Megadeth is an American trash 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 lyrics.
In 1985, the band released its debut album, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!, 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.
Sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris wrote that the mainstream success of Megadeth was one of the reasons for the expansion of extreme metal to countries where it had previously been unknown. The band’s sound and album artwork influenced a number of thrash metal bands in the 21st century,including Toxic Holocaust and Warbringer. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Megadeth has sold 9.2 million copies of its albums in the United States between 1991 and 2014.