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MEGADETH - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? cover
4.20 | 155 ratings | 16 reviews
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Album · 1986

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Wake Up Dead (3:40)
2. The Conjuring (5:04)
3. Peace Sells (4:04)
4. Devils Island (5:05)
5. Good Mourning / Black Friday (6:41)
6. Bad Omen (4:05)
7. I Ain't Superstitious (2:46)
8. My Last Words (4:47)

Total Time: 36:15


- Dave Mustaine / Vocals, Guitars
- Chris Poland / Guitars
- Dave Ellefson / Bass
- Gar Samuelson / Drums

About this release

Label: Capitol Records
Release date: July 20th, 1986

Produced by Dave Mustaine and Randy Burns.
Mixed by Paul Lani.
Engineered by Casey McMackin and Randy Burns.
Recorded at The Music Grinder, L.A., CA.
Mixed at Can-Am Recorders, Tarzana, CA.
Additional recording at Track Records, Rock Steady Studios, L.A., CA and at Maddog Studios, Venice, CA, February 15, 1986 - March 20, 1986.
Album design and cover illustration: Edward J. Repka.
Cover concept: Andy Somers and Dave Mustaine.

A new DVD audio version was released on October 14th, 2003. Included on the DVD are three different audio tracks, DVD-A 5.1, DTS 5.1, and PCM 2.0 stereo.
Also included on this special edition are tons of extras like the "Devil's Island Mix Breakdown" which allows the listener to break the song down into 6 different formats:
- Drums and Bass
- Drums, Bass and Rhythm Guitars
- Drums, Bass and Chris Poland's Guitar
- Drums, Bass and Dave Mustaine's Guitar
- No Drums
- Final Mix
Also among the extras are interviews with Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson and Chris Poland as well as the music videos for "Wake Up Dead" and "Peace Sells".
(Text taken from

The remixed & remastered version released in 2004 features the following bonus tracks:
9) Wake Up Dead (Randy Burns Mix) (03:40)
10) The Conjuring (Randy Burns Mix) (05:01)
11) Peace Sells (Randy Burns Mix) (04:00)
12) Good Mourning/Black Friday (Randy Burns Mix) (06:39)

Original sound version now out of print.

Thanks to negoba, UMUR, adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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As a huge fan of Thrash Metal, Megadeth strangely never hit the marks I love in this kind of music. To their – mostly Dave’s – credit, the songwriting and solos are great, and the riffs are not far behind. However, where the band always lost me is in their delivery and atmosphere. Dave’s not a good vocalist, but that’s not what bothers me, as raspy shouting is something I enjoy. The problem is that not only does he struggle to create any sort of memorable hooks or verses, but he also writes some bad lyrics. The delivery on most songs is sarcastic, sometimes angry but all too often it just sounds like he’s yelling for the sake of yelling without any conviction or thought behind the words.

The music actually matches this – while as I said, the musicianship is really good, there’s really no atmosphere or emotion being conveyed. There are great moments like the openings to Good Mourning and Bad Omen, both having a more ominous and serious atmosphere. However, most of the time it just sounds like the band is jamming out to earn their dollar, which is not something I want in Thrash. It’s not dark, and the anger present is only very surface-level “I hate paying my taxes” kind of anger.

To be clear - It is a great album. The music is well-written and expertly played, the production is about as good as 80’s metal gets, and there aren’t any actually bad songs, but I find it massively overrated, and rather empty compared to most contemporary releases in the genre.
Side 1 is some of the all time greatest thrash metal of all time. Forget that, some of the greatest music of all time in any genre. The guitars are tight and chug like nobody's business... at a time when Metallica was already stuck on scooped out mids that would ruin every 14 year old guitarist's tone for decades to come, Megadeth puts on a clinic on how to cut through a mix. You can actually hear the bass guitar (gasp), Chris Poland's soloing is incredible, and Gar proves he was one of the best drummers of all time.

Side 2 is almost completely forgettable unfortunately... not really sure what they were thinking. Black Friday is so sloppy I can't believe they used that take, and the lyrics are idiotic. Bad Omen is decent but sounds like an outtake from Killing Is My Business. I Ain't Superstitious is a bad cover of a song that is unlistenable in the first place. My Last Words has a great bass line but isn't that interesting otherwise.

Also I might be alone in this, but I don't mind the 2004 remaster... so sue me
Surely I'm not the only one who disliked Megadeth's debut 'Killing is My Business', right? I mean, I didn't just dislike it, I hated it. I thought it was awful. It was boring, uninspiring, repetitive, grating, and just all-out rubbish.

That's why I'm happy that with 'Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?', Dave Mustaine and his band of merry musicians become the Megadeth we all truly know and love today. And that includes me!

