Megadeth: Nick Menza (background vocals); Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Friedman.
Personnel: Dave Mustaine (vocals, guitar); Marty Friedman (guitar, acoustic guitar, background vocals); David Ellefson (bass guitar, background vocals); Nick Menza (drums).
Audio Mixers: Dave Mustaine; Jeff Balding; Ralph Patlan.
Liner Note Author: Dave Mustaine.
Recording information: The Castle, Franklin, TN; The Tracking Room, Nashville, TN.
Editors: Lance Dean; Scott Harrison; Keith Schreiner.
Illustrator: Hugh Syme.
Photographers: Annamaria DiSanto; Dimo Safari; Neil Zlozower.
While Metallica was busy climbing to the top of the thrash-metal heap, Dave Mustaine and Megadeth were quietly carving out a niche for themselves, distinguished by intelligent songwriting and a progressive approach that avoids erratic genre-jumping. Mustaine's breadth of song subjects continues to expand on CRYPTIC WRITINGS, with topics ranging from stalkers ("I'll Get Even") and drug addiction ("Use The Man") to Armageddon wrapped in a cloak of punk anarchy ("The Disintegrators")
Some of CRYPTIC WRITINGS' cooler touches include the electric sitar on "A Secret Place" and the acoustic guitar, mellotron and synths on the multi-part opening track "Trust". Throughout the album, guitarist Marty Friedman displays the exponential growth his playing has undergone since his days with Cacophany. His impressive sense of rhythm comes to the fore on "Almost Honest" and "Have Cool, Will Travel."
Rolling Stone (8/7/97, p.64) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...a snarling brew of nasal yowls, crunchy riffs and speed-of-light guitar solos that would paralyze Yngwie Malmsteen....Megadeth wrap their bundles of spite with enough melody to keep the grooves memorable..."