Holy Wars... The Punishment Due

"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" (also known as "Holy Wars") is a song by American thrash metal band Megadeth. Released in 1990, it is the opening track off the band's fourth studio album Rust in Peace (1990).

"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
Single by Megadeth
from the album Rust in Peace
Released23 September 1990
GenreThrash metal[1][2][3]
Songwriter(s)Dave Mustaine
Producer(s)Dave Mustaine
Megadeth singles chronology
"No More Mr. Nice Guy"
"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
"Hangar 18"
Music video
"Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" on YouTube

Music and lyrics edit

The song has an unusual structure: it opens with a fast thrash section, shifting at 2:26 after an acoustic bridge by Marty Friedman to a different, slower and heavier section called "The Punishment Due",[citation needed] interspersed by two guitar solos played by Friedman, before speeding up again with a third and final solo played during this segment by Dave Mustaine. The entire song is commonly referred to as "Holy Wars", with "The Punishment Due" referring to the heavier slower section.[citation needed]

The lyrics deal with global religious conflict, particularly in Israel and Northern Ireland. In an interview with the UK magazine Guitarist, Dave Mustaine said that he was inspired to write the song in Northern Ireland, when he discovered bootlegged Megadeth T-shirts were on sale and was dissuaded from taking action to have them removed on the basis that they were part of fundraising activities for "The Cause" (i.e. the Provisional Irish Republican Army).[4] "The Punishment Due" is based on the popular Marvel comic book character, the Punisher.[5][6]

Legacy edit

"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" is widely considered one of Megadeth's greatest songs and one of the greatest songs in metal. In 2012, Loudwire ranked the song number one on their list of the 10 greatest Megadeth songs,[7] and in 2018, Billboard ranked the song number two on their list of the 15 greatest Megadeth songs.[8] In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked the song number twenty-eight on their list of the 100 greatest heavy metal songs.[9]

A cover version of the song is playable in the band simulation game Rock Revolution. The master recording is purchasable as part of the Rust in Peace album pack on the Rock Band band simulation platform, is playable in the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock game,[10] and is available as DLC for Rocksmith 2014. The music video for "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" was filmed in August 1990 (around the time of the Gulf War in 1990). It depicts news footage of various armed conflicts, mainly from the Middle East interspliced with footage of the band playing and Mustaine engaging in a skydive.

Accolades edit

Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
2022 Louder Sound United States The Top 20 Best Megadeth Songs Ranked[11] 1
2018 Billboard United Kingdom The 15 Best Megadeth Songs: Critic’s Picks[12] 2
2023 Rolling stone United States The 100 Greatest Metal Songs[9] 28

Track listing edit

7-inch edition

  1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
  2. "Lucretia"

12-inch edition

  1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
  2. "Interview with Dave Mustaine"

12-inch edition

  1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
  2. "Lucretia"
  3. "Interview with Dave Mustaine" (edited)

CD edition

  1. "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
  2. "Lucretia"
  3. "Interview with Dave Mustaine" (edited)
  • Capitol Records DPRO-79462

Personnel edit

Charts edit

Chart (1990) Peak
Australia (ARIA Charts)[13] 138
European Hot 100 Singles (Music & Media)[14] 61
Finland (The Official Finnish Charts)[15] 10
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 12
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 24

Certifications edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[18] Gold 500,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Lawson, Dom (23 January 2019). "22 killer old school thrash songs that will instantly improve your day". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Fan Poll: 5 Greatest Thrash-Metal Songs of All Time". Revolver. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Top 10 Best Thrash Metal Songs". thetoptens.com. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  4. ^ The Realms of Deth - Megadeth Interviews - Dave the Human, Mustaine the Artist
  5. ^ The Realms of Deth - Megadeth Lyrics - Rust in Peace
  6. ^ "MEGADETH Frontman Dave Mustaine Says Song "Holy Wars" Inspired by THE PUNISHER". 5 February 2017.
  7. ^ Hartmann, Graham (13 September 2012). "10 Best Megadeth Songs". Loudwire. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  8. ^ Titus, Christa (15 March 2018). "The 15 Best Megadeth Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b "The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  10. ^ McElroy, Griffin. "Full Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock track list revealed".
  11. ^ Stewart-Panko, Kevin (14 July 2022). "The top 20 best Megadeth songs ranked". Louder Sound. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  12. ^ Titus, Christina. "The 15 Best Megadeth Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Bubbling Down Under 5 November 1990". www.bubblingdownunder.com. 5 November 2021. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 6 October 1990. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  15. ^ Pennanen, Timo. Sisältää hitin: levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Otava Publishing Company Ltd, 2003. ISBN 951-1-21053-X
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Megadeth". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Megadeth: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "American single certifications – Megadeth – Holy Wars... The Punishment Due". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 24 August 2022.

External links edit