|Classic Review: Megadeth - So Far, So Good... So What!|
|So Far, So Good... So What!|
Label: Capitol Records
Year released: 1988
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: August 4, 2004
Reviewed by: Bahamut 502
for:So Far, So Good... So What!
Up until the mid to late 90s, when Megadeth began a course toward the mainstream, 'So Far, So Good, So What' was widely considered the weak album in the band's early canon. Being sandwiched between two masterpieces --'Peace Sells' and 'Rust in Peace' -- only exacerbated this tendency. But, because of the band's change of direction (and back, depending on who you ask) in recent years, many fans (possibly from a lack of satisfying material from the band) have returned to this album with less critical ears.
For years the main argument from fans and critics was that SFSGSW lacked musical focus because of the departure of two talented members, Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson. And for good reason. Dave Mustaine was always the primary songwriter in the band's early days, but having a top-notch lead guitarist with no 'official' song input can make great songwriters seem brilliant. The lack of a fantastic lead guy is a big reason for what's going on with SFSGSW. Jeff Young, who played lead and rhythm on this album, is no Poland or Marty Friedman. He's a mercenary guitarist, and that's a big reason this disc sounds like it's straight out of a creative vacuum.
But the reason so many MegadetH fans come back to this album is because a handful of these songs sound so much better live. SFSGSW suffered from an overdose of reverb during production, which gives the guitars such an echo-like sound. When played live, songs like the widely under appreciated 'Set the World Afire', the blistering '502', and the PMRC-scathing 'Hook in Mouth' sound fresh off more-inspired albums. The weak spots surface with songs like 'Anarchy in the U.K.', (thankfully the band's last attempt to fuse a punk or blues cover into a thrash album) and Liar, which is essentially Dave ranting about his partnership with Poland gone sour.
"In My Darkest Hour", whose subject matter is still the subject of much debate among Deth fans, is probably the most inspired piece of songwriting on this album, showing how much the departure of Poland and Samuelson hurt the band. Repeating 'Peace Sells' is no easy task. Thankfully, though, Mustaine managed to say afloat long enough through substance abuse to team up with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza for the epic "Rust in Peace."
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