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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Heavy Metal > Multi-Channel Music > Megadeth - Peace Sells... (DVD-Audio)

Megadeth: Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (DVD-Audio)


Music: A-     MLP 5.1: B+     DTS 5.1: B+     PCM Stereo: B



In order to be considered a true metal head of the 80’s one band, besides Metallica, that you must love with all your heart is Megadeth.  Of course that partly lies in the fact that guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine left Metallica in 1983 to pursue his own musical interests and while his contributions never reached the heights that Metallica did, Megadeth still made a dent in the industry.


Where these two groups differ though is that the direction that Megadeth took was a little bit faster tempos and let the instruments become more of an attack rather than a retreat.  The guitars come at you, rather than sooth you in, which is certainly the musical impression that Metallica’s guitarist Kirt Hammett delivers.  That’s not to say that Metallica does not have the riffage and strength, but just a slightly different approach. 


Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? is Megadeth’s second album arriving in the year 1986, which would be the year of Metallica’s Master of Puppets arguably their finest album.  Aside from 1990’s Rust in Peace this would be their best album by a long shot.  After that they would never return to the top even after the 1992 Countdown to Extinction, which is a fan favorite album as well. 


This album alone is a definitive example of early Thrash metal, which would set the blueprint for fellow bands to incorporate a rough edge, but at the same time keep some sort of concept behind the music.  What is interesting is how this type of album would stir up a political view following the year 1985, which was a classic year in the film industry with John Carpenter’s They Live and Martha Coolidge’s Real Genius.  Both those films, while their approach was different, had major traces of going against the Reagan administration, which is precisely the angel that this album comes from.  It’s angry, heartfelt, and serious about its message.  


All of the songs here are from the creative mind of Mustaine with exception of the cover of Willie Dixon’s I Ain’t Superstitious, which adds a more supernatural element into the mix as well.  The band then combined this with a mixed idea about their fascination with the world as damnation and other slanted worldviews.  Some might not take that close of a listen to music of this nature and by today’s standards this seems tame in terms of its heaviness, but at one point this was where rock really became hard. 


It is always interesting to see where DVD-Audio is headed next and some really interesting titles and albums always seem to surface.  DTS Entertainment has been responsible for some of the best product on the market and they have a knack for picking certain titles that are standout and allow the material to transcend into a format like DVD-A with ease. 


The first question that might be on the minds of readers is what does a classic thrash metal band sound like on a newer format like DVD-A?  Not only that, but how does a band that was never interested per se in their sound as much as the message going to work its way into a format like this that exists solely to administer music at its finest and most creative way.  The answers to that are not easy, but I would like to guess that fans of Megadeth will find this to be the best way to experience the band even if you are not familiar with their work or know every guitar lick front and back.


Track Listing:


Wake Up Dead

The Conjuring

Peace Sells

Devil’s Island

Good Morning Black Friday

Bad Omen

I Ain’t Superstitious

My Last Words


The entire 8 tracks of the album are here, offered in the higher resolution DTS 96/24 with the option of the MLP audio track in 5.1 and the PCM 2.0 stereo.  One difficult thing with music of this nature is to find separation in order to create a multi-channel mix that stays close to the original recordings, yet finds new and interesting ways to present that material.  How do you split the guitars so that they are still shredding, yet coming from different places within your soundfield?  That is one of the slight problems with a mix like this is that while the music has a strong presence and the fidelity is very refined, the mix itself is not as interesting as some might hope.  The channel separation is more minimal and the surrounds are not as utilized as certain people prefer. 


The rumbling bass comes through the .LFE channel very nicely and the vocals can be accurately heard through the mid front portion of the soundstage coming mostly from the center and then spread slightly into the front right and left speakers.  During the chorus moments of some songs there is even further placement given to the vocals in the rear channels. 


This is certainly a tester type of DVD-Audio for this material to see how it translates in a format like this and with more tweaking and better technology coming along it won’t be long before something like this will be even better.  There are also two videos provided for Wake Up Dead and Peace Sells.  These are in DTS 5.1 and there are also interviews with the band members as well.  Nothing overly special, but the videos look pretty good and get a nice idea of where music video was heading in the 80’s with montage footage in order to create a concept, especially to loud, fast music. 


One can only hope that DTS Entertainment will continue their strong efforts to expand their catalog with even better titles and add more credit to their already healthy reputation.



-   Nate Goss


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