Best of the Decade: 80s Megadeth.

( Best of the Decade” is back and we’re looking at Megadeth in the 1980s. Megadeth is one of the original Big 4 of Thrash Metal in the U.S along with Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. Lead singer Dave Mustaine was originally the lead guitarist for Metallica and before being fired from the band, also shared his musical knowledge with his contemporaries in the 1980s Bay Area thrash scene.

Best of the Decade: 80s Megadeth.

Who Are Megadeth?

By 1983, Mustaine had formed his own project, Megadeth. Some fans would say that Mustaine was driven to prove that he could not only succeed without Metallica—which was fast becoming a hot act in metal—but exceed them.

Now, Mustaine has gone on to have a great, storied career in music and was integral in the production and sound of several iconic metal albums. Megadeth wouldn’t reach Metallica’s heights but it’s not unusual to hear MD brought up if Metallica is mentioned—and vice versa.

Also, as an aside: I always felt Megadeth was much better as far as consistency. The band has been consistently metal and the albums always had a better-than-decent base quality. It’s different from its Big 4 of Thrash mates which had this odd period in the 90s where projects just seemed to fall off dramatically from their extremely strong 1980s.

On that note, there were several metal bands that fell off during the 1990s but had a return to form in the 2000s or early 2010s. In Megadeth’s case, it was two albums in the late 90s and early 2000s before the band went back to dropping decent-to-good albums starting in the early 2000s.

I’d describe Megadeth as thrash metal in their earlier albums and a mix of heavy metal and thrash in their later releases. The lyrics are typically about conspiracies, politics, history, and life. Over the years, the lyrical content has changed and a focus on conspiracies, politics, and life became more prevalent in the 2000s.

3. Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good! (1985, Combat Records)

What I dig about Killing Is My Business… is that it’s an album with a blended instrumental. Yes, instrumentals have a purpose on albums as the artists put them there for a reason but I’ve never been a fan. However, MD couched with a song featuring lyrics and kept it under five minutes. “Last Rites/Loved to Death” just works.

This album serves as a strong introduction to Megadeth but isn’t the best introduction—Rust in Peace, Youthanazia, and Peace Sells… get those honors—but if someone stumbled upon this album first or started from the beginning of their catalogue, Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good is a strong introduction to their sound in the 1980s. It’s also a historically important album as far as thrash goes as the last song is the original version of Metallica classic “The Four Horsemen”.

If you haven’t heard it, give both versions a spin.

Strongest Tracks: Last Rites/Loved to Death, Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good, Mechanix

2. So Far, So Good…So What! (1988, Capitol Records)

The band’s final full length of the decade, So Far, So Good…So What! is a rock solid release that keeps the energy and approach of the first two albums of the decade and gives a prelude to Megadeth classic Rust in Peace. I won’t lie, even if the album was the debut and really only had to be compared to the follow up, it would still be second on the list.

While it’s a good album on its own, with Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying in the running, this release just wasn’t going to top the list and it’s a close runner-up.. It’s like the missing link between Peace Sells… and Rust in Peace. With that said, this isn’t a throwaway album and it’s definitely worth a listen. I’d say it shows Megadeth growing in consistency with their sound—again, the one of the band’s strongest skills.

Strongest Tracks: Set the World Afire, Mary Jane, 502, In My Darkest Hour

1. Best of the Decade: Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? (1986, Capitol Records)

To a degree, releasing Peace Sells… a year after its debut album sounds like “OK, the first was fine but let’s run it back.” There’s this spike in how good Megadeth are at this point where Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? just sounds like it was supposed to be the debut and So Far So Good…So What! was intended to be a sophomore release. That isn’t to say that the debut was just rushed and sent to Combat Records to release but the sophomore album is just so much better.

That says something about the follow-up as the albums are expected to improve with each release but instead, So Far So Good…—while a really good, pretty quick listen—is more of a respectful follow-up. It was going to be hard to top this release in that decade unless Rust in Peace was dropped in 1988. All of that said, there’s a great selection of tunes here, the band really show off their ability in some songs and just delivery speedy thrash in others—hell, some songs do both! A

Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying is definitely the best of the decade.

Strongest Tracks: Wake Up Dead, Peace Sells, Devil’s Island, Good Mourning/Black Friday

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.