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You know you're bored when you're writing album reviews for the archives on a fucking airplane on the way back from Poland, while using your iPhone because you lack the space to use your laptop. Also, I'm doing this on the "Notes" application, as I would rather not pay for WiFi. Anyway, I have multiple series of discography reviews going on at the moment, but decided I'd go ahead and begin one for Megadeth. As we all know, Megadeth is the birth child of guitar mastermind Dave Mustaine after his exile from Metallica. We all know the story of how Metallica kicked him out due to his heavy substance abuse and sent him on his way on a bus. He formed Megadeth originally as "revenge" and retaliation against Metallica. He wanted to be bigger than Metallica. He wanted to be better. Sadly, his music never reached the popularity of Metallica's. They've had a few albums that have sold over the platinum status but Metallica's worst albums even sold a few million copies. Megadeth's last record to sell well at all was 1999's "Risk", which went gold. This is unfortunate, really, because from a musical standpoint, Megadeth has usually been superior to Metallica. Sure, I enjoy some Metallica albums more than certain Deth ones, but I find I enjoy Megadeth much more overall. Sorry for the long introduction but seeing as this was the first album, I figured I needed to start out saying a bit more.
"Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!" was Megadeth's first album, released in 1985. By this time, Metallica had already released two albums, and Anthrax and Slayer were already making a name for themselves as well for the budding thrash metal scene. Megadeth came out of the gate a bit late but seeing as Mustaine was an original guitarist in Metallica, he already had his foot firmly planted in the thrash scene. This album was created to show Metallica just how good a guitarist Mustaine was because apparently, his former band was claiming he wasn't a good guitar player. Obviously that's a crock of shit accusation because his skills are absolutely highlighted here. It's interesting how a band that was heavily under the influence of drugs could create music as solid and proficient as their first four albums. Although this is probably my least favorite Megadeth album of their original thrash metal era, it was the first, and therefore, it is one of the most important.
The sound here is extremely raw in comparison to the albums that would follow it. They originally had a budget of 8,000$ to record and produce this album. However, over half of this money went towards drugs, alcohol, and food. Thus, they kind of screwed themselves and had no choice but to fire their original producer. This caused Mustaine and Megadeth to produce the album themselves. The album cover was primitively done and, as I said before, the production suffered a bit. It seems sloppy at times and that's the main reason my score of this album dropped to an 83. Even so, the musicianship and songwriting is great and for its time it was highly impressive. Like I said earlier, I don't see how these guys could have been constantly messed up on drugs and alcohol and still wrote this music. The guitars here are usually faster paced and almost sound more along the lines of speed metal than they do thrash metal. Don't get me wrong, these songs are very thrashy. But the speed metal aspects can't be ignored. "Last Rights / Loved to Deth" is the first song on the album and begins with a classical piano and then flies into a furious, fast riff and aggressive drumming. Unfortunately, while the playing is proficient, these 8 songs all seem to blend together a bit too much for their own good. Even the cover of the classic pop hit "These Boots", with its perverse lyrical content deviating from the original lyrics, is a fast song with impressive soloing that just sounds like everything else on here. "Rattlehead" is a fan favorite and is one of the faster songs on the album. I feel like I'm repeating myself by saying these songs don't do too much to deviate from one another but unfortunately that's just the reality of it. The album closes with the classic "Mechanix". You remember "The Four Horsemen" from Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" released two years before this album? Well, originally, Metallica had a song called "The Mechanix" that evolved into "Horsemen". They slowed it down a bit, added a mid-section and a melodic guitar solo, and it ended up being a bit over 7 minutes long. Here, this song is closer to the original, but is sped up even more and comes in at over 4 minutes. There is no melodic mid section and honestly I feel "Horsemen" is the better of these two. Yeah, yeah sue me. "Kill 'Em All" was superior to this album in many ways and I may get shit on for that but it's what I feel. The one thing I can say here, however, is this album is far more energetic than "Kill" was, probably due to its break-neck speed.
I've never been a huge fan of Mustaine's vocals. I can take them or leave them. Here, Dave offers, in my opinion, one of his most lackluster performances. He just doesn't sound that good to me. This hurts my score of the album a bit as well but musically, it's proficient enough to keep me engaged, and it has been played fairly often from my collection for years.
The drums are very tight and well played even thought the production is a bit shoddy. They follow the traditional thrash/speed metal formula and sound better than most of what Lars Ulrich had ever done. I feel there is more variation here in the drums department. It makes up for the overall similarity of the music and doesn't completely stick to the thrashy gallop so many bands overuse. It's mainly just a mixture of such, as well as mid-paced rock drumming and some nice fills. "Rattlehead" and "These Boots" contain, most likely, the most impressive drum work on the album.