Everything I hated about 'Killing...' has been rectified here. The songs are catchier and the guitar work has matured a great deal, the vocals have improved massively, in both lyrics and melodies, and the production finally gives the music some clarity, as opposed to their debut album where I felt the shoddy production made it hard to truly distinguish any of the guitar riffs.

Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. This album is far from perfect, and for all the improvements it's made over its predecessor, there are still some fairly average songs that I don't find myself ever coming back to. However, there are also some early Megadeth classics in there that still hold up well today, such as 'Wake Up Dead' and 'Peace Sells'. And tracks like 'Devil's Island', 'Good Morning/Black Friday' and 'My Last Words' show a band who, despite the vast amounts of drugs and alcohol they were consuming, still had the wherewithal to produce something that would be considered one of thrash metals finest works.

Oh, and it happens to have one of the most recognizable album covers in metal! Not bad. Not bad at all.
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?

'Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?' is the second studio album by thrash metal band Megadeth. While I find many of Megadeth's albums to be masterpieces, if I had to choose one, 'Peace Sells...' is easily my favorite from them. From beginning to end, this album's got nothing but thrash classics in my book.

Here you've got fast thrash anthems like 'Wake Up Dead', 'Devil's Island', and of course 'Peace Sells' but also songs that start out slower like 'Good Mourning/Black Friday' and 'My Last Words'. Something that I've always loved about Megadeth and Anthrax, is that they usually have much more distinct bass then some other thrash acts. Many times in this album are there incredibly catchy basslines, most notably for me is of course the bounce-y bass in 'Peace Sells' and the fast bass in 'Bad Omen'. Dave Ellefson's bass work throughout the whole album is awesome though, the bass really has a swing to it especially in the song 'Peace Sells'. The guitars and drums throughout the whole album are of course awesome as well, whether the drums are pounding and guitars are fast and relentless or have nice slow beginnings. Especially 'Good Mourning/Black Friday', starts out all soft before becoming a crushing and driving thrash masterpiece.

I've noticed that a lot of people have complained about Mustaine's vocals, but I think his vocals fit perfectly with Megadeth. I couldn't see anyone else fitting Megadeth's sound, and he's easily a favorite vocalist of mine. While he always has that aggressive snarly 'take no bullshit' voice, I don't think any album perfectly mimics that like this one or the albums that bookend it. Not to mention he's an amazing lyricist, making what I believe to be some of the best political songs. Especially 'Peace Sells' is still relevant today, with such memorable lines like "What do you mean, 'I don't pay my bills'? Why do you think I'm broke? Huh?" and "Tell me something, it's still 'We the people', right?". Maybe I'm wrong, but 'Good Mourning/Black Friday' seems to describe what Black Friday is like pretty well metaphorically.

Overall, I usually have a hard time reviewing my favorite albums, hence why I haven't reviewed many of them apart from a handful. So this is easily one of my favorite albums and is an absolute classic. If you love thrash like I do, this is an essential listen. Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!
siLLy puPPy
PEACE SELLS BUT WHO'S BUYING is the perfect example of how excellent MEGADETH can sound when all the stars align. This album contains the best of both worlds for this band. They are still a young and angry thrash metal band with a metallic fury that is on full display, yet they managed to craft some very strong material to cast their weight. The result is an epic classic sounding metal album that still sounds excellent to this day. The musicianship has improved over the first album and the production is on a whole other level as well.

Most noticeable is the new direction in political views on this album. The year 1986 is still the era when self-obsessed hair bands were ruling the metal world and social critique was a rather new form for a band that was relatively known. The album gets the adrenaline pumping with the first track “Wake Up Dead” and doesn't stop until the very last note is played. My second favorite MEGADETH album and one that I do often revisit.
It may seem a bit weird, but my introduction to many of the songs on this album came from seeing Megadeth’s Behind The Music special in 2001. Whenever there was a cool riff, lead, or instrumental section that was sampled for use in the program, most of the time it was lifted off of Peace Sells. Just getting a taste of the intro to “Good Mourning”, the head-banging riffing in “Wake Up Dead” or the ferocious lead section of “Bad Omen” was not nearly enough. The following Christmas, I made sure that this album was on my list (and, thus, under the tree).

The riffing is pretty tight on this one, just as fast-paced as much of their debut album. This time, the production is up to a higher standard. Unlike the occasional muddied-up sound that occurs on the debut’s faster cuts, the speed and precision in the likes of “The Conjuring”, “Devil’s Island”, and the ultra-intense “Black Friday” come through with crystal clarity. While making the popular “Wake Up Dead” and “Peace Sells”, well… pop!

The only real outlier among the tracks is their cover “I Ain’t Superstitious”. Though stylistically unlike the other tracks, I like this blues-rock cover. Compared to their debut’s take on “These Boots”, it feels much more of an honest cover as opposed to just having a laugh, and like many classic blues/rock songs, it serves as a good lauchpad for Mustaine and Poland as guitarists.

