Album Review: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? [25th Anniversary Special Edition] by Megadeth
Excellent, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Arguably Megadeth's strongest effort and a classic of early thrash, Peace Sells combines a punkish political awareness with a dark, threatening, typically heavy metal world-view, preoccupied with evil, the occult, and the like. The anthemic title track and "Wake Up Dead" are the two major standouts, and there is also a cover of Willie Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious," which takes on an air of supernaturally induced paranoia in the album's context. The lines between hell and earth are blurred throughout the album, and the crashing, complex music backs up Dave Mustaine's apocalyptic vision of life as damnation -- his limited vocal style is used to great effect, growling and snarling in a barely intelligible fashion under all the complicated guitar work.
Like many bands in the 1980s metal underground, Megadeth were hugely successful while still essentially operating under pop's radar. Their abrasiveness, speed, gross-out extremity, and nasty humor essentially barred them from the airwaves in the days when people called Slippery When Wet a metal album with a straight face. Like their indie-label peers who'd come up out of hardcore, Megadeth built an audience by touring relentlessly, and when they were finally signed to a major, they became even more popular.
The definitive Megadeth album is without a doubt 1990’s Rust in Peace. When it came to the songwriting of singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine, the technical proficiency of the four band members, the epic scale of the record, and the combination of the extreme and the accessible, that album got it right on every level. However, if you ask anyone who followed Megadeth during the 1980s what their sentimental favorite album is, most will mention 1986’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? Back in the fall of 1986, the band, led by former Metallica lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, was still very obscure—the 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!, was known strictly by denizens of the heavy metal underground.