Dave Mustaine--vocals, guitar
Chuck Behler--drums (Gar Samuelson's drum tech. Proving that those who can't do, teach; those who can do, just not well enough, tech.)
Megadeth's first album for Capitol (the label had bought the rights to Peace Sells... after the band decided to jump the Combat ship) would prove to be their first commercial breakthrough, steadily gaining the group new ears on its way to platinum status. (The metal media was a bit less impressed.) This increased notoriety allowed Mustaine to unlock the Total Fucking Addict achievement, with Ellefson only a level behind.
Say hi to our new guitarist and drummer! You may not have another chance!
"Into the Wings of Hell"--Some stories begin with the apocalypse.
I noted that critics weren't precisely quick with the praise for So Far..., but the thing about the critics is sometimes they (we?) suck the jizz straight outta ass-crack. As soon as the first few strums flew forth from the speakers, I knew in my gut of guts no way was this album gonna score below an 8.5. An instrumental which is unequal parts acoustic and electric, this "Hell" is an abysmal drive into a smoke-choked dystopia. The dearth of hope weighs heavy.
"Set the World Afire"--Instead of barreling balls-up into the first "proper" song (and the first song written by Mustaine after his alcoholic bandmates said he had an alcohol problem and ousted him, probably while reeking of alcohol), we get a barely-audible sample of "I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire," as sung by Fred G. Sanford's favorite group, the Ink Spots. An off-kilter aesthetic decision, but the big one comes soon enough. Nuclear bombs are stripping the world, leaving "a land without a face." The word "megadeath" is dropped, so drink up and draw blood!
The improved production is finally making these songs sound like world-crushers.
"Anarchy In the UK"--Yet another unorthodox cover choice, only this one is a tad embarrassing. And by "a tad," I mean this guy. Yes, Megadeth's aborted fetus is more attractive than Motley Crue's aborted fetus, but at the end of the day, we are dealing with aborted fetuses nevertheless.
Unlike the Nancy Sinatra and Willie Dixon covers, where Dave rewrote the lyrics to fit his own unique persona, here he simply misheard the words. (Of course Dave wouldn't know what a "council tenancy" is, but to come up with "cunt-like tendencies" is amazing, and the cause of me being unable to blink my eyes for 45 seconds after initially hearing it.)
Get on your knees, time to tend the garden. Um...great tone on the solo? Oh wait, that reminds me--Steve Jones guest appearance! And all it cost Megadeth was a grand and a knob-job. Which may or may not have been grand. It's kinda hit-and-miss with crack-whores.)
"Mary Jane"--A paean to a deceased diabolical heroine of the night--not marijuana. Color me Surprised Fuschia. The jarring tempo changes soon color us all Seasick Green. But damn do I love that shit. What did I tell you at the very start of this about wank?
"502"--Speed for the sake of travel, "502" takes its title from the California state penal code for "impaired driving," a crime which in two years time would result in Mustaine being arrested and forcibly sent by authorities to the first of his dozen-plus rehab stints.
I'm just immensely grateful that the song is about driving a car, and not about having the sex.
So Far... is a clarion call for all the shit we the people crave against our better judgment. I can't drive, but I can eat pizza. Black olives, bacon, peppers, extra fuckin' cheese. Pineapple, if you're nasty--and I am, baby. Do I want another edible treat injected into the crust of my pizza? DO I?!
What's the Maryland state penal code number for "dropping a lethal fecal in a public restroom"?
"In My Darkest Hour"--My best friend and I recently found ourselves embroiled in a disturbing and enriching conversation about how often a person's death will not commensurate with the quality of life they lived. Did the seven men and women aboard the Challenger spacecraft deserve to die in front of millions because it was too fucking cold? Children with cancer--how is that even permissible? How can we talk about mortal justice when Hitler gets to call his own final shot, or Jesse Helms gets to stink up the world for 86 tortuously long years?
The tragedy of life and death is that comprehending the scope of it all doesn't spare anyone. A life lived in thrall of the finer things does not ensure an exit befitting a well-developed intellect and/or moral character. Mustaine had a friend in mind when he wrote "In My Darkest Hour," a much-loved young man snatched away in an appalling manner. Did he also carry in his mind the thought that it was all patently unfair when someone so creative and free should be gone, while Dave and his demons carried on?
"Liar"--I noted in the Peace Sells... review that Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson were sacked before work could begin on Megadeth's third album. I also pointed out that Dave Mustaine, notorious for unleashing his acerbic tongue on any and all who dare displease him, held back on Samuelson.
Chris Poland, however...
"Your girlfriend's got herpes to go with your hep and AIDS."
"Liar" concerns the alleged theft of a Mustaine guitar by his erstwhile partner-in-grime. I say "alleged" for the sake of fairness, but in complete honesty, listening to "Liar" compels me to side with Dave, given that he's so enraged over this betrayal that he eventually devolves into spitting out quick open couplets to express his resentment.
The devil on Dave's shoulder is really more into 70s Brit-metal than the thrash-y American shit, because all the better for this thieving prick to hear these vitriolic words of truthful truthiness.
"Hook In Mouth"--Ah, I recall the days when the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) stuck their thorns onto everyone's fronts. It wasn't censorship, no, but it was a great enticement for the indecisive young music consumer whose parents didn't really care if the album their child listened to had a "fuck" or two on it, just so long as the grades stayed good.
"Peace Sells" is the stereotype-smasher everyone seems to love, and I do as well, but I prefer "Hook In Mouth" as a powerful statement and not just a catchy, well, hook in mouth.
Aw man, is that it? Eight songs? Megadeth, you need to pack some more tuneskis on these albums, brahs.