Thursday, September 08, 2011

Album Review : Peace Sells Remastered - Megadeth 8*

Vic Rattlehead on the cover of Peace Sells... ...Image via WikipediaI have made a mistake here, I realised that my vinyl copy of Peace Sells is no longer worth playing, my CD copy has vanished so I thought I would buy a download, and got seduced into buying this remastered version of Megadeth's classic second album.

I only own a handful of remastered albums, and to be honest, they are nearly all worse than the original releases. Marillion's updated Fugazi sounds like the drums were recorded in a telephone box, and on this effort Dave Mustaine has looked back on Peace Sells...But Who's Buying ? and thought to himself that he could make a better job of it, he was wrong.

The thing is, Peace Sells for Megadeth was pretty much a perfect album, it was full of rage and anger and fantastic guitar and drum work, it sounded raw and dangerous and brash and exciting. I think part of the problem with this re-mix is Dave's still not quite resolved problem with being fired from Metallica. In March 1986 Metallica released their finest album, the one that cemented their growing reputation and established both the band and thrash metal firmly at the forefront of popular metal, Master Of Puppets set a template for other bands to follow if they could.  MoP was massive, huge rhythm sections complemented great song writing and the polished, incredibly well rehearsed sound Metallica had achieved pulled their own style of thrash away from its hardcore roots.

In November 1986 Peace Sells was released, and it was a different sort of album.  Megedeth sounded like they walked into the studio drunk and angry, then they pounded out a few tracks in a fit of barely controlled rage. It was that feeling that at any moment Megadeth might go completely out of control that I loved about the band and this album, they always pushed to the very edge of their technical ability. This wasn't Metallica with their endless practise and overdubbing, most of the solos on PS sounds like Dave and Chris Poland just picked up their guitars, let rip at each other and then shouted "Fucking A!" when they'd finished. At any moment on Peace Sells you thought that Mustaine might throw down his guitar, snort a giant line of coke, punch and policeman and set fire to the place (actually, this is more or less what did happen).

So what has happened on this remastering ? Well, some of the vocals sound like they have been reworked, Mustaine's trademark sneering vocal style has been tamed a little, and overall the sound has been cleaned up a little.  This is where the problem lies, Megadeth's second album sounds like music made by men on the edge of sanity, it was an awesome, thrilling musical experience, and this remastered version has trimmed away some of those manic thrills and spills and made the whole thing just a touch too safe and clean.

I still rate this version as 8* as Megadeth have not managed to totally cock up their original sound, but if you are thinking of buying Peace Sells, then search out the original version, it's a solid 10* album on which Mustaine and company threw everything they possessed wholeheartedly into the music and created a quite awesome technical metal sound.
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