Just to be clear, guys. I don’t hate Megadeth. Never did. I hate the new ALBUM, I’ll admit that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t check out the next one in hopes it erases this one from my memory. So, now that we got that out of the way, I thought it would be fun to revisit my favorite Megadeth album, and one of my all-time favorite thrash albums, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?
Again, I owe this one to my buddy Joe, who brought it over in freshman year of high school 1987. As soon as he dropped the needle I was riveted! “Wake Up Dead” with its drum intro and driving rhythm had me raising the volume 10 seconds in, and this song still has one of the coolest bridge riffs ever made in the history of thrash metal. I still love the “YOU DIE!”s at the end, too. “The Conjuring” is probably one of the best songs Dave Mustaine has ever written, and it pisses me off they never play it live. No one has written anything like this before, or since, and it is the perfect way to come out of “Dead”, and into “Peace Sells”, Megadeth’s real introduction to the MTV viewers out there. It is all nasty attitude and fire, and Dave Ellefson’s signature bass intro is instantly recognizable in every corner of the world, bet on it.
The ominous beginning of “Devil’s Island” shows a bit of DIO-era Black Sabbath before it heads off to the races, the riffs cutting the musical waters like a great white’s dorsal fin, and the solos the soundtrack to its teeth separating flesh from bone. Both Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland go for broke on this one, that’s for sure. Man, bands back then sure knew how to close out side one of an album, huh?
Now we come to my absolute favorite Megadeth song…period. “Good Mourning/Black Friday” is perfect in every way. It starts off real quiet, then builds, and builds, and builds into an unstoppable force anchored by the late Gar Samuelson, who smashes everything in his path, stops on a dime, and then does it AGAIN! “Bad Omen” also showcases the greatness of this line-up as everyone plays his parts just right, and it comes together as one of the fastest, heaviest, and ballsiest tracks they’ve every recorded.
“I Ain’t Superstitious” was really an unusual song for a band like Megadeth to cover, but it turned out surprisingly well, which is another testament to how well these guys played together. And of course, it turns into a speed metal jam for the last 47 seconds. Classic stuff! Closer “Russian Roulette” describes the fear one goes through when actually playing the game. It’s got a mellow intro, and then it kicks into high gear to end things just as heavily as they began.
Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? will always be my favorite Megadeth record, and not just because it was the one that turned me onto them. It just feels like in those eight songs they captured a kind of magic, whether it was holy or unholy, and managed to get it all on tape. It’s the kind of thing a band is lucky to do once, let alone several times in their career, and those 36 minutes will stand forever as one of the Greatest Thrash Metal Albums of All Time.