Review Summary: A Solid enough release, but its no Peace Sells
So Far So Good is something of an anomaly in the Megadeth discography. This album, unlike much of the rest of their albums, does not either flat out suck nor is it an instant classic. Instead, what we have here is an album sandwiched in between the two undisputed classics Peace Sells and Rust In Peace that got rather over looked when it was first released in 1988. This is a release that is also very mixed, with some fantastic tracks among some real stinkers.
What this album definitely is, without any question whatsoever, is a Megadeth album. All the traits that defined the albums that came before and the album that would follow are there. The frantic lead work scattered throughout the album. The demented vocals that, despite being terrible and hilarious to listen to, somehow manage to fit the music. The technical riff work is there, the sarcastic lyrics, and even the final cover song to be featured on a main album (minus bonus tracks on later releases) in their cover of The Sex Pistols controversial song Anarchy In The U.K.
Kicking things off with the balls out instrumental Into The Lungs Of Hell, we are immediately treated to a Megadeth classic. This is an absolutely amazing instrumental that gives off a completely apocalyptic feel to it that very few instrumental-only songs can ever hope to accomplish. This leads right into Set The World Afire, a song many people seem to really enjoy, but i could never get into. From the atomic bomb dropping through to the end of the song, this is a straight thrash song, that only Megadeth could put out, but just comes off feeling extremely stale. It is apparent here that the ingenious writing present on Peace Sells was just missing from parts of this album, despite some killer drumming throughout this particular song. The first few guitar riffs are just stale and played too many times to the point they become boring, and the bass is as bland as can be. The vocals are nice, the riffs once the verse starts are nice enough, and the lyrics to this song are great, but overall it is one of the weaker songs early Megadeth put out.
The cover song, Anarchy in The U.K. is considerably better than the Sex Pistols version, but still not a great song. Mary Jane, however is one of the better songs on the album, with strong, crushing riffs to it, beautifully written lead work, and a fun feel to it that the rest of the first half of the album is devoid of. The guitars to this songs are perfectly written, being both catchy and heavy enough, with Dave's vocals being surprisingly good throughout this song. This was the perfect song to pick the album back up for the second half of the album.
502 has some extremely fast riffing that brings back memories of Killing Is My Business, but this is merely the tip of the iceberg of the best moments of this album, as it feels somewhat like a filler song, that is just there to speed the album up again. Still a decent enough song, though, and definately worth a listen or two. The two songs that follow, In My Darkest Hour and Liar, are two absolutely incredible songs. The former is a song about Dave's fallen comrade Cliff Burton, often mistaken as a suicide promoting song, and is one of the most moving songs in music history. This is how a song should be written, equal parts heavy and emotional, despite the majority of it moving at a very slow pace. The lyrics to this song are just beyond description, being absolutely heart shattering, and conveying the thoughts of a broken man. This is the absolute definition of perfection.
Liar is one of the more hated songs from this album, and i could never understand why. The lyrics are utterly hilarious, speaking of Megadeth's former lead guitar player, who allegedly stole Dave's guitars. The final verse of this song is essentially just one long rant, culminating with the immortal "to your maker, off you go... your a liar, you ***ing liar". This song is one of the most balls to the walls, pissed off thrash songs ever recorded, with intense, fast riffing, crazy vocals, and great drumming. The hate for this song is something i honestly will never understand.
Hook In Mouth is half a great song, being very bland and dull for the first verse, but once it kicks in, it hits the listener with the impact of a freight train, bringing crushing riffs and one of the angriest vocal performances from Dave you will ever hear. This song is a song i never enjoy thoroughly, but always skip to when it kicks in, because that is the only segment of this song worth listening to. It is alright as a way to close the album, although this spot would better suit Liar.
This album is definitely a mixed bag of an album, with the first half of it being rather poor when stacked up against what came before and afterwards. Moments like the first half of Hook In Mouth, and the cover of Anarchy In The U.K. and the intro to Set The World Afire really do drag this album down to the abyss. However, the musicianship throughout much of the album is absolutely perfect, the lyrics are as sarcastic and angry as ever, and Dave is on top of his game, vocally, on this album. This is a solid enough release, and definitely does not deserve the hate it receives, but has a few disappointing moments that keep it away from the upper echelons of the Megadeth discography. 4/5