I never really got on with Megadeath. I was more a Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer kind of guy when that stuff mattered (and it mattered for a long time). Dave’s voice was a bit of problem for me. Not that I couldn’t listen to it, it just sounded weird. I liked some of their singles but a whole album of that noise was heavy going.
I remember this one because of that infamous movie The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. I Liked that movie a lot (this songs not in it by the way, ‘Fares please! Next stop, Memory Lane’). I was an impressionable youth in a group of equally impressionable Lads who knew they loved ‘The Metal’ but had very little film and television to go on. MTV didn’t quite land in the UK until the very middle of the 90’s and we had only the briefest glimpses of the bands that made the big noises on our national 4 stations in 1987.
Sure we’d seen Motörhead on The Young Ones that one time and rented Trick Or Treat and Phantom of the Park on VHS. And still, eyes on metal legends was a hard thing to come by. Talk would go around when there was an hour long special of heavy music on The Tube or when Maiden, Priest or Saxon would be on Top Of The Pops. Bon Jovi videos were only just gaining traction in the USA and GNR were on the radio but the TV was terrified of them (the Chart Show and the BBC always faded Paradise City out before it go to the solo. Lest that wild noise upset the jumper wearing Nonces in their massive glasses).
The UK media overlords (Auntie and the Creepy Uncles) liked to pretend that heavy metal no longer existed between 1984 and 2004.
The Penelope Spheeris Documentary The Metal Years was a Rosetta Stone of everything from Hair Metal to Thrash and from Ozzy cooking his breakfast eggs to W.A.S.P‘s Chris Holmes drinking himself unconscious in a pool in front of his mother. This film filled in all sorts of gaps. It also introduced some side characters to kids on the Southern Essex Coast who had no business getting that famous.
We all (now) know Russian Winter by London because of this film, despite them never achieving anything other than footnote status. We discovered Faster Pussycat purely because of their friendship with a Club owner rather than their reach as a band (that first Pussycat album though… No shade, that’s a killer record)
Megadeth performed the ferocious In My Darkest Hour (from follow up album So Far, So Good… So What?) in that movie and on the strength of that tune I went out and bought Peace Sells But Who’s Buying? the very next time I was in a record shop.
It may be a controversial opinion in certain circles but the album is no classic.
It has some moments for sure. The unrecognisable Willie Dixon cover I Ain’t Superstitious and opening track Wake Up Dead among them. For the most part however, it’s a poor mans Ride The Lightning punching it’s way out of a paper-bag under Anthrax’s Among The Living nimble middleweight and looking up at the stars to Slayer’s champion of the genre Reign In Blood.
This track though. It has things those other bands don’t. That galloping bass line sounds like Steve Harris from Iron Maiden trying to play a track from Queen’s Hot Space era. The punky fuzz to the guitars doesn’t try to outweigh Metallica or Venom. It’s one of the few times early Megadeth hit the target square on. It seeps pre-millennial tension and Big Brother is watching you paranoia as it flips tables at the church fete and calls the Maaaaan out on his bullshit.
Which is nice.
I’m not entirely anti Megadeth by the way. I think their cover of Alice Cooper’s No More Mr Nice Guy showed where they could have gone with great success and Sweating Bullets is not without something to admire. On the whole though, not my favourite noise.