Megadeth is an American thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 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 song lyrics.
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In 1985, the band released its debut album 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.