So here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The first installment of many Megadave albums to come. It's definitely good and was highly important in establishing Megadeth as a relevant band in heavy metal overall as well as awarding them a position as one of the "Big Four" alongside Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. Dave and co. surely improved on the following album but seeing how this album was produced and how screwed up the band was, this was a good start.
“Killing is My Business” was fueled as much by all the drugs the band could get their hands on as it was Dave Mustaine’s bottomless reservoir of rage because he got kicked out of Metallica. Given those two things, it’s kind of a surprise that this is one of my favorite Megadeth albums.
All the money that should have gone toward producing this album probably ended up as a LOT of puddles of vomit. So we’re kind of off to a rocky start. This album sounds like it was recorded in a shed. With one microphone. That was 50 feet away from the shed. That was on the original recording, though. The 2001 re-release fixed most of those original sound problems, but it really doesn’t make “KIMB” sound better, just a lot less shitty…kind of like it was recorded with second-hand gear in a garage.
I’m generally cool with music that has more organic-sounding production, but there’s a tiny little asterisk next to that preference: it kind of only works when the music lets it. Less technical styles of music (punk, black metal, etc.) benefit from it because of the raw energy and lack of precision those kinds of music have. “KIMB” is just too technical to be charming with below-average production values. So the overall sound tends to suffer on “KIMB” because Dave and co. snorted up all their production money. At least the music is still solid, right?
Like, half right. There are mostly legitimately great songs here. The title track, “Loved to Death,” “The Skull Beneath the Skin,” “Rattlehead” and “Looking Down the Cross” are all amazing and classics of the genre. “Mechanix” is just a faster “The Four Horsemen,” and no, I’m not really impressed by that. The reason the song is even on here is about as subtle as the lyrics (did you know they’re about sex?): “Rawr, Metallica made Dave’s FEELINGS hurt!” Metallica did it better.
I don’t know what the fuck “These Boots” is doing here. Yeah, Dave changed some lyrics, but it just sounds like a pissy little breakup letter. And on the re-release, every lyric that was changed is literally bleeped out. The music is still generally OK, but it's so hard to get past that "BEEEEEEEEP" every other lyric. So…yeah. Pretty skippable.
Megadeth never were wordsmiths, and their earlier stuff is…God damn it, it’s really bad sometimes. “KIMB” has songs about the Punisher from Marvel Comics (“Killing is my Business”), and that stupid killer bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“The Chosen Ones”). Two things:
1) If you’re going to write songs about that kind of stuff, you better make sure people know you have a sense of humor. Real quick, imagine Dave Mustaine telling a joke. HAHAHAHA. You can’t because he’s an angry, humorless man, and Megadeth is not a jokey band to begin with. There’s literally nothing about either of those songs that indicates they’re supposed to be tongue-in-cheek…and speaking of which:
2) Writing metal songs about comic book characters and killer bunnies without some kind of humor or self-awareness is basically the dweebiest thing you can fucking do. Metal, Monty Python, and comic books are all kind of dweeby to begin with (sorry about your rage, but this isn’t exactly a truth bomb I’m dropping here), but when you combine them the way it’s done here…I swear to God, you can almost smell the Doritos and Mountain Dew. Hey, does anyone know if a song can grow a neckbeard and live in its parent’s basement?
Despite the production and stupid-ass lyrics, the music, as I’ve said, is very well done. The thing that I think impresses me the most about “KIMB” is its level of musical maturity compared to Megadeth’s later releases. This is by far the most mature-sounding debut album of any of the Big Four. Megadeth had a lot less far to travel, musically, than a lot of other early thrash bands (*cough* Anthrax *cough*) between its debut and sophomore albums, and I have nothing but respect for that.
“Killing is my Business” is a good record, but it gives up some seriously easy points.
Since I'll be finishing with my Slayer series tomorrow (hitting the World Painted Blood album and maybe a few of the singles if I feel like it before I write a prayer book in review form for Haunting the Chapel) I found it fitting to start on a Megadeth series today and cover all the big 4. I'll start by saying I won't mention production much like I did with Slayer as most of my listening will be done with Spotify which only carries Megadeth's remasters unlike Slayer where they have the original recordings. Just doesn't seem like it would be fair to judge classic albums by modern remasters that may have improved or castrated their original sound.
