MARTY FRIEDMAN Reflects on MEGADETH’s Risk: “We Gave It Our All”

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Recall Megadeth‘s Risk? If you seek out rankings of Megadeth‘s discography today, you are likely to discover it residing at the lowest tier of those compilations. Even though Risk entered the Billboard chart at No. 16 in 1999 (and attained gold certification by selling half a million units in the United States), it left many die-hard fans disenchanted due to the band’s departure from their heavy/thrash metal origins. The sound had been polished and slowed down for mainstream appeal over the years, making Megadeth come across as a radio-friendly outfit with hints of 70’s AOR influences and electronic nuances.

If you belonged to the camp that was disappointed with the album and refrained from revisiting it, know that you are not the only one. During a recent conversation with journalists Gustavo Maiato and Mateus Ribeiro, former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman pondered on the record – a quarter of a century later – and admitted that he had not ventured back to it since that time.

“I haven’t given it another listen since then. To be honest, taking a risk, I don’t think it was that much of a gamble. I distinctly recall that we poured our hearts into it,” Friedman shared. “It truly embodies where we were collectively as a band during that particular era. Each album is essentially a snapshot in time. It’s akin to a yearbook from your school or college days. You can’t retrospectively label it as ‘bad’ or ‘unintentional’ because it’s a product of its environment and circumstance. At that moment, we stood behind it and gave it our all. This sentiment holds true for every album.”

Friedman also revisited Risk eight years back in a chat with SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, where he remarked: “Well, I believe I articulated my thoughts on that matter adequately at that moment in time. Since then, the subject hardly crosses my mind, let alone shapes a coherent response. My attention is primarily focused on the present, rather than dwelling on the past.”

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Further elaborating, he added, “I am confident that during the making of that record, every individual involved gave their utmost effort – this principle remains unchanged. It is a philosophy that underpinned all our previous records, continues to influence our ongoing work, and guides my present endeavors. When engrossed in a project, you strive to deliver the very best. Public opinion at the release moment captures the essence of that time; everyone poured their hearts into it with unwavering dedication.”

Nevertheless, Dave Mustaine expressed a starkly different perspective on the album six years ago, insinuating that Friedman was chiefly responsible for spearheading the band’s sonic transition. During an interview with SiriusXM‘s Trunk Nation LA Invasion: Live From The Rainbow Bar & Grill, Mustaine conveyed, “We continued to decelerate and veer off course. Had the record been billed as The Dave Mustaine Project instead of Megadeth, it might have resonated better. Fans desired an authentic Megadeth offering. They weren’t keen on witnessing Dave contort to accommodate Marty Friedman‘s preferences, as Marty wished to emulate acts like Dishwalla.”

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