There are several instrumental excursions throughout that hint at the potential that this Poland/Samuelsson lineup had. This is well exemplified how tight the band sounds in “Bad Omen” and “My Last Words”. While the band sounds in high-form throughout the album, these tracks are often among the least talked-about here, but have grown greatly in popularity with me as the years have passed.

Although Mustaine was (and always will be) the songwriter, having such a strong band backing him is what allowed him to continue to expand the variety in song structure and the technicality from the debut album. While I’m still a big fan of So Far, So Good … So What?, I can’t help but wonder where a third album by the Chris/Gar lineup would have taken them.

This is definitely an essential thrash metal album.
Megadeth got some decent production in on this one, and it really does show, with the intricacies of the band's songwriting much more readily apparent than on the muzzy Killing Is My Business. Dave Mustaine's lyrics start getting a political edge to them but discusses the issues in question in vague enough terms that this isn't likely to irritate too many people - they certainly don't bug me, even though I think Dave's political views when you get down to specifics are pretty laughable - but let's not lose sight of the main reason this album kicks ass: it's a fast, angry thrash metal tour de force which proved that Megadeth possessed the musicianship to equal any of the other Big Four.
Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? is the 2nd full-length studio album by American thrash metal act Megadeth. The album was released in July 1986 by Capitol Records. The lineup is the same as the lineup that recorded "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985)". Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? was the album that really put Megadeth on the map and made sure that they are generally considered one of the greatest thrash metal acts on the scene. The colourful cartoonish looking Edward J. Repka cover artwork probably made the impact even grander.

The original version of the album contains 8 tracks and a full playing time of 36:16 minutes and while that may not seem like much I´d take quality over quantity any day. Most later reissues have contained various types of bonus material. Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? has seen various reissues through the years but since the remixed and remastered version was released in 2004, the original version has been out of print.

The music on the album is thrash metal with a melodic edge. Dave Mustaine´s attitude filled sneer is definitely an aquired taste, but I´ve never had any problems with his voice on the band´s studio recordings (as opposed to how terrible they usually sound live). The band are very well playing and especially the guitar solos really impress. Melodic shred fests of a high quality and entertainment level. Personally I find the songwriting a bit inconsistent and especially "Devil's Island" and the Willie Dixon cover track "I Ain't Superstitious" don´t do much for me. On the other hand there are strong tracks on the album too like the opening trio of tracks, "Wake Up Dead", "The Conjuring" and "Peace Sells" or tracks like "Good Mourning / Black Friday" and "Bad Omen".

The production is professional and for the time pretty powerful. It´s still very obviously an eighties sound production and there are some minor issues with the sound that prevents me from calling it really good.

There is no doubt that Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? is an essential listen to thrash metal fans and the album is by many deservedly called a "classic" thrash metal album. I still think the band needed to mature a bit more (and lay off the booze and the drugs) before they released their best albums, but Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? is definitely an album worth a listen. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.
After the somewhat disappointing debut Megadeth hit back like a sledgehammer. "Peace Sells" is a surprisingly mature Thrash metal album that dwarfed much of the surrounding competition. The quality and virtuosity drips from the album and the complexity and intelligence of the songwriting turns this into more then just a Thrash album for me. In fact I'd dare to call this a direct precursor of the Progressive Metal of the 90s.

Except for the annoying filler track "I ain't superstitious", the album consist of nothing but Megadeth essentials. The original album suffered from a somewhat 'thrash-y' production that drowned out much of the album's subtleties. The 2004 remix/remaster offers a good sound upgrade and, unlike some other items in the 2004 remaster series, it doesn't suffer from Dave's tendency for tempering with the original material.

'Nough said, if you don't own this album I won't speak with you again.
The Angry Scotsman
Regarded as one of the thrash metal classics, this album certainly deserves the praise it receives.

It starts right off with a classic Megadeth song, "Wake Up Dead". It has all the Mustaine staples that we have come to expect. An unorthodox song structure, fast technical riffing, great guitar work and lots of solos. A unique, and amazingly well crafted song, just like every song on the album.

It should be no surprise that this is fairly complex and unusual (for metal) album considering the lead guitarist and drummer were originally from a jazz fusion band! Mustaine always did surround himself with great musicians. The drumming in particular is quite good on this album. His jazz influenced thrash drumming is superb, (though a bit toned down from the previous album) and adds an intriguing combo of feel and technicality.

The guitar work is amazing, though this shouldn't even need to be said. The riffing, the solos, the lead/rhythm work, it all is superb. More than the music itself, the songs are extremely well built. The structure and flow is great, and each song is unique. Also needless to say, Dave's vocals are not the best, (and can take some real getting used to) but are not too terrible, (sans that AWFUL chorus in Devil's Island). There is almost no filler or parts that drag.

