After stabilizing their lineup, Megadeth released a number of platinum-selling albums, including Countdown to Extinction, certified double platinum. This album, along with touring worldwide, would aid in bringing Megadeth to public recognition. In 2002, Megadeth was temporarily disbanded because of Mustaine's arm injury, but the band re-established in 2004, performing without bassist David Ellefson because he had taken legal action against Mustaine. Ellefson would rejoin the group in 2010, and has been featured on all recordings since. In the summer of 2005, Megadeth launched its own music festival, Gigantour, which has been hosted several times over the years.
Megadeth is known for its distinctive, technical instrumental style that often features fast rhythm sections and complex arrangements; their songs convey gloomy lyrical themes including death, war, politics, and religion. The group has experienced some controversy because of its musical approach and lyricism, including cancelled concerts and album bans. MTV has refused to play two of the band's videos because the network considered them as condoning suicide.
A pioneer of the American thrash metal movement, the band is credited as one of the genre's "big four" along with Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer, who were responsible for thrash metal's creation, development and popularization. Since its inception, Megadeth has released fourteen studio albums, with six of them being certified platinum in the United States. To date, Megadeth has sold 50 million records worldwide and received eleven Grammy nominations, and ranks as one of the most successful American heavy metal bands.
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