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Megadeth > Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? > Reviews > Demon Fang
Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

but all's buying - 88%

Demon Fang, February 13th, 2022

Peace Sells and Rust in Peace – go ahead, name a more iconic duo of classic albums! Really though, alongside Rust in Peace, Peace Sells is the album you’re going to think of when it comes to Megadeth. Sure, it’s more mellow than the debut and Mustaine’s vocals are nowhere near as unhinged; still, you go through its legendary A-side with the energetic “Wake Up Dead”, the three-ton triplet assault of “Devils Island”, the drearier “The Conjuring” and the downright catchy “Peace Sells”, and perhaps these trade-offs are for the best. More technically proficient, more precise in exactly where each riff strikes, hooks out the ass and shreddy solos to give that extra bit of flavor. Just the way that “Wake Up Dead” gets right into the thick of things with its quick little bass line before bobbing and weaving betwixt these two groovy riffs, capping off with Mustaine and Poland soloing like maniacs before heading into the speed metal madness. From there, they let you know that you’re in for a wild 36 minutes! Everything here’s so tight, they could press diamonds.

Not that the B-side is any kind of slouch. Shit, I’d say it comes pretty close. “Good Mourning” picks up where “The Conjuring” left on in terms of dreariness, with its more melancholic and atmospheric strumming leading expertly into the breakneck-paced “Black Friday”. “My Last Words” plays to a similar beat as the “Black Friday” half, ending the album with a bang through its explosive speed metal riffing. There’s definitely more emphasis on white-hot riffing juxtaposed by tenacious soloing than on the debut. Killing is My Business had a jazzier overtone to it – one that’s highly evident amidst the choppier riffing – while this tends to be more closely related to what Metallica and Slayer had been doing up to this point. Although they do revisit those ideas for a couple of songs – the more technically charged “Bad Omen” with its choppier riffs and positively evil intro, and… serviceable at best cover of “I Ain’t Superstitious”. Points for fitting it more into their style (as they had with “These Boots”), particularly with the jazzier drumming and lead at the beginning; it’s just that compared to the masterful “The Conjuring” and “Peace Sells”, “I Ain’t Superstitious” comes across a might underdeveloped. They had to still fit it within the original song’s basic framework, versus whatever more original one they have for the rest that allowed for them to spread their wings and fly away…

That aside, Peace Sells is a damn good album that rises above the rank and file to show exactly why Megadeth are a part of the big four. The airtight, inventive rhythms combined with some rather Malmsteen-esque soloing makes for some rather excellent guitars that overshadow the declined vocal performances. As a result, the songs largely become the classics that we all know and love even over 35 years later.