As pointed out by another reviewer it seems this album was made to outdo Metallica. Honestly this seems like the only way for Megadeth to have gained much traction. They came out in the middle of thrash revolution, the only bands who had definitive futures at this point were Exodus for practically inventing the genre and Metallica for putting it in a form that would reach global marketability. Megadeth had to prove themselves superior to their peers as well as get something that would make them unique. Add to this Dave was just kicked out of one of thrash's most successful bands at the time which made him a hard sell with producers and Metallica claimed to have kicked him out due to him being a drunk (nasty, nasty feud, glad its over), hearing that Kirk played Dave's riffs except faster on Kill Em All probably supported that rumor.
So that leaves Megadeth having to claim their place in the growing thrash scene and prove that they aren't headed by a talentless drunk. What better way then to outplay Metallica in every way. Faster songs, more aggressive and far more technical. Mission accomplished boys, your first album and you've already both outdone Metallica and made a classic. You've also kept it all within reason without out doing yourselves (some of their later material is too flashy and show offish to really work)
The only issues performance wise is vocals and chemistry. Dave gets the job done but he is not an amazing singer, he is emotive though, enough to spit out venom and fire in his performance. He simply cannot be replaced even if his vocals fall a bit flat here and there. The band don't completely mesh yet. It isn't a major problem but its a bit of rust on what would otherwise be a well oiled riff machine, they all fight for attention and to show off. The riffs are fast and calculated with a hint of professionalism. Like whirlwinds ripping their way through the ears of the ill prepared. The solos and rhythm sections too are fast and calculated, shredding technical pieces with a good level of melody added in.
The bass is more audible and utilized then is average. Generally bass just rounds out the sound and/or adds a backbone, here the bass player gets to show his chops, do some flashy stuff of his own. The drummer uses some jazz skills to great effect. I may be a total Metallica fanboy but Lars can suck a duck against this guy. He even manages to pound it out amongst all the technical aspects. The cover track isn't very strong, I'm not sure if it was just the remaster or not but it kept bleeping the 'walking' lyrics. It was obnoxious.
Standout tracks: The Skull Beneath the Skin, Rattlehead and Mechanix
This has some really good songs, but it also has some much weaker songs. The production is bad even on the remaster, and it adds to the general sloppy vibe. This is the first line-up for Megadeth, and though it made a masterpiece later, this is just mediocre as a full listen.
I'll start with the positive. The first few songs are very good, and would have felt fine on their succeeding masterstroke. Supposedly, Mustaine's guitar rhythms were very different from what was normal at that time. I can't say for sure, but I will say that most of them are quite good and varied. The opening riff to Looking Down the Cross is amongst my favorites by them. The drumming is the last positive I will name. His jazzy style is very enjoyable for me, and I find the sloppy nature of the production only enhances his creativity.
Next, the neutral. Mustaine employs his snarl here, but it's different than it would be later. He's younger, so his voice is higher pitched than it was even on the follow-up. As well, he has a drunken character to his voice. It's not bad, and it fits the the sloppy nature of the songs, but it's not really good either. He doesn't seem to use the different voices he became known for, as these are all relatively samey. His lyrics don't have the focus of some of his later works. This has no cynical outlook on society or government, and one of them's about a bunny, but most are ok. The solos aren't what they would later be, but they're alright. I can't easily tell who is soloing when, but it doesn't matter too much. While the bass isn't as audible or interesting as he would later be, he's still easier for me to hear than most bassists.
Now, the negatives. For one, the production is abysmal. The original is almost as bad as Reek, which says quite a bit. Even the remaster is worse than any album they would do later. I'm rather impressed by how people could even tell if the riffing was ahead of it's time. The next problem is how quickly the album falls off. Nothing after track three is even above-average. The cover and The Mechanix are just godawful. I get why hardcore Megadeth fans will defend this song, but if wasn't for the Four Horseman, Mustaine himself probably wouldn't have bothered with this song. As I alluded to earlier, the lyrics are also pretty bad on a couple of songs, which combined with occasionally loud vocals, can make for an unpleasant listen. Toss in that the album is short to begin with, and this should have just been an EP.
Someone could complain that I'm not being fair considering the rating I gave to Metal Church. It's true that album has a big quality dip as well, but that was distinctly different. That had two metal classics to kick it off, and then it was followed by average to a little above songs. Nothing on there, save possibly the ballad, was bad. This has three good to very good songs, followed by five mostly below-average ones. Whatever could have happened to make these later songs passable didn't. What score it does get is due to those first three and some scattered riffs that are good on their own. I would recommend a thrash fan ripping the first three songs, and pretending that this was a short EP.
