitted Sudden Death for consideration for Best Metal PerformanceThe Right to Go Insane for Best Hard Rock Performance and Rust in Peace Live for Best Rock Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards. "Sudden Death" was nominated, making it the band's ninth.

New album (2010–Present)
On November 17, 2010, Dave Mustaine has officially announced in the Megadeth Cyber Army Chat Room that Megadeth will soon be recording their 13th album in Vic's Garage (Megadeth's Studio). Dave Mustaine said these words about the new upcoming album; "So, right now I have Ken Eisennagel, you may remember him from the last two records doing engineering for all of the pre-production phases of Megadeth records? Well, he is here Megadeth’s studio - Vic's Garage going over all of the new Megadeth stuff that I am working on… believe it or not we have five songs almost finished for the new Megs record already!" The album name and release date is still to be announced. On December 18, 2010, it was announced that Megadeth and Slayer will join forces once again for European Carnage Tour in March and April 2011. Also Big Four will play couple of dates again at Sonisphere in England and France for the first time ever in July 2011.

Lyrical themes
As Megadeth's primary lyricist, Mustaine is known for his often controversial, political, and more recently, personal lyrics. War and nuclear war are common topics, including the military-industrial complex("Architecture of Aggression", "Hangar 18", "Return to Hangar" "Take No Prisoners"), and the aftermath of war ("Dawn Patrol" "Ashes In Your Mouth"). The name Megadeth is a deliberate misspelling of the word megadeath, a term coined in 1953 by RAND military strategist Herman Kahn to describe one million deaths, popularized in his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War. Politics are also a common theme to many Megadeth songs, such as Mustaine's scathing assessment of Tipper Gore, the PMRC, and music censorship in the song "Hook In Mouth". Mustaine takes an environmentalist stance in "Countdown to Extinction" and "Dawn Patrol",and shuns dictators in songs like "Symphony of Destruction". The UN is criticized for its ineffectiveness in "United Abominations" and "Peace Sells". Mustaine's general cynicism regarding politics shines through on tracks like "Peace Sells","The World Needs A Hero" and "Blackmail the Universe".

Controversial and misunderstood lyrics have also caused problems for the band, as the music video for "In My Darkest Hour" was banned from MTV in 1988 when the music channel deemed the song to be pro-suicide. The music video for "À Tout le Monde" was later banned by MTV, again wrongly interpreted as being pro-suicide, when in fact it was written from the perspective of a dying man, saying his last words to his loved ones.
Addiction is also a common theme, as in "Use the Man", "Burnt Ice", and "Addicted to Chaos", about a former substance abuse counselor who died of a drug overdose. Recently, some lyrics have taken on religious themes, such as "Never Walk Alone... A Call to Arms", which supposedly is about Mustaine's relationship with God, and "Shadow of Deth", with spoken lyrics taken directly from Psalm 23 of the King James Bible. "My Kingdom" and "Of Mice And Men" also feature Christian lyrics.
Mustaine dabbled in black magic in his teenage years, which became the theme for the song off the Peace Sells album, The Conjuring. Mustaine stated that it was emotionally difficult to play because of his rebirth into Christianity. "I put two hexes on people, and they both worked and the result was just what I was asking for," he explained. "Now, it took forever to get that Satanic depression off of me because it's just like playing with a Ouija board. You open the doorway to the dark side, and spirits come through. It took almost 20 years to get rid of that Satanic depression. I did it when I was 15, and I don't think I got free of it until I was in my mid-30s.You ask yourself, 'How is it possible that this is happening to me?' Well, because you flirted with the devil and you put a hex on somebody and you put another hex on somebody, and, well, you owe him. And that's why I have a problem playing 'The Conjuring' today.

Controversy

Dave Mustaine is notorious for making inflammatory statements in the press, usually regarding feuds and problems with former bandmates and other bands, including Slayer and Metallica. Perhaps most well known is his long standing feud with Metallica members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, stemming from his ejection from the band, and the method in which it was conducted, as well as disagreements on songwriting crs. This feud has since been resolved, and Mustaine and the members of Metallica are once again on friendly terms.
In April 1988, at a concert in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Mustaine "unknowingly" dedicated the final song to the IRA. Before the final song, "Anarchy in the UK", Mustaine said, "This one's for the cause!" A fight amongst the audience ensued, as Protestants took offense and, according to Mustaine, the band had to travel in a "bulletproof bus" for the remainder of the tour of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Mustaine later alleged that he had been misled as to the meaning of the expression "the cause" by T-Shirt bootleggers outside the venue where they were performing. This incident served as inspiration for one of Megadeth's most well-known songs, "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due".
In July 2004, former bassist Dave Ellefson sued Mustaine for $18.5 million in Manhattan Federal Court. Ellefson alleged that Mustaine short changed him on profits and backed out of a deal to turn Megadeth over to him when they disbanded in 2002. Ellefson also accused Mustaine of locking him out of merchandise and publishing royalties. The suit was dismissed in 2005, and Mustaine filed a countersuit, which was later settled out of court.
Also sparking minor controversy was Mustaine's announcement that Megadeth will not play certain songs live anymore, due to Mustaine's new identification as a Christian. In recent years Dave Mustaine has become a Born again Christian. In May 2005 Mustaine also allegedly threatened to cancel shows in Greece and Israel with extreme metal bands Rotting Christ and Dissection, due to the bands' perceived anti-Christian beliefs, which in turn caused the two bands to cancel their appearances.

Legacy
Over 25 million albums sold worldwide, ten top 40 albums (including 5 top 10 albums), 18 top 40       Mainstream Rock singles, and nine Grammy nominations, Megadeth remains one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time. Of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands (Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer), Megadeth is second only to Metallica in sales and commercial success.
As an early pioneer of thrash metal, Megadeth helped pave the way for the burgeoning extreme metal                              movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and is often cited as an influence by later metal acts, including Pantera, Bullet for My Valentine, Arch Enemy, Lamb of God, and In Flames.  
Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? is considered a landmark in the history of thrash metal, with Allmusic calling the album "One of the most influential metal albums of its decade, and certainly one of the few truly definitive thrash albums", as well as "one of the best beginning-to-end metal albums ever". In May 2006 VH1 ranked "Peace Sells" #11 on the 40 Greatest Metal Songs of all time countdown. In addition to this, Rust In Peace was named the 3rd greatest thrash metal album of all time by Metal Hammer magazine. "Peace Sells...But Who's buying?" was placed 11th.
In 1993, Megadeth became the first and only metal band to win the Humane Society's Genesis Award for the title track of their Countdown to Extinction album.
In 2004, Guitar World magazine ranked Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman together at #19 on the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time. Megadeth are also ranked 69th on "VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list.
In 2009, after the release of Endgame, BBC regarded Megadeth as "most consistent heavy metal group".BW&BK mentions that even in 2009, "Megadeth are still driven by hunger" for new material and they do not repeat themselves. About.com asserts that "More than a quarter century after their formation, Megadeth is still at the top of their game."