Megadeth: Peace sells, but who's buying?
11/03/11 || InquisitorGeneralis
For all of his bullshit and bravado, Dave Mustaine will always have “Peace Sells…” to shove in the face of all the haters out there. This is a landmark album and pretty much opened the door for progressive, technical thrash. Megadeth’s debut album was good, but this is the record that established them as a viable member of “The Big Four” along with Slayer, Anthrax, and a little band called Metallica. “Peace Sells, but Who’s Buying” is also the record that proved Mustaine and Megadeth were every bit as good as the band that kicked his ass out three years earlier. He’s outspoken, he’s a Christian, and he’s getting a bit right-wing but Dave Mustaine has produced some great metal over the years and “Peace Sells…” is only a few short steps behind his magnum opus “Rust in Peace” at the top of the Megadeth pyramid. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these guys are members of the Big Four for a reason; Megadeth is one of the best and most successful thrash metal bands ever.
8.5. The first four songs on here are back to back to back to back winners and if every track on here was that level this category would be getting a 10. “Wake up dead” is one of the most distinct thrash songs ever released. “The conjuring” features an epic breakdown and is one of the band’s most underrated masterpieces. “Devil’s island” is more of a standard thrasher but still highly enjoyable and the chorus is catchy as fuck. Who doesn’t love a song about Papillion?
Things lose a bit of steam on the second half though, but Class6(66) quality is still maintained, especially on “Good mourning/Black Friday”, a pretty evil track about a serial killer that features an interesting song structure and is highly entertaining; more on that song later in the lyrics section. “Bad omen” and the cover “I ain’t superstitious” are not bad but do not really stand out. Things end on a good note with another hectic thrasher, “My last words”. Overall, no songs in anyway suck. Period. There are lots of frenetic time changes and erratic song structures that go way beyond what the other Big Four thrash bands were doing at the same time.
8. My only complaint with the production on “My Penis Smells, but Who’s Going to Suck it?” is the slightly muffled bass drum sound. Other than that, things are pretty damn good, especially when compared to other records from the same time period. The vocals and higher-pitched guitar sections sometimes sound a bit off, but nothing really affects the feel and impact of the songs.
9.5 Dave Mustaine is one of the best metal guitar players. There, I said it. He can come up with memorable and still technical riffs as well as solo with the best. “Wake up dead” is definitely put first on the album to immediately show the listener that Dave is not fucking around in the guitar department on “Peace Sells…” as he or she is pounded by one solo and riff after the next. I love the cheesetastic riff that opens “The conjuring”. The rest of the guitar lines in the song are tits too. The solo that finished out the title track is pretty straightforward but still awesome; an ace performance all around from Dave and his sidekick for this go ‘round, Chris Poland. Methinks that Dave’s best partner over the years has been Marty “Big in Japan” Friedman, but Poland certainly does a fine job here.
8. Some are turned off by Mustaine’s high-pitched sneer. I am not. It’s a little rough to listen to live these days, but back in ’86 Mustang Sally’s vocals were on point. I cannot imagine any other voice belting out “Peace sells…” or “Devil’s island”. Dave wrote this shit, he sings this shit. It makes sense to me.
9. The bass line that kicks off the title track is probably the most famous one in the history of metal with Steve Harris’ from “Run to the hills” and Geezer’s from “Heaven and hell” not too far behind. It is not shocking that Dave E’s recent return to Megadeth has reignited the band; as much as the other Dave soaks up the credit Ellefson’s playing and influence was a noticeable part of the band’s sound during the glory run of the 80’s and early 90’s. On “Queefs Smell…” he does his thing with gusto.
8. Gar Samuelson is just one of the thousands of drummers who have played in Megadeth. He is also one of the better ones. Nick Menza is the best, but “Wake up dead” and “The conjuring” show that Gar was no slouch. While Gar, and Megadeth in general, never hits the speed and intensity of the Lombardos of the world, his playing is still legit with plenty of cool fills and time changes (again, see “Wake up dead”.) This is definitely the best drum performance on a Megadeth record until “Rust in Peace”. Gar is good but in the Megadeth drumming bible, Menza be thy name.
7. Megadeth’s metallic looking, copper logo is not the most evil or amazing one ever but it has remained constant and is recognizable. I give credit for continuity, but the lack of dripping blood, inverted crosses, and hung cadavers lowers its metal street cred a tad. Especially when the name of the band is Megadeth.
10. This is a classic album cover; iconic mascot Vic Rattlehead stands before the incinerated United Nations. It relates to the lyrical themes of the album perfectly. Think about it, the United Nations has been selling peace for 66(6) years and there are tons and tons of crazy motherfuckers that ain’t buying it. Hello Robert Mugabe, how are you? As I am writing this, the entire Middle East seems to be going up in smoke so it looks like “Peace Sells…” is just as relevant now as it was a quarter of a century ago.
Let the motherfucker burn.
N/A. Yet another long gone booklet from my old CD collection. Such is life.
Overall and Ending Rant
Rumors are swirling that Megadeth may do a tour for this record late this year, modeled after the success of the run they did for “Rust in Peace”. I am sure lots and lots of people would bitch and spill Doritos on their ergonomic keyboards while typing away furiously on metal chat forums, but I would be all for it and would love the chance to hear “The Conjuring” or “Devil’s island” live. “Rust in Peace” is the best Megadeth record, and also my favorite. “Peace Sells…” comes in right behind it (owch) in both categories. It is an awesome, career-boosting record that firmly established Dave Mustainadeth as one of the leading thrash bands. A title they still hold on to today; a fact that you probably love to hate.
- Released: 1986
- label: Capitol
- Website: www.megadeth.com
- Dave Mustaine: vocals, guitars
- Chris Poland: guitars
- David Ellefson: bass, backing vocals
- Gar Samuelson: drums
- 01. Wake Up Dead
- 02. The Conjuring
- 03. Peace Sells
- 04. Devil’s Island
- 05. Good Mourning / Black Friday
- 06. Bad Omen
- 07. I Ain’t Superstitious
- 08. My Last Words