Certain parallels shall forever be drawn between Megadeth and Metallica but it is only on the debut of the former that the two cross over. Killing Is My Business was an album that came about following Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's forced departure from Metallica. This is one release that you can not forget due to its balls to the wall attitude found throughout. Whereas Metallica were slightly more stream lined and always had a degree of melody to them, Killing Is My Business is a release that keeps its foot firmly on the accelerator and hand firmly to your throat.
The reasons for Mustaine's departure vary depending on who you are to ask but one thing is certain-his removal from Metallica was a blessing in disguise. Who knows if he had remained in that band what the out come would have been. Would there ever have been Master Of Puppets or Rust In Peace-two of the best known and most highly valued thrash metal releases? Both bands went on to release a good run of classic albums but of the two it was Megadeth who started out the best. Their debut is a slab of pure unadulterated speed metal unlike anything out there with intense guitar work and unrivaled fury behind the vocals. And all this starts off with... A piano line?
Loved To Deth is a great way to begin an album of such colossal magnitude as Killing Is My Business with the titular words forever remaining embedded in your mind after you first hear Dave's tortured voice spew them out. After the brief piano introduction this dives straight into the fastest material Megadeth have ever recorded that still maintains a fair degree of technicality that they would expand upon following this album. When you look past the undeniably fuzzy production (it really is awful) this album is an absolute gem that delivers nothing but ass kicking songs. Rattlehead in particular sticks out as a song that is somewhat in line with the NWOBHM style of guitar work and the numerous lead licks and guitar solos that would later form the basis for a number such as the title track to Peace Sells.
One song that every Megadeth and Metallica fan will have conflicting opinions on is Mechanix. This track weaves a twisted web that speaks of having sex with a girl and uses various metaphors relating to cars and mechanic work. It is not the lyrics that stick out however, nor the riff work but in fact it is the story behind it. This was one of four songs that Dave Mustaine wrote whilst with Metallica that the band went on to use on their first studio album, Kill Em All, under the name of The Four Horsemen. In a drugged up rage Dave decided that he was going to strike back at his old band by re-recording this track with his new band Megadeth under its original name with the original lyrics. No matter which version you personally prefer there is no denying the impact that comes with hearing such a lightning fast collection of riffs and demented vocal performance from Dave.
The aforementioned problem with the production is a major set back for those first getting into this album, particularly if you are not well versed with foul production jobs already. Similar to many thrash debuts, this is a low budget release due to the fact the band spent much of the original allocated budget on drugs and booze so they were left with just a small chunk of what they were originally granted. This low cost also spread onto the album art work which was not in line with Dave's original visions for the art work but instead, quite frankly, sucks. The guitar work on here is fuzzy and the bass is scarcely audible whilst the drums carry a flat tone and the cymbals just destroy the mixing job completely. Dave's vocals are also mixed too loud so that everything that was already difficult to hear now becomes nigh on impossible to distinguish.
The vocal performance on here is a subject of much debate as with many albums by this band. Some love Dave's overly nasally voice and his characteristic snarl as they feel it perfectly embodies what he strives to achieve with the lyrical content-the snark, sarcastic, snide lyricism that he loves to utilize. On here however he really does not do a good job. Whilst on later releases he is not exactly the best singer of his generation he is at least listenable and suits the style of music a lot better with much lower tones to his voice and a considerable amount of force behind making himself sound as aggressive as he possibly can. On Killing Is My Business he feels weak and usually very whiny and whilst the anger is there it is not used nearly as well as on other Megadeth releases.
The guitar work on Killing Is My Business is its real selling point. It is fast and straight to the point with no strings attached-the riffs are as quick as one can imagine and twice as creative; the soloing flies by at the speed of light with numerous solos per song and the dual guitar assault works very well. The riffs to songs such as The Skull Beneath The Skin and Mechanix stick out as some of the best. The guitar work on here is almost always thundering along as fast as humanly possible so that the notes are very hard to make out; especially when the production is factored in. The drumming keeps a solid beat whilst never sticking out as being particularly creative but is still nice to hear and helps the music move along at a quick pace. Not a lot of comments can really be made on the bass given that it is completely inaudible, buried beneath a sandbag of riffs.
This is a solid debut from Megadeth that combines so many good riffs with a whole bucket of aggression that it is hard to over look this in discussions about the best thrash debut.
