Friday, 24 August 2012

CD Review: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? by Megadeth (1986)


Megadeth's second studio album, Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? maintains the breakneck speed and maniacal intensity established by the debut Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! With the band now sounding tighter and more professional, Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? efficiently presents its eight solid tracks, a set that contains no disappointments.

Against the backdrop of a record label change, out of control substance abuse, and classic cover art introducing the redesigned rivethead and a destroyed United Nations building, Mustaine's partnership with Chris Poland blossoms, the shredding and solos a prominent feature throughout the album. David Ellefson's bass and Gar Samuelson's drums never waver from delivering a sustained rabid intensity to underpin the mayhem. This was to be the final album for Poland and Samuelson, prior to the former's one shot return for 2004's The System Has Failed.

Album opener Wake Up Dead takes its place up there among the ranks of the best heavy metal tunes ever recorded. With just enough smattering of lyrics to add zing to the overall instrumental magic, Mustaine finds the sweet spot of inspiration, packing into Wake Up Dead the essence of metal: enough voltage to compete with lightning; controlled speed to slice through history; and a couple of killer signature changes, the last one launching Wake Up Dead onto the twisted industrial metallic dance floor with a dangerously contagious bouncy riff. But the heart of the track is one full minute of embroidered chugging guitar, torque and horsepower coming to obliterate thick slabs of concrete with supreme beauty. There have been other epic metal album openers, but few as good as this.

Semi-title track Peace Sells snags a threatening hook and works it to a fast forward fury, Mustaine's vocals descending into a frenzied anarchy, while the final track, appropriately titled My Last Words, is the most lyrical selection while also managing to deliver the beefiest construction.

The rest of the album is consistent if unspectacular, five more thrash standards, never lacking in energy and purpose but just slightly misplacing the imagination.

Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? is one of the thrashiest of thrash albums from the genre's formative years, an uncompromising record, barreling down the highway out of control and with a massive snarl on its face.


Band:

Dave Mustaine - Vocals, Guitars
Chris Poland - Guitars
David Ellefson - Bass
Gar Samuelson - Drums


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Wake Up Dead - 10
2. The Conjuring - 7
3. Peace Sells - 9
4. Devils Island - 7
5. Good Mourning / Black Friday - 7
6. Bad Omen - 7
7. I Ain't Superstitious - 7
8. My Last Words - 8

Average: 7.75

Produced by Dave Mustaine and Randy Burns.
Engineered by Casey McMackin and Randy Burns.
Mixed by Paul Lani.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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