Megadeth - 1988 So Far So Good.. So What!

edited February 7 in year-1988

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ARTIST: Megadeth
ALBUM: So Far So Good.. So What!
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: CDP 7 48148 2
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Dave Mustaine - vocals, guitar * Jeff Young - guitar * Dave Ellefson - bass * Chuck Behler - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Into The Lungs Of Hell* 02 Set The World Afire* 03 Anarchy In The U.K* 04 Mary Jane* 05 502* 06 In My Darkest Hour* 07 Liar* 08 Hook In Mouth* 09 Into The Lungs Of Hell (Paul Lani Mix)* 10 Set The World Afire (Paul Lani Mix)* 11 Mary Jane (Paul Lani Mix)* 12 In My Darkest Hour (Paul Lani Mix)

WEBLINK: Site Link

Background

When Megadeth broke through with 1986's monumental Peace Sells.. But Who's Buying?' it appeared Dave Mustaine was on the fast track to emulating his one-time Metallica bandmates success.

It was certainly a massive leap from the crude 1985 debut 'Killing is My Business..' and contained a ferocity and technical madness befitting Mustaine's persona.

However it didn't take long for things to dissolve and Mustaine fired guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson, the first of many lineup changes to come. Taking their places were Jeff Young and Chuck Behler respectively, the latter formerly Samuelson's drum tech.

Along with the rest of the 'big four' of Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer, hopes were high for Megadeth's next album in 1988, which many assumed would permanently establish them as a thrash act to be reckoned with.

At the time Mustaine was severely burned out on drugs, hindering his potential in the studio. In fact you can hear it throughout the album, which turned out to be short, unfocused and considerably inferior to 'Peace Sells.'

That's not to say it's without its moments, being a perfect snapshot of the late 80's thrash scene. It just wasn't the blockbuster most expected, despite being a commercial hit.

The Songs

Opening the album with a throwaway instrumental was probably a bad move, 'Into the Lungs Of Hell' hardly the stuff legends are made of, devoid of thrash and simply an opportunity for some guitar solos.

This leads straight into 'Set the World Afire' which is far more acceptable, serving up the fiery riffs and speed Mustaine was known for. The lyrics about a post-apocalyptic future seem fairly routine, but it's the music that does the talking.

In the throwaway realm once again is a cover of 'Anarchy in the U.K.' complete with a guest appearance by the Sex Pistols Steve Jones. This one has never cut it for me, the track seeming like a parody and a complete waste on an album only 8 tracks long as it is.

Also on the lesser end of the spectrum is 'Mary Jane' and its hard rock tendencies. Initially it comes across like a heavier hair band workout, before delving into some harder segments in the latter half. It's a letdown, even the faster segments not coming close to true thrash.

'502' sets that straight, the tale of some road junkie and much faster, although seeming under produced and not reaching full potential.

'In My Darkest Hour' seems to be Mustaine's attempt at equaling Metallica's 'Fade To Black' in terms of structure, starting as a morose ballad suitable for a suicide attempt.

Naturally it increases in intensity, before a thrash blitz during the finale. It's slightly too long at over 6 minutes, but has an epic tinge to it, defining the thrash era with ease.

'Liar' is Mustaine at his snarling and most vicious, with the lyrics scathing and brutal, supposedly concerning former guitarist Poland and his drug habit.

Indeed Mustaine is unhinged here and with lyrics like 'Your brother's a gay singer in a stud leather band' and your girlfriend's got herpes to go with your Hep and AIDS', there was more than a feeling of resentment.

'Hook in Mouth' closes the short 34 minute album with a swipe at the then topical Parents Music Resource Center and their music censoring attempts. It's a reasonable thrasher, one of the more memorable of their career and thankfully closes the album on a high note.

In Summary

Most recognized the album as inconsistent upon release, but it still shifted enough to go gold almost instantly, showing the bands ever increasing popularity.

Megadeth were in good company in 1988 however, with the rest of the aforementioned 'Big Four' all releasing lesser considered albums that year.

The new lineup certainly didn't last long, breaking up that same year in some acrimony, mainly based between Mustaine and Young. Some of the accusations are hilarious, with both blaming each other for a cancelled tour because of heroin dependency. Somehow Young seems more credible on this based on his stories.

There's plenty more to it, but Young and Behler both got the boot regardless, leading to Megadeth's most revered lineup and the classic 'Rust in Peace.'

Taken for what it is during an uncertain period, it's hard to dislike 'So Far, So Good' despite the flaws. It just could have been so much better, although taking anything from 1992 onwards into consideration, it's a veritable classic.


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Comments

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    dtabachndtabachn Buenos Aires, Argentina
    I've just run into a used CD copy of the 1988 first issue. Bought it, listened to it and it sounds just like my old cassette copy I had lost years ago. Way better and rawer than the 2004 remix/remaster.

    A really good album I appreciate more these days, some great songs here as stated by Alun in the review. I even like the 'Anarchy In The U.K' cover, perhaps they were short of originals. Mustaine said guest Steve Jones demanded $100 and some 'suction' to play on the song, and that he ended up giving Jones a phone book and $1,000. Funny recollection.
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    I really, REALLY despise those Megadeth remasters. They totally destroyed the original impact of those early albums. I hate how Spotify only offers those versions. Listening to the Rust in Peace remaster is an insult to my intelligence.
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