Dave Mustaine having just had four of his songs stolen from him and every guitar solo he’d ever written played by a guitarist that isn’t half creative or talented as himself, he’s pissed off. So what does he do? He finds a bassist and two incredibly talented jazz fusion musicians and writes a genuinely angry and pissed off thrash metal album that is faster, better, and more complex than anything his previous band had done. The newly recruited jazz musicians are Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson, whose different style of playing brought an entirely different feel to this thrash metal album. Although Dave actually plays most of the solos on this album Chris’ style seemed to have rubbed off on him in his song writing. The songs he wrote on this album are more technical than anything previously played by a thrash metal band, some even describe them as sounding jazzy. Not only is Megadeth’s Killing is my Business one of the best thrash debuts, it is also one of the best thrash metal records.
Not only is Dave pissed off about Metallica, he’s also pissed that he can’t get this girl named Diana Aragon. So he writes what he considers a love song. The first song on the album Last Rites/Loved to Death is about a guy who falls in love with a girl but the girl doesn’t love him so he kills her and no one can have her. Dave’s a pretty romantic guy. Dave has explained the guitar part of the song as expressing the sexual frustration of being denied who he wanted. It is one of the few thrash metal songs I can say has real emotion in it.
The title track is a kinda silly song written about the comic book The Punisher. A hit man is hired to assassinate someone and when he is done also kills his employer who was marked for assassination also. The songs riffs and drumming are incredible and it is one of the few songs on this album to feature a Chris Poland solo, which is incredible also. Some people say Dave’s voice sounds like a wounded duck but on songs like this one no one’s voice could have done better.
The next two songs Skull Beneath The Skin and Rattlehead are about Vic Rattlehead, Megadeth’s mascot. Rattlehead is the other song on the album that features a Chris Poland solo. Chris Poland plays the guitar licks between each verse. When Chris was younger he suffered from a finger injury that severed one of his tendons on his left hand. This injury allowed Chris to play notes physically impossible to reach by other players on this song.
People always associate Megadeth with politically and serious lyrics,, but most of the songs on this album are actually pretty silly. Chosen Ones was written by Dave Mustaine about the Killer Rabbit from Monty Python’s In Search Of The Holy Grail movie. The guitar riffing is jerky and shows some punk influence. Dave Ellefson plays a bass solo near the end of the song one of the only times he really stands out of this album.
Looking Down The Cross puts the album back into a serious mood. In this song Dave puts himself in Jesus’ shoes. The song starts out sad sounding and builds up to a very angry sounding end. This is one of the best songs on the album although they are all good.
Sadly the next song can’t quite stand up to Looking down The Cross, Dave being the kind of guy he is, wasn’t gonna let Metallica take his song from him. So he recorded Mechanix, which has the same riffs and solos as Four Horseman, without the added slowed tempo part of Four Horseman. Dave sings his original lyrics about his job at a gas station and fantasizing about all the rich pretty girls that would come by. Dave wanted to prove that his new band was better and faster than Metallica so he decided to play this song way too fast. The entire song sounds sloppy like they did it all in one take. The drums even go off beat for a little bit. Megadeth didn’t seem to put the time they put into other songs into this song. If played more neatly it would be a great track but the way it is it is one of the weakest on the album.
Mechanix is not the weakest track on the album, These Boots is. These Boots is a cover song and it doesn’t fit in with the album at all. It is a truly bad song and without it the album would have nearly no flaws, but sadly it was included and the album has a hole in its almost perfect track list.
The songs on the album are all nearly flawless but the production is lacking. Dave was given 8000 dollars to record an album and he wasted half of it on booze and dope so he had very little money left for recording time. They had to record this album fast and that makes the production sloppy. On the original recording you can barely hear Gar’s bass drum. If you are looking to get this album I recommend the remastered version. Other than that, it is a great album to own if you like thrash metal, it has only three flaws, the sloppiness of Mechanix, the terrible filler song These Boots, and the production quality on the original release.
Everybody knows the story of Dave Mustaine in Metallica, his departing, the quarrels etc. though there are some secrets and unexplained reasons in my opinion. When he formed his own band, Megadeth, things were a bit difficult for them since many thought he was to blame for what had happened and that he was a nasty character. But that didn’t stop him. Shortly after, Megadeth debut was released with the inspired title Killing is my Business…and Business is Good! The skull on the cover appeared in later albums as well.
Their first attempt possessed all the elements of a thrash metal album: rage, speed and irritating mood. It contains eight primitive compositions dedicated to the blood-thirsty god of speed/thrash who at that time had many demands. The quality of the music was quite good considering the facts but was not supported by the awful, lousy production. I could say that Killing… continues from where Kill ‘Em All left off. It is rough, speed metal, full of nervous riffs and solos and Mustaine’s weird vocals. The truth is that he chose to sing only because he had to. So, we should not have many expectations from this album. Let’s just settle to the fact that it serves the art of headbanging very well and lets out a great amount of energy.
