In 1990, Megadeth would put out the massive behemoth of an album, Rust in Peace. The group’s subsequent offerings, beginning with Countdown to Extinction in 1992, may have proven the laws of diminishing returns was a true concept, but their catalog was still better than what most other thrash bands were doing at the time. Then, on August 31st, 1999, the band threw a curveball and released their most controversial and fan-derided record, Risk.
The aptly-titled Risk was a experimental album for Megadeth. Instead of a straightforward metal release, this album was a hodge-podge of sounds that permeated the hard rock landscape of the 1990’s that would not normally be found on a Megadeth album. “It was definitely a risk for sure,” David Ellefson tells Alternative Nation.
Fans accused Megadeth on cashing in on the rock music trends of the late 90’s. One example is the song “Crush Em”, which has industrial elements. This song featured as the theme song to the Van Damme film Universal Soldier: The Return.
Then we have the track “Insomnia”, which is the band’s attempt at atmosphere, while “The Doctor is Calling” finds comparisons to Alice in Chains and “Breadline” screams late 90’s cheese in the same vein as bands like 3 Doors Down. “I’ll Be There” is a very soft ballad, probably the softest the band has ever done. Just about every song on this album is slow with no payoff, while Dave Mustaine seems bored.
Despite these comparisons to their contemporaries, Ellefson tells us in retrospect that the band tried to distance itself from such genres as post-grunge and nu metal. “I remember at the time, a lot of these nu-metal bands like Disturbed and Godsmack were coming out and we wanted to do something way different.”
Megadeth would bounce back in the mid 2000’s with albums like United Abominations and Endgame, only to put out an equally derided record in 2013 known as Supercollider. Sixteen years later, Ellefson looks back on the record rather fondly, even if the record wasn’t well received by the metal fanbase.
“Looking back at it, I feel if we had more time to work on it, it would have been a better record,” Ellefson tells us. “I remember spinning it a little while ago and thinking this isn’t so bad of a record. It might not be one of our best records, but I feel it has some good material on it.”