METALLICA versus MEGADETH
James Hetfield
Dave Mustaine
 It seems to have been a war of words for the last 25 plus years between Metallica and Megadeth. Countless interviews and opinions from the bands, media and fans. What a lot of people have failed to realize is that even though there was a lot of hurt involved between Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and the way he was ejected from his Lead Guitar role by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of Metallica, it produced two of the most incredible Heavy Metal bands the world has seen. Two for the price of one and we all like those deals don't we?


But which is musically better......  



Dave Mustaine & James Hetfield (early Metallica Days)


As a fan of both bands, I have compiled an unbiased list comparing each of the bands release around the same time. Bearing in mind bands do not necessarily release albums in the same year, I have matched them up as best possible which sometimes means two albums either side of the other bands one album.

I have also taken what I think is the best song from each album and pitted them against each other. Funny as it may seem, what I have perceived to be their best song is not necessarily my own favourite. For instance Creeping Death is probably the best song in general from the Ride the Lightning album but my actual favourite for the album is Escape, maybe a song most people would skip over?

YEAR TO YEAR

Albums in WHITE & best song from each album in RED

 VERSUS

ROUND 1 - 1983 to 1985

             

Kill em all (1983) or Ride the Lightning (1984) VERSUS Killing is my Business (1985)
Score = *1-0

Jump in the Fire or Creeping Death VERSUS The Skull Beneath the Skin
Score = *1-0

Both Metallica albums take this round out. Both preceded the release of Megadeths debut album and set Trash
music on it's way. However, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth contributed hugely to Metallicas debut album. Four of the
ten songs on it were written by Dave himself & credited to James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich as well due to changes
 in the layout of the songs & lyrics etc. Metallicas second showing was better than the first but still with two of the
eight songs credited to Dave Mustaine. Megadeths debut album was also very good but was never going to be
in the same class as Metallicas due to half the funding for the album going up the bands noses in one form of
substance or another. One of the reasons for Dave's dismissal from Metallica. Metallica also take out the best
song from these albums with either Jump in the Fire (actually written by Dave) or Creeping Death.



ROUND 2 - 1986

             

Master of Puppets (1986) VERSUS Peace Sells (1986)
Score = * 2-0

Master of Puppets VERSUS Peace Sells
Score = 1-1 *
Whilst Peace Sells was an incredible second album and far better than Metallicas second album, unfortunately
for Megadeth, Metallica released probably one of the all time great heavy metal albums in Master of Puppets the same year which pushed Megadeth back into the Metallica shadow once again. This was my own birth into really heavy metal and every Master of Puppets song stayed imbedded in my brain. I doubt Metallica could ever beat
this album again or anyone else for that matter. Peace Sells in its own right was a cracker as well but what can
you say when comparing it to Master of Puppets ?? Sorry Dave. However Megadeth did take out the better song
from both albums. Classic bass line and a song know by most metal heads.



ROUND 3 - 1988

             

And Justice for all (1988) VERSUS So Far So Good (1988)
Score = DRAW  * 3-1 *

One VERSUS Set the World Afire
Score = * 2-1
Originally I had this round in Megadeths favour but after careful consideration, I decided overall it to be a draw. So
Far was an exceptional album with blistering guitar fret work but at the same time Justice had at least 5 brilliant
songs on it which drew it level with the 8 brilliant shorter Megadeth songs. The other four Metallica long songs
were okay but not patricianly brilliant. Justice was let down by poor drum sound and no real clear bass guitar
sound. My personal favourite was Blackened but I know overall One was the best. Megadeth had a new line up
due to the previous line up having too many problems with drugs but one that was not cured on this album either.



ROUND 4 - 1990 to 1992

             

Metallica (1991) VERSUS Rust in Peace (1990) or Countdown to Extinction (1992)
Score =3-2 *

Sad but True VERSUS Holy Wars…the Punishment Due or Sweating Bullets
Score = 2-2 *
Although Metallicas album was multi platinum, both Rust in Peace and Countdown to extinction were better
overall. They had better riffs, and songs and generally were more listenable to your normal metal head. Metallica
sold heaps of albums as it was more commercial and some of the people that would have brought the album
would have stopped there. I know people at church that own this Metallica album just for songs like Nothing Else
Matters and The Unforgiven but hate the rest as it is heavier than they are used to !! However there were a few
gems on it for the die hard fan like Sad but True. Megadeth win this round for squashing Metallicas album with two
absolutely stunning releases. Rust in Peace is classed as one of the all time greats in the same league as Master
of Puppets. This was the third line up for Megadeth and one of the best and longest running.



ROUND 5 - 1994 to 1996

             

Load (1996) VERSUS Youthanasia (1994)
Score = * 4-2

Hero of the Day VERSUS Victory
Score = * 3-2
The 1990's were a tough time for heavy metal bands. With he emergence of grunge metal and more commercial
rock, a lot of heavy metal bands really struggled. Both Metallica and Megadeth seemed to head down the more
commercial route as well and seemed to make it out the other side. Metallica had started in 1990 and continued
with the release of Load. It was a generally okay album but not one high on my favourites list as I was still into
heavier stuff and not into this commercial stuff yet. Likewise Megadeths two year previous release was 'different'.
I took me five years before I liked this album but now I love it as I am into a lot more types of heavy metal now.
Bands like Pantera replaced Metallica and Megadeth as my source of new heavy stuff. I have given Metallica this
round due to the fact it was easier to get into to listen to even though Megadeth had awesome riffs flying around.