The opening song, Last Rites/Loved to Death begins with a strange piano intro but speeds up with fast riffs and a mood to kick you in the ass. None of the musicians is a virtuoso but who needs technique, we are not talking progressive here but mad-thrashing metal. Surely this one is a song that stands out. As for Mustaine’s vocals, you’ll either love them or hate them! It would have been better if they had just waited a little longer to find a proper singer to fit the songs.
The self-titled one is also very good, exposing once again their will to kill through their music and not feed your head with melodies and complicated stuff. The fast guitars, smashing simple drumming and angry singing are found in each and every song of this album. The speedy tempos leave you no time to breathe and grab you from the neck. Still, as said before, the songs asphyxiate due to the poor production and that’s too bad for compositions like Rattlehead that could have been so much better. There is also Mechanix, a song based on the structure of The Four Horsemen, but with a blacker mood and feeling. However the cover of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots is a very bad choice and very bad played as well.
Summing-up, Megadeth do a pretty decent work, killing every sense of melody and harmony in their music. Killing… is not a bad album at all but it lacks something. Maybe they needed to have paid more attention during the song-writing until some new ideas had come up. Another disadvantage is that many people make the mistake to compare it with Mettalica’s debut which is very unjust for Megadeth who only want to play good music for their future fans. The controversy that started from the very beginning mostly harmed them. Still the future looks good and that was proved a year later. Their fans surely possess their debut. The rest should definitely check it out if you like noisy metal.
Being the latest of the big four debuts, this is easily the most developed. After being kicked out of Metallica a couple years earlier, Dave Mustaine had alot of anger, and it shows. Even on the more humorous songs in this album, a sense of anger is throughout. Dave Mustaine pulls out some incredible chops, and fuels every solo with pure aggression, he also commits a fitting, if weaker, voice to the music. Gar Samuelson also provides some complex drum tracks, while Chris Poland adds some atmospheric solos to the mix.
The first thing you notice when you put in the CD is the piano. Some would think this doesn't fit the music, but Dave quickly shows as it provides a haunting opposite to what the entire album is filled with, anger. Last Rites (containing the piano) seeps this emotion of betrayal and blind rage through every pore, and this sort of emotion is heard on every song except the less spectacular Chosen Ones. Of particular note is The Skull Beneath The Skin. This song is just plain evil, with almost snake-like solos, incredible vocals from Dave and lyrics that explain how the mascot came about. My favorite song from the album, Looking Down The Cross, is from the eyes of Jesus, as he's about to go to the cross and says his last words. This song is clearly the hottest of the inferno, and provides interesting lyrics that condemn the church for all the sins they've committed.
So far, this has been basically a rant about how good this album is (Don't blame me, it's really that good.) but every album has a negative. And the biggest one is related to the strongest part, the themes of the music. While each song provides a clear representation of its material, it doesn't have much consistency. Skull Beneath The Skin, containing lyrics about sacrifice goes straight into Rattlehead which is about head-banging, Looking Down The Cross goes straight into a song about a gas-station mechanic banging girls (Yeah, that's what it's really about, sounded better before, huh?). This is jarring, and keeps the album from full listens. Two songs from this album just aren't as good as they could be. Chosen Ones just doesn't perform as well across the board, and Rattlehead seems like it could be so much better.
Overall, this is an excellent album, and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes thrash metal.
Highlights: Last Rites/Loved To Deth, Looking Down The Cross
Dave Mustaine has always to be known of man with quite a temper and after Metallica booted him, Dave was a bit angry and this transformed into the Megadeth debut aptly titled "Killing is my Business...and Business is Good." Dave was out to prove that he was the fastest and the best and there was no better way to start out. This is pure, raw thrash at its finest and a must have for any thrasher and Megadeth fan.
The opening track shows what's about to come in this album. From the creepy little piano intro to the blazing guitar in "Last Rites", this track is head rattler for sure. Chris Poland and Dave Mustaine make quite the guitar team with the perfect combination of Dave thrashing and Poland bringing some melody into it. The beginning of "Skull Beneath the Skin" is one of the best openers of any song featuring wicked, crawling guitar playing and the song bursts out into a solo and is one the best songs on this album. The pace changes though with "Looking Down the Cross" which is a brooding track and gives quite a scary atmosphere to it which makes it sound like something you would hear at a black funeral, not that I have been to one, but this is what I would imagine it like.
