Megadeth
Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?


4.5
superb

Review

by Bfhurricane USER (9 Reviews)
June 3rd, 2007 | 23 replies | 5,329 views


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Time to put Rust in Peace away for a minute, Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? puts up a great fight against Reign in Blood and Master of Puppets. An often forgotten album, Peace Sells... is an excellent example of what 80's metal ought to sound like.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?

The year is 1986… and metal fans around the world have yet to know what is about to hit them, for they are in a year that would eventually hail the release of three of the most debated, recognized, and influential albums that the world has ever seen. Three albums that flooded the airwaves with a new sound of heavy metal that dropped the jaws of millions of fans across the world. 1986 was a holy year indeed, and I’m sure you know of the three albums I speak of: Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Slayer’s Reign in Blood, and this… Megadeth’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?

Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth have each had their fair share of boasts and flamings alike, from dedicated fanboys to outright haters of the band. Now, I feel this album is the least debated of the bunch, and I think it’s about time people stopped comparing Master of Puppets with Reign in Blood or either of those two with Rust in Peace. In fact, I think Peace Sells… is better than Rust in Peace, so for now I’m putting Rust in Peace back in the closet to let Peace Sells… do the talking. Here we have Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, and Peace Sells… all in the ring all together, each having their own strengths and weaknesses. This is my version of a debate that we all owe to the three titans of the 80’s (with, of course, Peace Sells… being the main focus).

Now, I don’t care what you think of this album when compared to metal today. The truth is, back in ’86, this was metal. Many bands today envy the vintage sound of 80’s thrash metal, and when attempting to mimic the sound they fail, leaving behind nothing more than a laughable attempt and the obvious influence of an 80’s masterpiece that they tried to recreate for their own (Trivium anyone?). Peace Sells… is one of those influential masterpieces. Everything about this album is nearly perfect, and in many ways Mustaine & Co. managed to make the absolute best out of metal.

Thrash is known mainly for three elements that differentiate itself from other types of music: Solos, Riffs, and Vocals. If Megadeth excels in one aspect of songwriting, then it’s the solos. You’d have to be Helen Keller to not recognize Megadeth’s reign over the guitar solo. Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland will melt your ears on nearly every track. The best example of Megadeth’s prowess in solos is found in the opening track Wake Up Dead, an absolute shred fest featuring two of thrash’s best guitarists. The solos triumph in Peace Sells… because they are found in a comfortable medium when compared to the solos of Kirk Hammett and Kerry King. While Kirk plays a safer, more melodic and well thought out solo, Kerry decides not to hold back and hits as many notes as humanly possible. This is where Megadeth comes in. While you can have issues with both Kirk and Kerry, you can hardly complain about Dave and Chris’s performance on this album. Fast, melodic, catchy, uncontrollable and yet strictly managed all at the same time, Dave and Chris deliver a performance that can hardly be matched.

The riffs on this album are just flat out awesome. The dynamics are great, and there is honestly never a riff that gets repeated to the point of disgust. When done right, repetition is often a key element to thrash, and Megadeth really do hit the nail on the head. Anger-fueled riffs in the song Peace Sells are excellent and standard on this album, while Good Mourning/Black Friday features one of the finest mixes of clean and distorted guitars in the intro. This is a triumph that Mustaine can share with James Hetfield, who put in a similar effort in his writing on Master of Puppets. At the same time, in essence, they can both look down and laugh at Kerry King’s abuse of repetition and use of diversity, or lack thereof, which is a key element and weakness found in Slayer’s unique sound.

History lesson for those who don’t know – Dave Mustaine wrote almost all the songs on Metallica’s debut Kill Em All. His goal with Megadeth was to completely outdo the efforts he did with those good-for-nothing back-stabbing pricks in Metallica, right? Well, he did so. He expanded on the Kill Em All sound, but it is undeniable that he is still caught in the raw sound of his rival’s debut. In essence, this album fixes everything that Metallica did wrong in Kill Em All, but hardly expands out of the same sound. That is where this album falls behind.

