Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who’s Buying? - Review
← 572 album.png 574 →

critics' view

By now, it's obvious that Peace Sells….But Who's Buying was one of the greatest contributors to the great year of thrash. Being the most evil effort from Megadeth's discography, it was sure to turn many heads and reel in lots of attention. Very dark lyrics, fiery solos and ripping leads, bursts of speed, and pummeling drums are what this piece of golden thrash is well known for. Really, like Killing, there are underlying tactics that help drill this into the listeners brain and make it stick so much harder than the already blistering debut record. Dave and co. channel some of their wildest ideas from this time period in a very unique way here, one like the character described in the aforementioned Van Halen track. And why would I mention that ripping album opener from the Women And Children First record? Because that's exactly what was going on with the boys of 'Deth at the time. The cradle was certainly rocking, at an alarming rate. 

There's no need to go into how wildly spectacular the solo work of "Wake Up Dead" is, or how evil the lyrics of "The Conjuring" are, etc. It's been touched on to death, and the message is received. The variety is key to keeping the record from going stale for even a second. Really though, almost every track has something in common that seems to be greatly overlooked, and that's the usage of suspense, build-up, and tempo/time-signature changes. The suspense, of course, is the biggest one. Slow, devious moments are implemented in almost every track. The bulk of the title track uses the same rhythm, and keeps it mid-paced, all the way up until the iconic "can you put a price on peace?". Then, it kicks into fifth gear with intense guitar work, only to finish the blow with the last minute or so of chanting the chorus. "Good Mourning/Black Friday" (my personal favorite track), does the same thing with clean guitars, a slower buildup of melody, soft singing, and then finishes with a transition into the pummeling riff we all know of. Using the same tactic doesn't get boring, due to the different methods of execution. The heavy use of bass plays a large role in this too, caking on another layer of suspense, and making a thicker atmosphere for the build-ups. All of it fits together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Of course, you can't go into this without mentioning the early hints of prog influence. Though this wouldn't come through to its maximum until 1990, clear hints of it were peaking in 1986. Megadeth are not a prog band by any means, but their ability to shift time signatures and tempos is definitely advanced. Poland and Mustaine take turns delivering complex rhythms that don't stay stagnant, but dance all over the fret board. "Devil's Island" displays some of the best work in this department. "Bad Omen" has the the most fun and groove-infused rhythm section for sure. Of course, Ellefson's superior bass work fills in all cracks, making for a smooth ride from cover to cover. Repetitive riffs and chants are sprinkled in from time to time, and while that may not sound like a good thing, they always work. It's very much needed for the approach that's taken. A lot of talk about production is also thrown around, and while this version cleans it up a bit, the rawness of the original is definitely superior. The bonus tracks provide older mixes of half of the album, if you have this specific version.

The ability to take all of these different angles of attack; clean buildups, tempo shifts, evil themes, and speed recklessness and sew them all together in a perfect stream is talent beyond what most can display. That's what makes this record so special, and would remain a staple to their sound for records to come. The only thing that doesn't fit as well is the cover of Willie Dixon's "I Aint Superstitious", but at least it's a solid cover and it isn't bleeped out to death. As much as it would fit better as an album closer, there's no denying that "My Last Words" is an exceptional final blow, and for that, the inclusion of a stray track like this can be overlooked. Megadeth's best? Damn close, but not quite.

Encyclopaedia Metallum external-link.png

Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives (commonly known as Metal Archives per the URL or just MA) is a website which lists bands of predominantly heavy metal music. Encyclopaedia Metallum was described by Matt Sullivan of Nashville Scene as "the Internet's central database for all that is 'tr00' in the metal world." Terrorizer described the site as "a fully-exhaustive list of pretty much every metal band ever, with full discographies, an active forum and an interlinking members list that shows the ever-incestuous beauty of the metal scene". external-link.png
twitter.png facebook.png

Care to share?

(if so, thanks!)

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020. All rights reserved. Third-party trademarks and content are the property of their respective owners, and subject to their own copyright terms and conditions. See the website links provided in each case.