ROUND 6 - 1997

             

Re-Load (1997) VERSUS Cryptic Writings (1997)
Score = 4-3 *

Fuel VERSUS I'll Get Even
Score = * 4-2

Re-Load was apparently the left over from Load. It sounded the same but was not really inspirational. It was just
okay. Likewise, Megadeths album was just okay at the time. I had still not got to grips with commercial heavy metal
and especially not from Megadeth who were meant to be aggressive and fast. Just as with Megadeths previous
release, I now listen to it all the time but back then .... Although I gave the best song to Metallica, Megadeths album overall was in a better class. Needless to say I did not go to see either band on their supporting album tours.



ROUND 7 - 1999 to 2004

             

St Anger (2003)  VERSUS Risk (1999) or The World Needs a Hero (2001) or The System has Failed (2004)
Score =4-4 *

Frantic VERSUS Prince of Darkness or Dread and the Fugitive Mind or Blackmail the Universe
Score = 4-3 *

To be honest, I was not going to buy St Anger as I listened to it in the store on headphones and  wondered what
the hell Metallica were doing. The snare sounded 'weird' and "what no guitar solos...?" I actually only brought it
cause of a free DVD with it which was really good to watch. Metallica had decided to video themselves playing
through the songs live in a studio.  Only Frantic I thought stood up as a song capable of being a decent length with
no solo. Megadeth on the other hand released 3 stunning albums to sandwich this incredibly disappointing album.
A lot of people hated Risk as it was very commercial and I even caught my wife listening to it who hates Megadeth
music (she is into glam metal like Poison) so I knew it was definitely commercial. BUT I liked it. It came at the end
of the nineties when we sort of got used to commercial heavy metal. It was around this time I started to enjoy
Megadeths previous two albums. It was extremely well written and technically brilliant but to a lot of Megadeth
fans, was the last straw. Still a lot more listenable than St Anger is which after a few listens gives you a bad
headache. Probably going to cause some controversy with that comment !! Megadeth then produced a great
album to return to form with The World Needs a Hero. Track after track great but the substance and drinking use
returned sending Dave back into rehab where he had a freak accident with his arm nearly ending his career.
He returned after a long recovery to release one of my favourite albums The System Has Failed. Megadeth were
back (with a new line up). As controversial as it sounds and we all know Dave likes to be controversial, he found
faith in God, got cleaned up from the drink and drugs, repaired his marriage and got healed and churned out the
best album since Countdown to Extinction from 1992.


ROUND 8 - 2007 to 2009

              

Death Magnetic (2008) VERSUS United Abominations (2007) or Endgame (2009)
Score = 4-5 *

Cyanide VERSUS A Tout le Monde or Headcrusher
Score = DRAW  * 5-4 *
Whilst Metallica returned to their old roots with some of the best songs since And Justice for All, Megadeths
helping of United Abominations seemed far superior. Dave returned to form again with blistering riffs and solos
and well written catchy songs. Again Megadeth sandwiched Metallica with two releases. Endgame whilst again
excellent, was not as good I thought as their previous release and would have drawn with Death Magnetic if it
were not for the other release a year before. Headcrusher from Endgame is a classic as is Cyanide from
Metallica. Not sure what happened to Kirks solos on Death Magnetic as they sounded raw, unfinished, slapped
together and distant. Whilst Megadeth often falls into the shadow of Metallica, Kirk Hammetts guitar work doesn't
even get close now to Dave or Chris' guitar work. Again Lars snare was weird as with most releases since
...And Justice. Megadeth only win this round for squashing Metallicas album with 2 absolutely stunning releases.


CONCLUSION

To be honest, it is pretty much a draw musically. The bands can only really be compared if you like both of the bands and are familiar with all their albums. Metallica on the whole write better individual songs like 'One', 'Master of Puppets', 'Enter Sandman' etc but do not fill whole albums with these songs. Some are average and some just seem to be there to fill the album. They generally write long songs from 6 to 8 minutes which I am a great fan of whereas Megadeth write short 3 to 4 minute songs. Megadeth tend to write whole albums full of very listenable songs with great riffs and guitar solos like 'Peace Sells', 'Holy Wars', 'Dread and the Fugitive Mind'.

Concert wise, I prefer Megadeth because I am a drummer and guitarist and when you go to a Megadeth concert, it is like watching a lesson on how to play your instruments and as Dave is a true guitar god, who better to watch. For the sheer trill and energy, you would choose Metallica even though they are not as polished as Megadeth.



THE BIG FOUR TOUR - 2010

Kerry King (Slayer) - Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) - Scott Ian (Anthrax) - James Hetfield (Metallica)

All Friends now ????


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More to come on this article and others soon .....


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 Here are a few links to other interesting places on my site at present

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