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Hell yeaah! I like this one!! Second step with the same line-up and it appears that, within a year, Megadeth made a great improvement both in composing and performing as well. Mustaine realized that their first album did not come out exactly as they meant for it. Though it was welcomed by the metal society, it lacked some elements that would make the fans to embrace it and strongly put their faith to his band and their abilities. He knew that Megadeth’s second hit had to be fatal because it would probably be their last chance to establish their name as a big heavy metal band that could stand up to the fans’ expectations. So he had to make some changes.
Oddly enough no other member of the band was fired but they all remained at their posts. Their playing together seemed to be working just fine. Mustaine took over the production along with Randy Burns and this time they did almost perfect. Now the instruments sound much clearer helping the compositions to come forth. Then he paid more attention to the songs adding fresh ideas and dared to mess with politics and social criticism. For the first time he exposed his preference over wars and power. The lyrics he wrote are more mature and deal with government issues to killers and demons (see Bad Omen). The guitar riffs are a lot better and the solid paces and rude vocals are still there. The last thing was to find a catchy title and that was Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? Nice one indeed.
The album kicks-off with a song that was also Megadeth’s first video, Wake up Dead. Without unnecessary intros the band does what they love and is best at and that is to play good heavy metal. From the first riff this song is metal to the bone. It is fast and has many great breaks. The solos are very good since we know that Mustaine is basically a guitarist and a damn good one.
The Conjuring, that follows, starts at a low speed for a minute until its guitars and drums burst off giving it a metal tone with galloping rhythm. Gar Samuelson keeps beating his drums with force and in my opinion he is one of the most underestimated drummers in metal. The guitars sound so fucking heavy thanks to the production, a lot heavier than in Killing… turning the song into a blaster.
The bass intro that comes next has become an all-time classic and sets the path for Peace Sells, one of Megadeth everlasting hits. Without being too fast, it is a great steady track, heavy as a brick. The rhythm section is doing a great job once more and the lyrics have become famous: “if there’s a new way I’ll be the first in line”. We all know them and we have caught ourselves singing along many times.
Devil’s Island is among the fastest songs of the album. Its killer guitars and drums leave you breathless and devastated. The riffs are amazing and the solos very well delivered by Mustaine and Poland. I can’t help myself from headbanging whenever I listen to this song.
Good Mourning is a very inspired two-minute theme, a great opening for a dynamic, charging track titled Black Friday. The creepy atmosphere gives place to an amazing song with ass-kicking guitars and drums and a raging insane vocal performance by Mr.Dave Mustaine. The killer has been set loose and he is ready to accomplish his task according to the song’s lyrics “pounding, surrounding slamming through your head, yeah!”. Fucking awesome!
Bad Omen is another small jewel in this masterpiece. A nice opening solo soon develops to an unholy hymn to metal demons. Steady and heavy all the way, it blasts off at the middle and tons of metal fall upon you flowing from the heavy guitars of Megadeth. The demons have been summoned and you remain helpless, waiting for them to take your soul and deliver it to the god of heavy metal.
As far as it concerns the cover they chose to do this time, I haven’t heard the original so I can’t express my opinion but I’ve been told it’s quite good. Anyway, who cares about it, especially when My Last Words is about to be heard and finish the job Megadeth have started. As with most of the compositions, it features a nice introduction which lights the fuse for a dynamite to explode. Thrashing guitar playing and smashing, hard drums lead you into a strange duel that you are bound to lose confronted with the metal arsenal Megadeth are carrying. It’s the perfect finale for an almost perfect album.
As the band says “can you put a price on Peace…?”. No, because Peace… is definitely priceless!