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Which is better? - 90%

LordThurisaz, March 23rd, 2013

Between Peace Sells, SFSGSW, and Rust in Peace, it's really difficult to pick which is the best. Peace Sells is extremely punky and has some jazzy elements here and there, while Rust in Peace is quite technical and well-written, composed and played. SFSGSW isn't quite as consistent as those two, but it is incredibly metal and probably the purest form of it Megadeth have ever put to plastic.

Dave Mustaine was really beginning to hit his stride here. His lyrics were much more threatening than Metallica's, his riffs were meaner, and was a complete and total asshole on this album. In particular, Liar and Hook in Mouth show just how venomous his tongue could be, lashing out at Chris Poland for hocking guitars for drug money and the PMRC censorship, respectively. And while he's not as consistent as he usually is on this album, every song is a classic except for Anarchy in the UK, which should not be on the "A side" of this album, and 502, which isn't bad, but hints at things like High Speed Dirt and other later songs about speeding, skydiving, and other things that make your heart race with adrenaline. Into the Lungs of Hell is quite interesting as it's the first [and possibly only] instrumental Megadeth has done. The horn and orchestra drum elements are a lot more emphasized on the reissue, which is a tad of a let down, but doesn't hurt the song any as it's only a minor inconvenience. Dave is finally starting to get a decent lead guitar tone, which wasn't horrible before, but it's inching closer to the awesome lead tone on Rust in Peace, which is a good thing. Oh, and his riffs, like those for the song Set the World Afire, are amazing.

The new lead guitarist, Jeff Young... well, I can't really say much about him. He's not awful, but his style isn't realized as he only appears on one Megadeth record and then he's gone. He's sorta sandwiched in there between Poland and Friedman and doesn't seem to have a style of his own that the listener can discern because of this. While what he plays isn't bad, you just don't get an idea what his playing style is like. That said, his solo prior to Dave Mustaine's second solo under the simplified chorus is quite good as is his solo in Set the World Afire. Also, his first solo in SFSGSW is also quite interesting, though it could be better as it doesn't feel like he's "saying" much as his solos ultimately kinda sound like a can of bees. Perhaps it's the production or gear he's using, though. Same goes for Chuck Behler. He's a great drummer, but pretty much is in and out just as quickly. That might have something to do with why this album isn't a favorite of Megadeth fans, because it's a band in transition from one lineup to another more stable one [as opposed to Countdown to Extinction, being a band in transition from one sound to another].

David Ellefson has a decent bass tone on this album and while it's not as upfront as on Countdown to Extinction, it's definitely an improvement over Killing is my Business and Peace Sells. I believe he also has more songwriting credits than on the two previous albums, which is also good. He gets a little spot in Hook in Mouth where it's just him, very cool, but not as memorable or cool as the intro to Peace Sells. Not really much to say about Ellefson other than the fact he seems to have been the rock over the years no matter how hectic or chaotic everything else in Megadeth got. He and Dave really seem to gel and get along, which is a plus because I think it makes the music better.

The production on this album is decent, but not what it could have been. That said, it's not as inconsistent as the songwriting, which is good, but for some reason feels disjointed from one song to the next. It does have some of my favorite Megadeth songs, though, which is a plus. Set the World Afire, Mary Jane, Liar, and Hook in Mouth are definitely worth the price of the album alone, so I definitely suggest buying it if you like Megadeth and thrash metal in general.