I should begin this post with a confession of sorts; I really don’t care for Megadeth. Don’t get me wrong, they make relatively good music, and I’d love to see them live if only to say I’ve seen the entire ‘Big Four of Thrash Metal’, but they’ve never interested me as much as their counterparts Slayer, Anthrax, and of course, Metallica. Regardless of this, ‘Hangar 18’ has managed to work its way into my mind and cement itself as a brilliant song.
Megadeath was formed by guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983 following his dismissal from Metallica for alcohol abuse. This story has always amazed me considering that Mustaine was kicked out of one of the most influential metal groups of all time prior to the release of their debut record, only to go out and form his own band, who are frequently named alongside Metallica in terms of fame within their genre. There aren’t too many people who are able to break into the music industry after having their big chance snatched away from them.
Megadeth’s fourth album, Rust In Peace, was released in 1990 and began to bring the band to the attention of the mainstream media and help make a name for themselves within the metal community. With ‘Hangar 18’, the group made a song that entered the annals of music history for a variety of reasons. One reason, was of course the track’s content, which explored themes of aliens, and the infamous Hangar 18 in Dayton, Ohio, supposedly the place that an alien was brought to after the infamous supposed flying saucer crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
Another reason the song is well known is for the fact that despite it’s five-minute runtime, it contains only two verses, one chorus sung twice, and a grand total of eleven guitar solos. Sure, some may criticise this track for effectively being naught but metalheads showing off their guitar wankery, while others would contend that “it’s not that any guitar solos, some are part of the same guitar solo.” Regardless, this track, despite being relatively memorable lyrics-wise despite not saying much, is a perfect testament to the music that Megadeth create. They’re able to not only write a brilliant metal song, but they were so creative at the time that they didn’t stop with just one solo, allowing the remaining ten to be used in ten different songs. No, they decided that one solo isn’t enough, and this song needs more of them. That’s pretty courageous, to be honest.