Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Song of the Day: Megadeth, "Hangar 18"

Someday, I'll devote an entire blog to Megadeth.

Everything about "Hangar 18" is spectacular, from its Area 51-inspired lyrics and video to Dave Mustaine's deadly arpeggios in the first movement. But let's get real--"Hangar 18" is all about the solos in the second movement. We've all heard metal solos, and unless you went to Berklee or Jacobs, you never put on a song just to hear somebody shred. Unless you're listening to "Eruption" or "Hangar 18."

"Hangar 18" thrashes out with an electric "Dueling Banjos" of sorts, two metal virtuosos facing off in a improvisational war. You don't have to play guitar to tell who's who. Every one of Mustaine's lightning blues scales is answered by one of Friedman's thunderous sweep picks, and vice versa. The rhythm section takes the reigns between solos with that nifty drum-based progression (known by anyone who's seen "Hangar 18" live as the "Me-ga-deth" part.) I'd put Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman's fireworks here up against anything mentioned in David Fricke's 100 Greatest Guitarists--a list which neither Mustaine nor Friedman made, inexplicably.

The kind of talent, chemistry and individuality expressed on the "Hangar 18" solos is not something you hear much of in metal these days. As Cosmo Lee of Invisible Oranges once wrote of this song, "Pairs like this are why individual solo credits in liner notes were invented." It didn't last, of course, and watching Mustaine belittle Friedman in interviews these days reminds me of Axl vs. Slash. No matter how much Mustaine talks down Friedman and talks up the new guy who plays Friedman's solos note for note, he'll never convince us that Megadeth is better off without him.

No comments: