A lot of people give Slayer’s Reign in Blood more credibility than it deserves. Of course I’m not forgetting the impact that record had on the metal scene, and it was definitely one of the most influential albums of all time, no doubt, but when compared to this gem, it seems like just a generic thrash record, to me anyway.
I should note that while I love thrash, it doesn’t come anywhere close to being my favorite genre. I do enjoy the brutal whiplash of Slayer and Sepultura, as well as the melodic thrash/speed combo of Nevermore, and also the 90’s neo-thrash of Pantera and Machine Head – but I don’t think any of those bands could top this (except for maybe Nevermore who truly are an amazing band). While those bands were writing songs about Hell and Satan (well, Slayer anyways), Megadeth tackled the more realistic issues of drugs, sex and politics (putting emphasis on that last one). Peace Sells… was their 2nd full-length record (first on Capitol) and the one that propelled Megadeth into metal stardom. It was here that they released one of their biggest hits, “Peace Sells”, my favorite Megadeth song by far. Sure, there were great songs like “Hangar 18″ and “Symphony of Destruction” in later years – but none of which had such energy and honesty as this thrasher. Offering such memorable lyrics as “when there’s a new way/I’ll be the first in line/but it better work this time” this was probably the catchiest offering of the album. Of course, who could forget the other single, “Wake Up Dead” – a song which offered a decadent solo halfway through that lasted about a minute. And of course we have the faster-paced “Devil’s Island” and “My Last Words” – two of the best Megadeth songs in my opinion.
In reality, there’s not much to complain about here. The remastered version includes the original mixes of all the songs before they were re-recorded for the Capitol version in 1986 – displaying a few differences from those of the final version. This extends the album length, which was a bit short, and also provides a better sound. It isn’t worth buying if you have the original, obviously, but it’s nice to have. All in all, I think Dave and the guys really had something special with this gem. A metal milestone that raised the bar for quality thrash.