Dave's vocals are merely adequate and sometimes are rough, the quality is quite low and can detract from the music. The re mastered version of Killing is My Business...did wonders, especially for the drumming. While thrashy, (and no doubt intense musically) it can lack a bit of power at times, not sure what this is due to though, most likely the production.

An excellent album. The music is near flawless in every way, and Mustaine really can be a brilliant songwriter, and not afraid to showcase some technical, (and even progressive) songwriting into thrash. His vocals are not the best but at least the lyrics are pretty intriguing.

Devil's Island is the weakest on the album, while standouts are Peace Sells, My Last Words, and I Ain't Superstitious, which is a cover of the original blues song and is really quite amazing. From the very first listen, it is obviously a blues song in its main riff and song structure, and actually works really well for metal. The second half is also one of the most intense parts on the whole CD!

Very Excellent album.

Four and a Half Stars

Members reviews

It´s really difficult to find an album played with so much ferocity than this. Megadeth was recently completed with fusion masters Chris Poland and magnificent Gar Samuelson, both making Megadeth to play at the top of their game. One feels that Mustaine is set to obliterate his previous work with Metallica and set to make his mark on the speed metal (Thrash)world. The re-mastered version really improved the sound quality (which wasn´t all that bad, but now you can really feel all the instruments). The Poland/Mustaine duet is really impressive, Samuelson drumming it´s the best Megadeth ever had (even though I´m a Menza fan) and Ellefson is yet to prove his best game on future Megadeths´albums. Seminal work.
Now, this is one vicious little album! Peace Sells... was the album that got me into the greatness of Megadeth, purely because, although it is imperfect in some small ways, it has everything that one could want from a slice of good, traditional thrash metal. The riffage is brutal, yet melodic, the solos are relentless, the production is very slightly tinny and echoing, giving an epic, metallic feel and Old Nick and the rest of the dark side gets a good mentioning throughout the lyrics! Dave's vocals are a little sketchy here and there but are by no means offputting at any point. My personal high points for this record are as follows: The Conjuring- Dark, eerie tale of a pact with the devil. Brilliantly atmospheric ringing tones in the guitars at the opening, the immensity of the riffs and solos goes without saying: Peace Sells- Great anti social epic. The lyrics pertaining to the irritating side of politics and society will put an understanding grin on your face in no time and the second half of the song is just made for a good shout and headbang to!: Bad Omen- Basically, this song is about a black magic induced orgy. (Two of the best metal topics side by side; satan and hedonism!)The solo on this is ludicrously fast and the extreme melody truly is one to singe your ears with: My Last Words- This track is dedicated to guns and gambling your life away! Very fast and tuneful throughout and a nice, explosive end to the album. Other things to look for: Wake Up Dead has a great riff with the essence of Ritchie Blackmore turning brutal half way through the track: If you are bemused by seiously nasty lyrics, then check out Black Friday. The topic...a serial killer, need I say more?: And finally, I Ain't Suprstitious, if you are into covers. All in all, this album is a must for the Megadeth newbie and collector.
This second output from Dave and co., seem to be different in direction musically compared to the first one. The music has taken its shape in due course, and the musicianship is tight. The elements of raw is there but it cannot hide the improved skills managed by Mustaine, Ellefson, Poland, and Samuelson. If you want to start your Megadeth thing, I would suggest this is the first to start instead of Killing is My Business.

I would say highlights are "The Conjuring", "Wake Up Dead", "My Last Words" and the title track itself. In this album, you can't help but notice that Mustaine did some melodic solos too.
Megadeth were beginning to receive quite a following around the time of this album, which put them up there in the success charts with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. This follow-up release is much more controlled than the raw debut, and it shows promising sense of a progressing band. Megadeth are luckily aided by a better production manager this time around and not to mention set of musicians. Guitarist Chris Poland is added to the line-up, and he is one of the dominant forces in making this a successful album.

"Wake Up Dead" is a killer opener, with some slashing fret work from both Mustaine and Poland. "The Conjuring" is very strong; check the grinding, powerful riff at around the 2:55 mark. The title track got 'Deth a little MTV exposure, but who kicks ass! "Devil's Island" is an often over-looked track with its thumping bass and excellent rhythm guitar action. Don't miss Poland's axe work at the 3:51 mark. The album's top highlight is without a doubt "Good Morning..Black Friday." Poland's guitar intro before the vocals kick in is amazing--some of his most mature and interesting riffs to date.

This is a great Thrash album with much better production and musicianship from an ever improving band (until recently). The chemistry between Poland and Mustaine is not quite as powerful as the later Friedman-Mustaine kinship, but this proves to be a fun album that holds up well on repeated listens. Add Peace Sells to your ever-growing collection.

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