Megadeth, Sonisphere UK Main Stage, July 8 2011

If there was ever a determined, competitive feel amongst the Big Four at Sonisphere then this was when the real battle began.  It was Megadeth’s move to man the canons of sonic retaliation after Anthrax’s decent 45-minute warmer.

If you’re a big fan of the Californian four-piece, you might have been left wondering why they would appear before Slayer.  But Mustaine’s crew were unaffected, and an earlier showing didn’t atmospherically detract from their performance in any way. 

The unmistakeable crisp tom-drum build up for Trust was introduced by Shawn Drover  and Chris Broderick, Dave Ellefson and Mustaine each individually made their way into the limelight of centre-stage, pulverising into the trademark song in climactic, spine-shivering tenacity.  Face contorted with nasal, vocal rasp, Mustaine’s voice sounded great – at its peak in fact – proving there are many prosperous years yet to come.

Founding Megadeth in 1983, it’s hardly surprising that Ellefson and Mustaine are masters of their instruments, and their alternating work on guitar reveals their mature understanding of one another.  Whether it was double-necked Dean in hand or otherwise, Mustaine’s shredding was on form.

Much like Anthrax, they also took the opportunity to air a new hit, but went one further in announcing new album title – TH1RT3EN, but only after a rendition of Posion Was The Cure.  Looking at their future on the strength of Public Enemy No 1, Megadeth have plenty to deliver – especially considering just how tight the fresh track was on the day.

While reiterating the heady chorus of Peace Sells… band mascot Vic Rattlehead showed his face on stage to much appraisal, before the finale was wrapped up by arguably one of Megadeth’s most popular tracks of all time from the classic Rust In Peace album – Holy Wars…The Punishment Due.

This day steeped in history was progressively coming to fruition – the game was on, and Megadeth had persisted in extending Knebworth’s thrashing adrenaline with a nicely selected set.

Calum Robson