Review Summary: Who's Buying? Im Buying!6 of 6 thought this review was well written
1986 was a year full of metal classics from 'Master Of Puppets' by Metallica to 'Reign In Blood' by Slayer to 'Somewhere In Time' by Iron Maiden and, of course, 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?'. Megadeth's sophomore release is one that excels in all areas and even transcends the boundaries of its genre (thrash metal) just like 'Master Of Puppets' does, as there are an impressive variety of influences here; from the Black Sabbath-inspired opening of 'Devil's Island' to the Led Zeppelin-esque cover of Willie Dixon's 'I Ain't Superstitious' to the punk rock attitude of 'Peace Sells'. 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?' is one of those albums which hooks you in from the start and keeps your attention with interesting moments appearing constantly throughout the entire thirty six minutes.
'Wake Up Dead' is a perfect way to open the album, as it highlights Dave Mustaine's maturity as a songwriter from Megadeth's debut; the song's structure is irregular, yet accessible due to the song's short length (3:37), a smartly done build up to the fast picked riff at around two minutes in which leads to the brilliant ending breakdown and solo which serves as an outro and it showcases the gloomy production which suits all the songs perfectly. This standard of quality is met in every single song, which is a terrific feat.
Also, who can forget the album's (half) title track, 'Peace Sells'? The iconic bass intro immediately lets you know that this is going to be an instant classic before the guitars come screeching in then smoothly transition into the tremendously heavy verses and then after two and a half minutes of mid-paced thrashing excellence, it explodes into anthemic chanting, a simple yet triumphant riff and virtuosic soloing. Awesome.
The song-writing isn't the only thing that has improved since the debut though; the band's performance is technically accomplished yet organic enough to sound human and the production has quite a dark atmosphere that benefits it in a huge way. Also, this is the last Megadeth album to include Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson and they play well enough to make us miss their unique presence in Megadeth with Chris' bluesy soloing and Gar's fill-happy drumming.
Is this better than 'Rust In Peace'? No, it's tied with it for being the best Megadeth album. There is a different vibe coming from this album; while 'Rust In Peace' is a very epic sounding album, with quite a few multi-parted songs and lyrics about war ('Holy Wars', 'Take No Prisoners', 'Rust In Peace... Polaris'), fantasy ('Hanger 18', 'Five Magics') and environmental problems ('Dawn Patrol'), 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?' is darker sounding and has lyrical themes of the occult ('The Conjuring', 'Black Friday', 'Bad Omen'), rebellion ('Peace Sells') and fear ('Wake Up Dead', 'My Last Words'). Whichever album you choose to listen to, you're in for something amazing.