8. Megadeth, 'Peace Sells ... but Who's Buying?' (1986)
Three years removed from his dismissal from Metallica, Dave Mustaine still sounds like rage incarnate on Megadeth's second LP, Peace Sells … but Who's Buying? The band had tapped into an otherworldly fury on its debut, 1985's Killing Is My Business ... and Business Is Good – which balanced thrash with lead guitarist Chris Poland's jazzy licks – but they'd blown their recording budget on drugs, leading to a shitty-sounding production. Peace Sells was their redemption: seven taut declarations of contempt for humanity and one tongue-in-cheek, extra-guitar-shreddy cover of Willie Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious." In the months between albums, they'd matured as musicians and had the quality sound to show it. The throbbing, bass-heavy title track showcased Mustaine's mordant wit ("What do you mean I'm not kind?/I'm just not your kind"), and it was catchy enough to become MTV News' intro theme for well over a decade, mirroring the song's video, which features with a teen in the middle of the clip defying his dad by putting on a Megadeth video and saying, "This is the news." "I was living in a warehouse at the time I wrote 'Peace Sells,'" Mustaine recently told Rolling Stone. "We were homeless, and I wrote the lyrics on a wall. I didn't even have paper. And I'm sure once we moved out of there somebody probably carved that wall out and took it." The rest of the record showcases Mustaine's knack for intricate yet hard-hitting compositions and lyrical vitriol. "The Conjuring" contains a real black-magic spell in its lyrics (so says Mustaine) directed at one of the singer's would-be girlfriends, while "Wake Up Dead," with its lyrics about infidelity, explains why he may not be so good with the ladies. And musically, the classical-inspired "Good Mourning/Black Friday," "Bad Omen" and "My Last Words" explode with Wagnerian triumphalism. Throughout it all, Mustaine barks his vocals like he's going for the throat. Whatever inspired the record, this time, it was personal. K.G.