Megadeth-So far, so good, so what?, 1988.
In late 86 and into early 87 Megadeth were rising up to the top of the surging speed metal scene. Their "Peaces sells, but who's buying" album had hit and they had found their audience. Then less than a year after the release of Peace sells news came that guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson were out of the band and they had been replaced by guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Beehler. I remember my friends and I being very surprised at this turn of events. Things seemed to be going well and then half of the band got the boot. To their credit, the band was quickly back in the studio and their third album hit the shelves in early 1988. I raced out to buy it the week it was out. The oddly named, but appealing instrumental "Into the lungs of hell"kicks things off. Then comes "Set the world afire" which is impressive overall, but I was struck by how different it was from anything on the other two albums. Then things get a little strange as they do an exceptionally poor cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK". Then they bring on "Mary Jane" which is just plain dull and almost laughable once you hear Mustaine belting out the chorus. The album picks up a bit with "502" which is probably the closest to the previous two albums that any of these tracks come. I actually like it more now than I did back then. "In my darkest hour" is next and it's not the complete misfire that "Mary Jane" was, but it really feels like it's not quite fleshed out. I get the feeling Mustaine wants it to be this pained, dark song , but instead it feels uneven and overlong. "Liar" comes on and it's got some energy, but it might be a bit thin in places. It's a song that I enjoy enough while it's on, but that fades once the track ends because it's not terribly memorable. Then the album ends on a major high note with "Hook in mouth" which is just a terrific, fast song and the band puts everything into it. I like the album slightly more than I did in 1988, but ultimately not great as an album although it has a few very good songs. Probably falls in the middle of their albums as it's still better than most of the post "Countdown to extinction" albums. I don't know if the album suffered from the line-up changes, a rushed writing, recording schedule or just a lack of musical direction. Young and Beehler would be out of the band less than a year and a half later and Megadeth would see better days in the early 1990's.