In the mid-nineties, Dave Mustaine, of Megadeth fame, decided to embark on a side project. To this end, he recruited Lee Ving, of the punk band Fear, along with bassist Kelly Lemieux and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who would later go on to work with Megadeth. Mustaine christened this side-project MD. 45, MD being the initials Mustaine, Dave. and 45 being representative of the roman numeral VL (or so they thought) and also the Initials of Lee Ving.
"The Craving" the only full length album spawned by the project, is a very interesting listen. Comprising of a refreshingly different blend of punk-rock and metal, which create something which is catchy, but extremely crunchy, energetic and thick-sounding. It's definitely interesting to hear Mustaine doing something a little different, and certainly less thrashy, than his usual material, and there are a variety of styles involved. Songs like "Designer Behaviour" go down an overtly punk road, while others, like "Day the Music Died" go for a much more metal style, sounding much more Megadeth-like than many of the other songs. In terms of sheer variety, it's quite clear that being around different musicians, and a different band had combined very interestingly with his music-writing skills, and it's clear that he explored very different avenues on the album. Partly, this is the reason I chose to investigate the original, and not the remastered edition of the album. On the remaster, Ving's vocals are replaced by Dave's. The original is just that little bit more unlike Megadeth, which helps when it comes to looking at it of it's own worth.
The production is also refreshing - a bit rough around the edges, giving it a charm, and making is a nice change from the highly-polished, relatively mainstream Juggernaut that Megadeth was at the time - the album is very much a departure from Megadeth, and I think that's what's so enjoyable about it, like reading a different newspaper every now and again, just for a change. Everything's just a little bit different, and very pleasingly so. If I hadn't known what MD. 45 was, and It had just come on at random, I certainly wouldn't have guessed that Dave Mustaine was behind the project, and I find that a pleasing fact, a side-project which is truly so, and not just a collection of the same kind of stuff with different people, which so many side projects end up being.
While being far from being essential, I'd certainly give the album a listen if you're into Megadeth, and want to hear more of what Mustaine can do. It's an album I've put off getting ahold of for quite some time, and it's definitely a solid release.
I give "The Craving" a 7/10.
MD. 45 on Metal Archives