Nick Menza's shocking death stopped a stunning metal supergroup
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The world of heavy metal was reduced to shock in late May with the tragic passing of ex-Megadeth drummer Nick Menza.
Nick Menza - FacebookMegadeth continues to be one of the brightest bands to emerge from the Bay Area thrash scene of the 1980s; an era which also gave birth to – alongside the likes of Metallica, Exodus and Testament – metal veterans Death Angel. So when interviewing the band’s guitarist and founding member Rob Cavestany, it seemed only natural to ask him to say a few words about the recently lost Menza: his impact, his skill and his legacy. No-one will anticipate his response. “Rust in Peace is a huge album,” Rob begins, discussing the pioneering Megadeth record with which Menza made his debut in 1990. “For me, that’s definitely the Megadeth album that hits home. In the ‘80s, there was the huge rivalry between Megadeth and Metallica. With us being in the Bay Area, we had an allegiance to Metallica: we were friends with them, [guitarist] Kirk Hammett produced our Kill as One demo, so we were definitely taking sides with Metallica. And because of that, it affects the way that you listen to someone’s music sometimes. So I didn’t fully accept Megadeth because of these juvenile feelings that I had at the time. “And the thing is that during the course of [Death Angel’s seventh album] The Dream Calls for Blood, it was [producer] Jason Suecof that really introduced me to Rust in Peace. That’s his bible, his best thrash album. “And he just couldn’t believe that I didn’t worship that album like I did the Metallica albums. He made me re-listen to it and discover the insane musicianship and killer songs that were on that album. It did do so for me, in fact it really influenced my guitar playing and took it to another level. So I really have to give credit to Jason for reintroducing me and opening my eyes to that era of Megadeth.” But Rob’s connection with Menza was about to extend far beyond just being a fan of his work. “This is actually the first time I’m going to tell this story in public whatsoever: while we were about to go into the studio to record [Death Angel’s brand new album] The Evil Divide – somewhere around September/October – Nick Menza contacted me personally. And I’d never known him personally before. “He contacted me about doing a project: he and [ex-Megadeth guitarist] Chris Poland wanted to do a project with me and they wanted to write with me. I was just blown away, I was shocked, I was like ‘Holy shit!’
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