Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. The group was formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson,
shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. A pioneer of the
American thrash metal scene, the band is credited as one of the genre's
"big four" with Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer, responsible for thrash
metal's development and popularization. Megadeth plays in a technical
style, featuring fast rhythm sections and complex arrangements; themes
of death, war, politics and religion are prominent in the group's
In 1985, the band released its debut album on the independent label
Combat Records. The album's moderate commercial success 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 influenced the underground metal
scene. Despite its prominence in thrash metal, frequent disputes between
its members and substance abuse issues brought Megadeth negative
publicity during this period.
After the lineup stabilized, the band released a number of
platinum-selling albums, including Rust in Peace (1990) and Countdown to
Extinction (1992). These albums, along with touring worldwide, helped
bring public recognition to Megadeth. 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 with Mustaine out of court and rejoined the group in
2010. Megadeth has hosted its own music festival, Gigantour, several
times since mid-2005.
As of 2014, Megadeth has sold 50 million records worldwide, earned
platinum certification in the United States for five of its fourteen
studio albums, and received eleven Grammy nominations. The band's
mascot, Vic Rattlehead, regularly appears on album artwork and, since
2010, in live shows. The group has experienced controversy over its
musical approach and lyrics, including canceled concerts and album bans.
MTV has refused to play two of the band's videos that the network
considered to condone suicide.