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Don't Summon The Devil, Don't Call The Priests... - 99%

MegaHassan, November 10th, 2008

Because this album just fucking rocks.

Many people know that Megadeth are my favorite band, and Peace Sells is just one of the reasons why. This, my friends, is one of the most unique thrash metal albums ever released. The sound here hasn't been replicated to this day, which is a testament to Megadeth's brilliance. This is where Mustaine and the gang really set out to make an album would turn James Heitfeld's wet dreams turn into nightmares. Killing Is My Business was an excellent debut album, but Peace Sells was just better. PSBWB took all the basic proponents of KIMB, ironed out the rough parts and maximized all the positives, while bringing some new ideas into the fray, all at the same time.

One of the things they ironed out was Mustaine's vocals. His vocals on KIMB were tired and uninspired; not something you'd expect from someone who (at the time) wanted to beat the shit out of Metallica. Mustaine sounds genuinely angry here, something he could not replicate again for 21 years. Another small but not insignificant thing that they managed to turn around was the tracklisting. The tracklisting on KIMB's was a strange affair, to say the least, with the Mechanix and Looking Down The Cross pairing sticking out like a sore thumb. The third thing which Megadeth attended to was the production. Now, the production on KIMB sucked balls, and I actually like the remastered version of KIMB better because the riffs can actually be heard. In Peace Sells, the production is just perfect. The riffs can be heard clearly (except for the odd moment when the riffs get drowned in the drumming.) Its great that the bass is higher in the mix, because there's nothing like the driving sound of a bass to pick up a song. If you are new to Megadeth or haven't heard Peace Sells, I suggest that you listen to the original version of Peace Sells instead of the remastered because the production on the remastered version is complete jackshit.

As for things they improved on, the aggression stands out. People argue that KIMB was Megadeth's most aggressive album, but I disagree. Peace Sells is more aggressive than KIMB, and in a more controlled manner. Remember children, aggression doesn't need to be wild. Controlled aggression is at times much better than just wild aggression because when your aggression is controlled and held firmly in place, you seem more menacing than you really are. The aggression in KIMB was juvenile and laughable at times, while here in Peace Sells it's mature.

Megadeth brought some new ideas into this album as well. Poland's jazzy solos are more prominent than before, and conjure up a dark and evil atmosphere, even in some of the more “bouncy” songs like Wake Up Dead and My Last Words. This feature of the album is sadly overlooked, despite the fact that the atmosphere was one of the defining points of Peace Sells.

So far I've talked only about the pro's. What about the cons? To sum it up... the riffs. Don't get me wrong, the riffs are fantastic. But they don't show a lot of variety. Almost all of them sound the same, with the exception of some of the riffs in Good Mourning/Black Friday. Mustaine's riff tank almost dried up in KIMB and Peace Sells drained it completely. This actually explains why Megadeth's first two albums sound so different from the rest. But if I'd have to choose between KIMB and Peace Sells, and if my choice was to be based on the riffs only, I'd take Megadeth's debut over their sophomore. This is just one of the two flaws here, the other being the lack of memorable songs. Rust In Peace had timeless classics in Holy Wars, Hangar 18 and Tornado of Souls. Peace Sells has none. All the songs are good, and the album is very consistent... but there's nothing here that stands out as being timeless.

Overall, it's a great album. The two small problems only manage to dock 1% from the album, which really says a lot about the album's quality and consistency. Listen to it if you haven't, and you WILL enjoy it. To dislike this album would be the highest form of denial.

(Note to reader: “Peace Sells” refers to the album and not the song.)