Review Summary: The most overhyped thrash metal release ever. boring and unmemorable
Peace Sells is widely hyped up as being one of Megadeth's best, and some obnoxious fools would even go as far as to proclaim it to be the best they ever did and a sacred cow of thrash metal. Whilst this was, for its time, a pillar of thrash metal, it certainly does not beat out Rust In Peace and never did, but it has also lost its impact. The riff set for it is still as strong now as it ever was. Wake Up Dead still has that skull crushingly heavy, ultra-memorable riff towards the end that sticks in the listeners head whilst Dave plays his lightning fast hammer-on obsessed solo over the top. Good Mourning/Black Friday is still the most technical pre-RIP thing they did and has that incredible riff after the clean intro. My Last Words is still no holds barred thrash metal from start to finish and one of the best songs the band ever did. So what is actually WRONG with this album?
The vocal performance from Dave is one of the worst in existance. There is whiny and boring, and then there is Dave Mustaine. When he whines lines such as "wake up dead, you die, wake up dead", it is so hard to take him seriously in that overly nasally tone he takes. The title track has one of the most ridiculous vocal performances in thrash metal and i find it really hard to believe that anyone can take this as one of the best thrash songs of all time. Sure, it has some memorable lyrics but Dave's vocals absolutely butcher them.
It also lacks any form of memorability and the tracks themselves are nothing too memorable. They are all rather solid and have alot to like about them, in particular the riff sets for most of them, but they do nothing fresh. It is just South Of Heaven-sounding mid paced thrash metal without that evil tone that sets that particular album apart from most the generic thrash metal out there. Peace Sells... But Who's Buying has rarely any memorable moments throughout. Look at The Conjuring, and listen to it. It whirls past quickly with some great riffs and an intro that sounds particularly decent but it lacks any lasting impact. You won't still be humming the main riff half an hour later, and the over use of galloping guitar work is really annoying on that particular song.
The production is a weak job and the re-master only saught to butcher it even more. There is a good sounding album trapped among the lackluster production but you can never hear it. On the original master, the bass drum was way too low in the mix and the guitars had a very flat tone to them that took any element of heaviness from this album and threw it down the drain. Admittedly, this was only a sophomore album recorded on a low budget, much of which no doubt went on boozing and drugs as Dave Mustaine had already done on their debut, but this really is no excuse for the tin can sound that this album has throughout.
The positives can be found in that the actual music itself is solidly written and performed. Dave riffs like a monster on this album with a huge variety of riffing but none of them really standing out aside from the aforementioned Wake Up Dead riff and some of them from My Last Words. Also, My Last Words stands out as the best song off here and probably one of the best the band ever did with its fast pace and incessant heaviness that really is noticeable on the remaster, even though the actual remastering job was done terrible.
This is one album that really does not deserve its status as a classic based on the fact the vocals are atrocious and the production is appaling and there is no memorablity. As said, the riffs are the best thing about this album, and the drumming is occasionally good but its just so over-hyped.