The sound on Peace Sells… has already been done on Kill Em All. But better? Yes, definitely. But besides the riffs being more complex, there isn’t too much progression off of Kill Em All. Metallica left that sound in the dust and matured in their songwriting to produce Master of Puppets, and that change of sound is the main distinguishing factor between Peace Sells… and Master of Puppets. Slayer, once again, is found on the far side of the spectrum, fulfilling the craziest metal head’s fantasy of head banging to the fastest and most intense riffs ever heard in metal history, all compiled into the shred-tacular Reign in Blood. The three differences are evident between the three albums, and it quite honestly comes down to preference. Slayer chugs ahead like a freight train on a crash-course with your ears; Metallica diversifies and expands the definition of “thrash,” and both leave behind the Black Sabbath-like sound that Megadeth is captured in.

The vocals aren’t special, though they deserve some criticism. There’s nothing negative about the vocals, just nothing drastically as positive as seen in the other aspects that this album has to offer. Largely outweighed by the guitars, the vocals play a minimal role in the deliverance on this album. Not to say that there aren’t good vocal melodies, however. Peace Sells offers Dave’s best vocal performance, and is actually one of the only sing-along parts of this album. However, other vocal melodies like that are very rare. In short, you’re better off playing air guitar to Megadeth rather than singing to them.

The vocals are definitely the weakest part of the album, but as mentioned before, they are greatly made up for by the riffs. Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? contains epic intros and breakdowns, with sudden shifts in pace that will raise the hairs on your neck and make you shiver. And when there’s a shift in pace, you can be sure another mind-twisting solo will follow, only adding more to the delivery of the song. Peace Sells… is a well rounded package with lots of punch to keep your ears satisfied.

That’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? for you, Megadeth’s effort in the Holy ’86 Trio. So, is this the best of the pack? Does it beat out Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood? It honestly comes down to preference. Maybe some of you have realized my bias with Reign in Blood – although it defines thrash better than any of these albums it just doesn’t offer anything close to what Peace Sells… does. No matter where you go, you will find dedicated fans behind all three albums that will defend their position to death. I don’t think this album is an absolute classic, because I believe Megadeth was impossibly outdone by Metallica with Master of Puppets. But that’s a call that is nearly impossible to make, so why not make the call for yourself? Go on, give this a listen. This ranks among the greatest metal albums ever released, and does not look out of place when placed in the likes of Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood. It’s drastically different than both those albums, which give you more reason to make sure you own all three of them. You won’t hear the same thing twice, I promise. Megadeth gave a tremendous effort with Peace Sells…, and it stands out among other metal albums as an impressive work of music.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bfhurricane
June 3rd 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'm not sure how this review is going to be recieved, but I hope you realize that my purpose of this review was to somewhat dissect the elements of Peace Sells..., Master of Puppets, and Reign in Blood to add on to the ongoing debate of 80's thrash. The reason I picked this album as my main focus is really because, right now, I dig it a lot more than the other two.
Anyways, I think this is far too overshadowed by Rust in Peace.

Altmer
June 3rd 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Out of the three albums you mentioned, this one is by far the lamest. Mustaine sounds like he's being fucked by a goat.

That said, the guitars are cool.

This is a boring, boring album. Good, but booooring. Rust In Peace, Countdown, Youthanasia, United Abominations and TSHF are all way better than this.

Peace Sells is their best song ever though.

chimera908
June 3rd 2007



713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Interesting review, I'm going to re-read it than I'll vote or not. However RIP is 1,000 times better than this album, I personally think it's gets really stale after a while.

