Book Review: Mustaine – A Life in Metal

The Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine is quite an interesting character and his life has always been surrounded by controversies. The Megadeth fans too are well known for their curiousness and this book ‘Mustaine – A Life in Metal’ clears all their weird doubts. The autobiography is pleasant to read and indeed has all the heavy ingredients just like that of trademark Megadeth songs.

Dave Mustaine is a complex character. No great revelation you say? It isn’t. However, the Megadeth guitarist/vocalist/mastermind’s autobiography reveals as much, while adding further layers.

Many will primarily be seeking juicy tales from his brief, yet influential tenure during Metallica’s formative years – and likely won’t be disappointed. The insights into the key personalities of the gestating, oft-incestuous (in more ways than one) 80s thrash metal scene are page-turners. Additional details regarding his influences and progression as a guitarist, as well as the sonic development of thrash would have been welcome though. What is ultimately most fascinating is how, for all his demons (drugs, alcohol, women – all of which are documented in detail, albeit less vividly than Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt) Mustaine’s intense determination has driven him to sell more than 20 million albums. This was largely motivated by desire to top Metallica’s commercial success. You almost feel sympathy when he relates his inability to achieve said goal, but ultimately are inclined to side with the, “but look what you have achieved on your own” mindset. Particularly noteworthy is learning the basis for Megadeth’s late 90s flirtations with pop producers and hit singles – and the subsequent alienation of many fans. The only other significant downfall is inadequate detail about the recording of classic albums like 1990’s Rust In Peace.

The injury which nearly cost him the ability to play guitar – and subsequent conversion to Christianity – are covered, but not pushed too hard. Mustaine – A Life In Metal will likely polarize folks as much as the man himself does, but he hasn’t shirked from revealing the ebbing and flowing nature of life. There’s a few laughs littered throughout too

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