Great Metal Albums of 1988: Megadeth- So Far, So Good, So What

After a couple of lite metal albums, I thought I would go full on thrash with Megadeth’s “So Far, So Good, So What” album. Just like in 1986, what is now known as ‘The Big 4,” put out cool albums in 1988, although I won’t say they were pivotal in the careers of any of the Big 4 bands. And though it’s not intentional, having covered the albums of the other three bands, Megadeth is the last of the group whose album I’m writing about. I did the same in 1986 and I swear it just happened that way.

Megadeth went through some lineup changes following their previous blockbuster, “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” album and this one. Drummer Gar Samuelson and guitarist Chris Poland were dismissed from the band for disruptive behaviour. Dave Mustaine claimed that Poland was selling the band’s equipment in order to score drugs. Samuelson was replaced by the band’s drum technician, Chuck Behler, although Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo considered joining the band. Mustaine would go through a few guitarists before sticking with Jeff Young. Apparently, Slash was considered.

“So Far, So Good, So What” begins with a lot of fanfare on the instrumental “Into the Lungs of Hell.” I like this song because it shoots down the Duranie belief that heavy metal musicians can only play three chords. It opens with a medieval sounding intro and goes a bit progressive at some points with the guitar even venturing into Joe Satriani territory. However, it retains the aggression which Megadeth has been known for. That aggression increases on “Set the World Afire.” It begins with a fast and furious intro slowing down to some cool riffs and the always sinister voice of Dave. It’s the first song he wrote after being fired from Metallica.

One song which has been the focus of much debate is the cover of the Sex Pistols classic, “Anarchy in the UK.” Some say that this was evidence that Dave was running out of fresh ideas while others praised the band’s cover of the song. I agree with the latter, it’s a great cover of a classic and bringing in Sex Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones, to play on it was, in my view, a stroke of genius. Megadeth go a bit concept on “Mary Jane,” which is a song about a witch who was killed by her father and cursed so that if anyone disturbs her resting place, they would suffer instant death. There does seem to be a lot happening at once in the song, the lead guitar in the background borders on distracting but that improves when that goes and the band gets down to business.

If you have ever been pulled over by the cops, then you might appreciate the theme of “502.” It’s the California code for drink driving, something Mustane would get busted for in March of the following year. It’s a fast paced speed metal song with some good guitar work. This is one you can play when driving down the highway at 90mph. If you don’t have a car, then it’s also good for a mosh pit. “In My Darkest Hour” was written in response to the death of Cliff Burton. The mood is set with the gloomy acoustic guitar intro followed by some harsh power chords. This song would have fit well on Metallica’s “Black Album” but Dave’s sinister voice puts the Megadeth stamp on it. The rhythm guitar on this song is very catchy, hypnotic even and it gets my vote for song of the album, especially with the guitar solo.

“Liar” is directed specifically at Chris Poland and Dave’s belief that he was selling equipment for drugs. It does have a cool guitar riff trade off at the beginning and the rhythm section really shines on it. I do love the line, “Your girlfriend got herpes” and the guitar solo which follows the line “You fuckin’ liar.” Bassist David Ellefson lays down a great bass line on the closer “Hook in Mouth.” The line is backed up with some cool thrash metal riffs and a guitar solo tradeoff. Pure thrash and the best way to end this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Into the Lungs of Hell
  2. Set the World Afire
  3. Anarchy in the UK
  4. Mary Jane
  5. 502
  6. In the Darkest Hour
  7. Liar
  8. Hook in Mouth


Dave Mustaine- lead vocals, guitars

David Ellefson- bass, backing vocals

Jeff Young- guitars

Chuck Behler- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

Steve Jones- guitar on “Anarchy in the UK”

It has been said that “So Far, So Good, So What” is largely overlooked in regards to other Megadeth albums. I admit that I am guilty of this as well, so I am glad that I went back and had a great thrash out.

Next post: Riot- Thundersteel

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18 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1988: Megadeth- So Far, So Good, So What”

  1. I have this. I don’t really get into Megadeth for real until Rust In Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a good album and the fact that this one is sandwiched between “Rust in Peace” and “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” could be why it gets overlooked. Sort of Megadeth’s version of “Point of Entry.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always felt that there’s something about this album that gives it a lack of cohesion. At its best (In My Darkest Hour) it’s astonishingly good, but there are too many throwaway tracks for me. They nailed it on the next one though!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if it is just the time I got it or whatever, but I have always utterly loved this album. I can’t be objective about it at all. Its just magical to me and I would often rather listen to this one than even some of the more praised ones. Probably their most fun album.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s unrefined technical thrash metal. And I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really good one that probably suffers some from being sandwiched between those two all-time classics. It’s short, to the point and Megadeth just kind of do whatever they want here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I seem to get Megadeath and Anthrax mixed up. Same type of music I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I need to start getting the older stuff. I have really enjoyed the last two albums so time to start working my way back.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Always enjoyed this album, and appreciated their cover of Anarchy in the UK. You’re right to say how cool it was they got Steve Jones to guest on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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