"Mechanix" is the track that "The Four Horseman" by Metallica orginally was. "Mechanix" has more speed to it and would tear the other version to shreds based on pure speed, but a person might like the "The Four Horseman" better because it has more arrangements and goes a bit slower, but you cannot go wrong with both. "These Boots" is the controversial song on here becausing Megadeth took Lee Hazlewood's popular song and basically made a thrashy, dirty lyric version of it and Lee did not take kindly to it. In the 2002 remaster version, some of the words are bleeped out in this song. I'm not sure if it was like that on the orginal, but that's how it is on this version.
Speaking of the 2002 remastered version, the album sounds much better obviously. and the raw, poor production can be overlooked because the album sounds so much better and cleaner than the original so make sure to buy the 2002 version.
In the end, this is an album that should be bought and should be bought right now. You will not be disappointed as this is a shining star in the thrash world. Dave is fierce with the vocals and it translates to the fierce guitar shredding. So buy this. Love this. Get this.
If someone who was an expert at the general history of thrash was by some odd coincidence not familiar with MegaDeth listened to this album, he would probably conclude that it was recorded in 1984 and composed a few years before. Like many of the first offerings in the thrash genre, every song is lightning fast and loaded with flash solos, not to mention a vocal delivery that relies more on rawness and attitude than skill and precision. However, one aspect of this album that separates it from the fold, even when considering how late it was by the standard of the genre, is Dave Mustaine’s rather unique approach to songwriting.
Dave’s quasi-classical tendencies jump out at the listener from the intro “Last Rites”, which gives this otherwise primitive thrash album a somewhat epic feel. The second half of the opening song “Love you to Death” follows all speed, zero niceness approach that Mustaine originally suggested his ex-band mates in Metallica follow. The beginning of “Looking down the Cross” also defies the textbook approach that Hetfield and company followed on their debut and incorporates some quasi-Sabbath sounding doom elements, not all that dissimilar from Overkill’s “Raise the Dead” actually.
The area of this album where MegaDeth holds the edge over most of the competition, most particularly Kirk Hammet, is the lead guitar department. Both Mustaine and Poland avoid the cliché sound of an angry man venting with repetitive shred licks and create solos that are both methodically structured and individual in character. The former has his moment of triumph on “Mechanix”, a solo which is probably better known on Metallica’s debut, albeit played by someone who never could have composed it. Poland has various moments of brilliance on “Skull beneath the skin” and the title track, where note quantity does not supplant their quality.
Although complexity is a noteworthy feature of this album, it is also important to note the strength that is exhibited through the purely fast and simplistic numbers. “Chosen Ones” is short, but sweet, assaulting the ears with a barrage of speed riffs that puts “Hit the Lights” on notice. “Rattlehead” succeeds in being the most catchy, mosh worthy, and one of my top 5 favorites in the genre. It attacks with the same viciousness as Anthrax’s “Deathrider”, while exhibiting a similar sense of polish as can be heard on Metallica’s “Trapped under Ice”, although it doesn’t share the slick production.
Like any good heavy guitar player who didn’t contemplate killing himself every time he wrote a song, Mustaine is not without a sense of comedy. Although the censors who continue to insist that his remake of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots” is not fit for our consumption can’t be bothered with cracking even a little smile, I can’t help but be tickled pink both by how ridiculously fast and lyrically profane it is. It rivals somewhat less vulgar joke songs such as Priest’s “Eat me alive” and challenges the super unfettered satirical mayhem of Storm Troopers of Death. However, I can’t tell which is funnier, the unedited version I downloaded a year ago, or the bleeped out on my CD. Anyone who thinks that a teenager hasn’t heard what Dave is saying before is definitely worthy of being chuckled at.
To those of you who have yet to obtain this album, the recent re-master also provides you with the 3 tracks from the “Last Rites” demo, a powerful bonus to accompany what is already a solid album. If you liked the Anthrax and Metallica debuts, this will definitely leave your neck just as sore and the imaginary bells around your head ringing just as loud. It’s not the most shinning example of a slick production, and it’s barely over a half hour long, but it packs a punch that will leave your head rattling well into next week.
Everyone knows the story of Dave Mustaines unceremonious ousting from Metallica right before recording their debut. And most could understand the feelings of Dave Mustaine at this time: anger, frustration, rage, passion, hostility, the list goes on. So it comes as no surprise that Megadeth’s debut, “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!”, contains a hostile edge throughout.
With “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!” Megadeth embarked on a journey that over time lead them to become top dog of the metal community. However, on this we still have young, excited, possibly unfocused, musicians. Those qualities result in a brew of primal, raging thrash, but not the best material they would make in their career.
