So Far, So Good… So What!


Capitol, 1988

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When it comes to Dave Mustaine and the revolving door of band members known as Megadeth, one can never say that his music was too happy.

Following the firings of guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson (and while continuing to battle his own personal demons), Mustaine regrouped his band with two new members and released what was, at the time, their angriest album, So Far, So Good… So What! It also proved to be their best album to that point in their career.

Opening with an instrumental seemed to be an odd choice, but “Into The Lungs Of Hell” proves to set the stage for the rest of the album perfectly. With the new pair of guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Behler joining returning bassist David Ellefson, Mustaine and crew release an onslaught of power that happens to be quite beautiful in its own way… and it paves the way for “Set The World Afire.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Simply put, everything that Mustaine and Megadeth had been working towards to that point culminates in this one song. Featuring the strongest vocal from Mustaine to date, powerful guitar lines and strong songwriting, it is a nearly six-minute assault on all of your senses (and you end up wishing it lasted longer).

So Far, So Good… So What! is nearly derailed by the next three songs, however. “Anarchy In The U.K.” is another questionable choice of a cover track—honestly, why Megadeth needed to do any covers is a point of contention—and even a guitar solo from ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones can’t fully save it. “Mary Jane” is weakened by burying Mustaine’s vocal too far in the mix, and “502” is just one weird choice of a track that concludes with a series of drum fills by Behler that stretch on ad infinitum.

Fortunately, Mustaine and crew not only get the album back on track for the closing three songs, they save the powerful material for the end. “In My Darkest Hour” remains one of the most introspective songs Mustaine has ever written that doesn’t lose any of its power, while “Liar” and “Hook In Mouth” all make the listener wish that these songs would never end.

For all it gets right (and even what it gets wrong), So Far, So Good… So What! somehow tends to get overlooked in Megadeth’s discography—quite possibly because it’s sandwiched between Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying and Rust In Peace, two albums that define Megadeth. But to write this album off not only does it a disservice, it would deprive the listener of the experience of the power that Megadeth had, and where their development as a band had taken them to this point in their career.

Young and Behler would be gone before the next album, continuing the tradition of side musicians in Megadeth having a revolving seat. But So Far, So Good… So What! definitely shows that Megadeth was growing as a band, and is a powerful effort that is begging to be rediscovered.

Rating: B

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