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Megadeth became one of the most powerful thrash bands in the 1980's and early 1990's after they released a barrage of successful records including "Peace Sells...But Whose Buying?" and the masterful "Rust In Peace," yet the album placed between these two masterpieces is the most forgotten and underrated of Megadeth's career. Many people forget about "So Far, So Good...So What!" because it followed these two important albums, yet I consider it the best release out of Megadeth's first four records. The year was 1988 and Megadeth's need to make some metal was combined with high dosages of testosterone to create an album that had balls the size of Jupiter; that LP was "So Far, So Good...So What!"
In terms of the music, this is a straight up thrash record with some nice hints of speed metal and melody. If there's one thing that Megadeth did different on this album, it was the added quantity of melody and technicality. "Mary Jane," "Set The World Afire," and "Liar" have some semi-melodic thrash riffs that make them stand out from the standard thrash song. "502" is a relentless burst of technical thrash as Dave Mustaine and Jeff Young hit a storm of notes during the song's chorus. "Mary Jane" also falls under the complex category because of the various riffs Mustaine and Young sway in and out of. Bands that are looking to cover a non-metal song should take Megadeth's cover of "Anarchy In The UK" as a prime model; Megadeth takes the Sex Pistols classic and warps into a tornado of speed and thrash riffs with some incredible leads.
Lyrically and vocally speaking, this is one of Megadeth's best efforts. Mustaine takes a stab at censorship on "Hook In Mouth" by mocking its flaws and procedures, yet he manages to sound both intelligent and angry. Mustaine's suicidal ode to the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton on "In My Darkest Hour" is one of the most famed metal lyrics because of its dark mood and depressive lyrics. "Mary Jane" appears to be about weed at hindsight, but it's actually a tale about witchcraft. Dave Mustaine certainly isn't the best singer in the metal world, but his voice is perfect for this album. Dave's raspy voice slices right into the heart of these songs with an aggressive and hostile tone. His voice can get rather humorous at times, but he does a great allaround job singing on "So Far, So Good...So What!"
There is some controversy about this LP because it mainly consists of material that was left out of the first Megadeth records. "Set The World Afire" is rumored to be the first song Dave Mustaine wrote after he was ejected from Metallica. "Into The Lungs Of Hell," "Mary Jane" and "Hook In Mouth" were also written well before this recording, yet they are all the strong songs and undisputed Megadeth classics.
I personally think "So Far, So Good...So What!" is one Megadeth's best efforts. Everything that defines Megadeth's musicianship is present and it won't let you down. "So Far, So Good...So What!" may not be the most recognized Megadeth release, but it's certainly one of their best. Pick this one up!
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com