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Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, personal relationships and religion.
In 1985, Megadeth released its debut album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, on the independent record label Combat Records, to moderate success. It caught the attention of bigger labels, which led to Megadeth signing with Capitol Records. Their first major-label album, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, was released in 1986 and was a major hit with the underground metal scene. Substance abuse and personal disputes brought Megadeth negative publicity during this period.
After the lineup stabilized, Megadeth released a number of platinum-selling albums, including Rust in Peace (1990) and Countdown to Extinction (1992). These albums, along with worldwide tours, brought them public recognition. The band temporarily disbanded in 2002 when Mustaine suffered an arm injury and re-established in 2004 without bassist Ellefson, who had taken legal action against Mustaine. Ellefson settled out of court and rejoined in 2010. Megadeth has hosted its own music festival, Gigantour, several times since July 2005.
Megadeth has sold 38 million records worldwide, earned platinum certification in the United States for six of its fifteen studio albums, and received twelve Grammy nominations. Megadeth won its first Grammy Award in 2017 for the song "Dystopia" in the Best Metal Performance category. The band's mascot, Vic Rattlehead, regularly appears on album artwork and live shows. The group has drawn controversy for its music and lyrics, including album bans and canceled concerts; MTV refused to play two of the band's music videos that the network considered to condone suicide.
On September 25, 2018, Megadeth announced that they had launched its first-ever cruise called MegaCruise, which was set to take place in the Pacific Ocean in 2019. Two weeks later, it was announced that MegaCruise was due to sail on October 13, 2019 from Los Angeles and hit ports of San Diego and Ensenada before returning on October 18, and would include performances by heavy metal acts such as Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, Corrosion of Conformity, Queensrÿche, Armored Saint, Metal Church, Suicidal Tendencies, DragonForce, Doro, John 5, Sacred Reich, Death Angel and Toothgrinder. Mustaine was not present at MegaCruise, due to his illness, nor did Megadeth perform at the event.
On November 6, 2018, Mustaine shared a video on his Instagram teasing a track from the band's sixteenth album, which was originally set for release in 2019. Megadeth announced on May 10, 2019 that they had entered a studio in Franklin, Tennessee to begin pre-production of the album, once again teaming up with Dystopia co-producer Chris Rakestraw.
On June 17, 2019, it was announced that several of Megadeth's shows of that year (with the exception of MegaCruise) would be cancelled due to Mustaine being diagnosed with throat cancer; of all the cancelled dates, the band was supposed to support Ozzy Osbourne on the North American leg of the latter's No More Tours II, which had been postponed from the summer of 2019 to the next year, and Megadeth was replaced by Marilyn Manson. Despite Mustaine's illness, the band vowed to continue working on their new album.
On July 17, 2019, Megadeth announced their partnership with Gimme Radio and Richard Childress Racing on the No. 2 Gimme Radio Chevrolet Camaro, to be driven by Xfinity Series driver Tyler Reddick at the New Hampshire 200 on July 20. On August 21, 2019, it was announced that Megadeth would embark on their first tour since Mustaine's illness in January and February 2020, supporting Five Finger Death Punch on the latter's European tour.
Traditional heavy metal bands such as UFO, Black Sabbath, Budgie, new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) bands such as Judas Priest, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, and Venom, and punk rock bands such as the Sex Pistols and Ramones had a significant influence on Megadeth's sound. Hard rock bands such as AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Scorpions were also influential on the group's guitar style. Although the music has roots in punk, university professor Jason Bivins wrote that Megadeth followed the basic blueprint of Motörhead and Iron Maiden. He described the style as a mix of "the instrumental virtuosity of the NWOBHM with the speed and aggression of hardcore punk", while also drawing lyrical inspiration from the horror-obsessed punk band Misfits. Mustaine has also listed albums by the Beatles and David Bowie as recordings that influenced him.
Mustaine is the band's primary songwriter. He develops songs starting with a particular riff that, with modifications, becomes the central part of the song. He has said that song fragments are composed separately, and then the band makes a compact structure from them. Drummer Shawn Drover stated that Mustaine had saved many riffs over the years and that some recent material is based on those demo recordings. Ellefson stated that the band constantly creates new material, and that making a recording begins with exchanging ideas after which the band enters the studio and discusses the concept, direction, artwork, and song titles. The lyrics are usually written after the music is arranged. Discussing the band's lyrics, Mustaine said that many of the themes are derived from literature, such as the novels of George Orwell.
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