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Ah, Peace Sells. When this came out, Megadeth was still a fledgling band. To see their career this strong at only their sophomore debut is an impressive feat indeed. Megadeth would go on to a more consistent, thrash sound for their next couple of albums, but here they work with a unique sound that dares to combine elements unheard of in thrash at the time. The blend of sounds and styles makes this an easy standout in the many-headed beast that is Megadeth's catalog.
Production on Peace Sells...But Who's Buying is phenomenal. Keep in mind, at this time Megadeth were still very much an underground band, which doesn't exactly pay the bills. However, this makes Peace Sells' production all the more impressive. Contrast is nice, no sounds are underplayed, the instrumental tones are crisp, and Mustaine's voice sounds as raw as you would want it to be on a classic 'Deth album. Congrats to Dave and Randy on their efforts.
The writing on Peace Sells...But Who's Buying is fantastic. Dave Mustaine tackles the issues head-on in the title cut and the songs that try to be "spooky" or "demonic" actually succeed in an uncommon stroke of luck for Megadeth. Mustaine's singing is just vicious; he sounds ready to bite your head off. Definitely one of his better vocal performances, if not his best.
Instrumentation is lightning fast. Most of it is great and I have to give Chris Poland a shout out for his phenomenal solos, particularly on the title cut, Wake Up Dead, and Good Morning/Black Friday. Samuelson's drumming is fantastic and his fills are absolutely ridiculous. David Ellefson can rarely be heard, but when he gets his chance to shine, he REALLY shines. Mustaine's riffs are adequate, but lack the structure and finesse of Rust In Peace's many memorable cuts. Poland and the rhythm section, however, manage to pick up all of Mustaine's slack and then some.
This is probably Megadeth's most aggressive album (unless you count So Far, So Good...So What as legitimately aggressive and not just stupid) and puts a heavy emphasis on speed. There are lots of different influences here as I noted previously, and I'm going to acknowledge some more of them here. Mustaine's vocals clearly take some cues from the punk rock greats such as Sid Vicious or Henry Rollins. Songs like Bad Omen or Good Morning invoke a Sad Wings of Destiny-era Priest feel, particularly with their sinister, slow-burning opening sections. Unsurprisingly, there's a little Maiden influence noticeable here and there (The Conjuring, especially), but a metal album having Maiden influence goes without saying.
As far as highlights, the album maintains a very fast, thrashy feel, rarely slowing down except for the occasional intro and the swing tempo of their cover of I Ain't Superstitious (probably the album's low point). It's hard to pick highlights when most of the songs sound the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing in this case. Peace Sells is more "consistent" than repetitive. This isn't Megadeth's best, in my opinion, but it is great (an easy second) and the influences were incredibly groundbreaking at the time. If you're looking for essential thrash metal, definitely pick this one up and give it a few listens.