I really like the review, after I re-read it. /vote. This Message Edited On 06.03.07

Bfhurricane
June 3rd 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I can see why so many people love RIP, which I love as well. But this is just catchier and more fun to listen to imo, so I find myself listening to this far more than I do to RIP. And thanks^^ :thumb:

Mustaine sounds like he's being ****ed by a goat.
.
Yep. That's why I don't care much for the vocals.This Message Edited On 06.03.07

Altmer
June 3rd 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the vocals ruin the damn album >(

Dethtrasher
June 3rd 2007



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Whoa, huge review for a huge album. I like this :thumb:
This album is a classic, but I think you should've mentioned Anthrax's Among The Living alongside these three album you mentioned.

rattlehead42147
June 3rd 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that was great, although i agree with deth. this is a classic, but RIP is much better.

hermitspancho
June 3rd 2007



278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think your points about Daves songwriting skills are spot on but better emphasised on R.I.P which was ,imo, the quintessential 'Deth line up .The solo's on Peace are terrific but on RIP ? Out of this world .Forgot to add ...i really enjoyed the review , a damn good read . This Message Edited On 06.03.07This Message Edited On 06.03.07

Bfhurricane
June 3rd 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I only mentioned RIP briefly in my review just because it's the Megadeth album everyone raves about. I agree, Marty Friedman is better than Chris Poland and the solos are even better, but Im just sticking to this album and leaving out my opinions on RIP. But yeah, RIP had their best lineup and their best songwriting, I just happen to prefer this.
And um... Ive never actually listened to Anthrax. I hardly ever hear their name being brought up anyways, maybe Ill check them out.

meep17
June 3rd 2007



136 Comments


Hmph. Never really liked this one all that much. It's alright, but I actually find it very
hard to listen to. Dave's vocals wanted to make me go to California and strangle him.
And I'm not a violent person. Some of the songs were alright, but Dave's vocals just
killed it for me. (Also, I agree with Altmer that it is very bland, especially when
compared to Rust In Peace.)This Message Edited On 06.03.07

kalkal50
June 4th 2007



2386 Comments


this album can't be a classic if you still think RIP is much better... no sense

By the way, very good review. I know it's only your fifth and you've been taking it slow, but I like the idea that it's not rushed, therefore deserves more credit and attention . The 1986 big three is a very good way to introduce this album, but you should perhaps refrain from being one sided in the beginning. :thumb:This Message Edited On 06.04.07

Bfhurricane
June 4th 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well in general Im a reader and just argue about music, I dont do too many reviews. But Im going to start contributing a lot as of now. And I couldnt help but to be one-sided, I mean, after all this is a review of an album. I just thought it would be interesting to make a debate on the rest of the '86 Big Three.

Altmer
June 4th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How about they are both classics, kalkal50? ;)

Anyway this influenced about 3932 bands but that doesn't make it a good album.

Altmer
June 4th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree, but it was the solution to kalkal50's question without giving a "Megadeth sucks" answer.

kalkal50
June 5th 2007



2386 Comments


Still, I think there is a very small margin between 4.5 and a classic, and whats special about a 5 is that its really the best of the best, dedicated to rare albums. If you think one album is much better than a classic, than that one cant be classic as well, unless, you think Rust in Peace is the best album in the entire world. Just a technicality lecture

Oh and hurricane, I realize that youre one of those posters here in the community. This Message Edited On 06.05.07

Meelk
June 5th 2007



126 Comments


bfhurricane your average rating is like 5.5. apply some objectivity.

Bfhurricane
June 5th 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I like a lot of music, is that a crime? I dont bother listening to albums by Fall Out Boy or Hellogoodbye that I know im not going to like. And usually I dont rate albums I dont like. Ill rate the albums I like to discuss, such as this one.

Meelk
June 5th 2007



126 Comments


no excuses.

Bfhurricane
June 5th 2007



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah whatever you win. you just keep pretending like youre making worthwhile posts alright

LifeInABox
June 5th 2007



3708 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I really liked this review. This album blows chunks all over RIP, and I think you did a good job describing the highlights to it.



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