Sound — 9
On the album, Megadeth create a fine palette of sounds, combining straight up punk fury with metallic aggression, and even adding a slight jazz twist, provided by guitar virtuoso Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson. On "Wake Up Dead", "Bad Omen" and "Good Mourning/Black Friday", Megadeth add jazzy lines and odd rhythms to create a very interesting form of thrash. Perhaps the best song on the album, "Peace Sells" has very basic but interesting riffs, but turns into manic soloing and furious double-bass drumming. Relatively straightforward thrash songs on this album still have the trademark Megadeth sound. "Devils Island" retains a fast pace throughout the song, and the rapid triplets are reminiscent of Iron Maiden. The instrumental performances are perfect, with no scarcity of intricate riffing and ridiculously fast shredding. The main problem with the sound would have to be the actual production, although the remaster fixes many of the problems presented by the original mix.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics on "Peace Sells" are very well written. The title track displays Mustaine's first foray into political music, and has exceptional lyrics dealing with stereotypes about metalheads. At least three songs on the album, "The Conjuring", "Bad Omen" and "I Ain't Superstitious" deal with supernatural powers, and all three have a very fitting instrumental background that go well with the themes of black magic present on the album. "My Last Words" is about Russian roulette, and has a very cool gang vocal section near the end. "Good Mourning/ Black Friday" is about a serial killer who lives underground. Mustaine's performance on the album is actually pretty good compared to some of his later performances, with more of a gruff delivery than the whiny voice he is famous for. I would say these songs have some of Mustaine's best recorded performances, and this helps add to the overrall greatness of this album.
Overall Impression — 9
"Peace Sells...But Who's Buying" is definitely one of Megadeth's best albums, second only to Rust in Peace (although some will contest that). My favorite songs are the title track, "Wake Up Dead", and "The Conjuring", all three of which stand up to the best songs from Rust In Peace. The amazing guitar work by both Mustaine and Poland surpasses that of any other thrash band at this time, even Metallica. I would definitely buy this album if it were lost, it is just too good to miss out on. This is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy classic thrash and classic metal.