David Ellefson Recalls When Thrash Metal Reached Its Peak With Metallica’s ‘The Black Album’

In an interview with No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson talked about the 1990s music scene and shared his opinions on how Metallica changed the course of thrash metal with the release of ‘The Black Album.’

The iconic heavy metal band Megadeth was formed by Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson back in 1983. The band, which has a sound featuring complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, released their first album, ‘Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!,’ in 1985, yet it only achieved moderate success. Megadeth’s first major success was gained with the release of their second studio album, ‘Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?.’

In a recent conversation he joined, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson looked back to the rise of thrash metal music with the release of some iconic albums from bands like Metallica. During the conversation, Ellefson mentioned Metallica’s iconic self-titled album, also known as ‘The Black Album,’ and Queensryche’s ‘Empire’ record should be considered as the albums that made thrash metal reached its peak. David also stated that when Metallica released ‘The Black Album,’ they actually moved to pass Megadeth.

As you may recall, the thrash metal legend Metallica released their fifth studio album named ‘Metallica’ on August 12, 1991. ‘The Black Album’ included the best-known songs of the band, such as ‘Enter Sandman,’ ‘The Unforgiven,’ ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ and ‘Sad but True.’ It became Metallica’s best-selling album and the band’s first album to top the album charts.

Here is what David Ellefson stated about Metallica passing Megadeth with the release of their self-titled album:

“I credit Ron; he had good vision, he knew how to sell the band, he worked with Capitol Records, got the money, got the right people, and helped work with the vision. And management is a big part of that, that just leaves musicians to their own devices. Ron was really helping us, again, get clean, get the record. And then the ‘Countdown to Extinction’ record in ’92.

And thrash metal reached its peak – Metallica has moved to pass us with their ‘Black Album,’ Queensryche’s ‘Empire’ record was huge… We knew that Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth are the three bands left – there were Testament and all that of course, Testament was doing well.”

Ellefson continued:

“But we just felt in our band, especially with Marty’s capabilities and the cleverness of Dave’s writing, just all that we had, everybody was contributing, writing, it just felt we have got to go to the next level – ‘We can do this.’

It wasn’t a desire to go to the next level and be bigger and make more money, it was like – we can change our lives, we can change the scene, we can move this, we can really move the needle and take the metalheads with us, and yet expand the sound of the band.

And we did with ‘Countdown,’ we definitely hit it for sure. Of course, ‘Youthanasia’ moved it a little further. And that was a more challenging campaign because I think we made a great record and the right record, but Seattle had come in and changed the world with Pearl Jam.”

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