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How Does Megadeth Rank in the History of Heavy Metal Bands?

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Megadeth Should Be Considered Among the Top 20 Most Solid Heavy Metal Bands

How does American heavy metal band Megadeth rank in the history of heavy metal? Right in the beginning of this article, let’s say that their peak period as a band was from 1986 through 1992 even though their weakest studio album of the 1980’s was either their debut with a long title or So Far, So Good, So What! By 2016, it is clear that the band has totally redeemed themselves and even though I have not heard every single one of Megadeth’s albums, I have heard enough of them to offer an analysis of how this band ranks in the history of heavy metal. Megadeth does not go on my top ten list of the greatest heavy metal bands ever but they might be among the Top 20 most solid ones. We shall see after an analysis of their 2016 album called Dystopia.


A Brief Review of the Album Dystopia Their Best Album Since 2007

However, the song called Bullet to the Brain shows something different about this band musically. The beginning of the song is more progressive in nature, sounding like something like Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth has used for most of their career. The solo sounds like something German thrash metal band Kreator would use. Has Dave Mustaine become more creative in his 50’s? That’s the guess that I would have. It is as if his creative mental faculties woke up and he knew he had to improve musically after the band’s period of mainstream metal albums starting in 1994. The song called Post American World is a song that foretells the decline of the United States and in fact, the US has declined in its standing internationally as allies are looking at her in disbelief. What will the world look like in the post American world? America will still exist as a nation but her role and power will be declined and reduced. The instrumental song called Conquer or Die has a Spanish flamenco guitar influence in it along with Fates Warning era No Exit guitar sound mixed in. The song called Lying in State is a song about the coming decline of Western Civilization. Dystopia is easily a better album than several of the band’s prior releases including 2007’s United Abominations. Death From Within has some impressive melodies to go along with the harmony vocals. Songs such as “The Threat Is Real” and the title track Dystopia set a pretty good tone for the album. It is unrealistic to expect Megadeth to be able to top releases such as Rust in Peace or Countdown to Extinction but Dystopia is a good modern metal releases. There’s no doubt that Megadeth has the capability to diversify their efforts when it comes to music as is the case in the song Conquer or Die. This is a good way to mix things up after what is on this album.

My List of the Top 21 Heavy Metal Bands of All Time

AnnihilatorDark MoorTankard


Flowing Tears







Enemy of the Sun

Holy Moses

Lacuna Coil


Dark Tranquillity





In Flames



Alice Cooper






Sacred Reich

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Megadeth Gets a Grammy Award for Their Album Dystopia

For all of their hard work, the band was finally awarded with a Grammy. They received the award at the 59th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in February 2017. The band finally got the award after being nominated the first nine times and not getting it. They got the award for Best Metal Performance for Dystopia.

"Dystopia" Song Only

Final Thoughts About How Megadeth Ranks Compared to Other Heavy Metal Bands in the History of the Genre

After analyzing Dystopia, I would put Megadeth probably at #20 on a list of the 20 best heavy metal bands of all time. The have come a long way since their first studio album and if Mustaine were not fired from Metallica, there may not have even been Megadeth. Everything always works out for the better especially in this situation. Megadeth will always be seen as one of the pioneers of thrash metal. It is definitely fair to ask how Megadeth ranks in the history of heavy metal bands after 33 years of touring and performing if we don’t count the brief hiatus that Megadeth was going through from 2002 to 2004. Dystopia is definitely an improvement over Super Collider and lyrically this album brings awareness to the many social problems and injustices especially of the world. "Fatal Illusion" the song still shows that Megadeth can still play thrash metal in 2016 and Dave hasn’t really lost a step in terms of guitar picking.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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