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So Very Good - 98%

DawnoftheShred, November 7th, 2006

I’ve always been very impressed with this album, even from the very first listen. Something about it just makes it instantly accessible, perhaps more so than any other Megadeth release. And while it never garnered the same attention as Peace Sells before it or Rust in Peace after it, it has all the classic elements that let it stand just as tall as those two albums, if not taller.

SFSGSW is my favorite Megadeth album, primarily because of the strength of the individual songs. The album lacks the general consistency of mood on Peace Sells and Rust in Peace, but every track is a classic in its own right. Few Megadeth songs hit as hard as the instrumental opener, “Into the Lungs of Hell.” The overlapping clean and distorted tones for the intro create an otherworldly tone and a great atmosphere, one that soon spirals into the chaos of the driving speed riffing and killer lead guitar. The album doesn’t let up from there. Powerful and technical riffs, Megadeth’s most predominant appeal, are the only riffs to be found here. If you prefer watered down groove rhythms or power chord abuse look elsewhere, as this album won’t cater to your needs. Everything about the guitars kill on this album, especially the lead. Mustaine’s soloing keeps getting better and more technical without losing a sense of melody, evident on just about every song here.

There’s plenty of variety on the album as well. Several songs are straight up thrash numbers, such as “Set the World Afire” and the manic “502.” The Sex Pistols cover “Anarchy in the UK” is a prime example of metalification of classic punk. “In My Darkest Hour” provides a mellower edge reminiscent of “Looking Down the Cross.” “Mary Jane” and “Liar” kick ass in the mid-paced department. Basically, there’s no filler here. It’s all powerful, memorable, thrash fucking metal.

I have no issues with the original release, but Dave Mustaine’s need to re-master all the band’s back catalogue really fucked up the reincarnation of this one. Killing is my Business got the celebrity treatment for the re-master, so why didn’t this one? The new mix erases the raw quality of the original to make room for a cleaner more modern sound. The vocals sound worse for some reason and some minor aspects were changed, most notably the creative car stereo effect in the middle of “502,” for some reason horribly botched on the re-release.

If you can find it, hunt down the original release. It’s free of the problems of the re-issue. Either way, I highly recommend this album to any metal fan willing to hear its glory.