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This is my second favourite Megadeth album falling slightly behind "Rust in peace". For me Dave Mustaine works at his best, when he is firing on all cylinders and just plain out not giving a fuck. "Peace sells..." although good was a fierce attempt at trying to outgun Metallica in every conceivable way, a trend which would repeat itself many times after 1992. Some may consider this Megadeth's great success, but I can only enjoy Megadeth to the full knowing Dave Mustaine wrote the songs soley for himself, not because "Master of puppets" went gold or The Black Album sold a trillion copies, or simply because he has to smile through gritted teeth as Kirk Hammett shot to superstardom and got inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame, and some lesser informed folk are still whispering "...Dave who?" Dave Mustaine is not a refrained creature, he would have destroyed Metallica because he was too volatile for it. Back when this album was recorded Mustaine had more in common with Lemmy, than his previous bandmates and here it shows. This is a cohesive speed metal juggernaut, which is raw and unforgivingly against the grain. A lot of people may see this album as passe, probably because they are gay, but for me this album has outlived and overshadowed much of anything in the metal scene, over the passed twenty years.
I remember at this point, people were beginning to say the German's were coming up with the best thrash riffs. I was starting to believe them, until I heard this. From the opening instrumental "Into the lungs of hell" right up until the final potent notes of "Hook in mouth", Megadeth actually put a lot of people to shame. It's no wonder then that this same year (1988), a lot of other thrash releases like Atrophy's "Socialized hate" or Testament's "The new order", just seem slightly lackluster and a tad stale after hearing this. Not only did Megadeth have technical riffs and solos by the bucket load, they had attitude and lived what they sang about. And the best thing about this album is that, Mustaine was not looking over to the Metallica camp to fuel his hunger for Megadeth to be a superior band in every way. Even the ballad "In my darkest hour" has such a raw, improvised rock and roll feel to it. Dave Mustaine did not try and write epic rhapsody, about his fallen friend Cliff Burton, but instead just lays down raw emotion, where as other thrash bands would have released a ten minute long bore fest, full of semi-acoustic wankery. The only downsides is "502" sounds a little street metal at times, but if you weren't alive in the 80's this may not bother you, because you've been force fed grunge and nu-metal and no doubt starved of entertainment by this point. The solos are hair raising, yet have a scuzzy vibe all over them, like you can imagine Megadeth playing them at your local drinking hole. All in all a must have purchase, hopefully you're not one of those who dismissed this album after hearing "Peace sells..."