Also, Dave Mustaines vocals, never his strongest asset, sound amateurish at best. Latter on it developed into a sarcastic sneer, but at this point it’s still just a whine. However he provides a very solid rhythm and lead guitar role, and while not the refined style of later work, it works very good on this album.
What about the rest of the band? Well, Dave Ellefson’s bass work is solid on “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!”, but just like the rest of the band, it’s a pretty raw offering from him. Chris Poland provides a solid, but largely unspectacular, performance on guitar. And lastly is drummer Gar Samuelson, who provides, as it seems all the members did, a solid, yet unspectacular performance.
As for the material on “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!”, its exactly what you would expect from Megadeth, just a lot rawer. There is a lot of undeveloped songs present, and it has very little virtuosity emphasis on later albums. But the upside of the this lack of emphasis on technical skill lets the raw anger drive this album. As far as for highlights of “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!”, there are the opener “Last Rites/Loved to Death”, “Skull Beneath the Skin”, and “Mechanix”. Most of the other songs, while not necessarily lacking, are just kind of there. Also, the Nancy Sinatra cover in “These Boots” is barely more than a joke, and the edited version on the remastered edition is negligible.
Overall “Killing is My Business…..And Business is Good!” is a solid, but largely unspectacular album. And for those who must compare it to Metallicas debut, “Kill ‘Em All”, they were no doubt ahead of them, however we must remember that Dave Mustaine largely helped make that album too. So for fans of thrash this is an essential release, despite its shortcomings.
At the beginning of the 80's, thrash metal was in its infancy, and it showed in the debuts of all the major players. Kill 'Em All was primitive. Show No Mercy sounds nothing like anything Slayer would go on to do. Even Bonded by Blood, though superior to its successors aggression-wise, lacked the complexity of their later albums. But Megadeth was different. When Killing is my Business finally hit the scene mid-1985, it showed the band just a hint shy of their creative peak and forged enough momentum to last them through four classic albums. The first of these, KimB still stands as a model album and displays a combination of technique and intensity that few other bands have yet to match.
The first (and generally the last) word when discussing Megadeth among their peers is technique. The band had it in droves and displayed it thoroughly. Don't bore me with your H-team. In 1985, the most effective guitar tag team in metal was Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland. Even if you don't mention the solos (which are numerous and fantastic), you could laud the insanity of their rhythm playing for decades. "Loved to Deth" was still ahead of its time, even as late as '85, for the complexity of its arrangement as well as the furious technicality of its riffs (played a few bpms faster than one would believe possible for their intricacy). Plus the album opens with that chilling variation of Bach's Fugue in D. A thrash album with a piano intro. Brilliant, I say. And even when it's not double-time all-the-time (the snare that most of the modern thrash bands fall into; that this is the only competent way to thrash aggressively), the band performs at the same level. "Chosen Ones," "The Skull Beneath the Skin," and the title track all feature the skull-busting beats of Gar Samuelson and the mighty bass work of Dave Ellefson, as well as with said shredding from Mustaine and Poland.
But the other integral element of this album, that which makes it so compelling to this date, is the sonic intensity. Fueled by Mustaine's rage, this album is aggressive and scathing even when it's being melodic or suspenseful. While Dave's fangs would soon be dripping with politcal sarcasm, here they reek only of venom and bile. Whether he's playing the lover scorned, the sniper assassin, the bystander to the crucifixtion of Christ, or even the more humerous roles of lustful gas station attendant and holy pilgrim, his signature snarl constantly hints at unspoken invective towards his former bandmates. This is pissed-off in stereo, and it fuels some of the finest thrash songs ever written.
Whether you're new to the band or a seasoned rattlehead, it's hard to keep still with this album blasting through your speakers. And its still but a glimpse at what is to follow. Rattle your goddamn head.
Megadeth's debut is one of those albums that could have been absoloutely amazing... if the production had been better. The songwriting on this album is incredible, and a taste of Dave's songwriting talents which would develop on later albums. This is Megadeth at their least structured, and what comes out is a good melodic thrash album.
There are only a couple of problems with this album. The first, is, as already mentioned, the production. While it is nowhere near the atrocity of production known as St. Anger, it could use some work. The lead guitar can be unclear at times, and the rhythm guitar's volume is way too low. The drums could also do with getting their volume lowered. With all these production problems, and because many of the songs sound the same, the songs tend to blur into each other. Dave Mustaine's vocals at this point are also pretty annoying, but luckily they get better in later albums.
The highlights are the title trach which has a great chorus that is very fun to sing along with. Mechanix is a faster and better version of the Four Horsemen, although Dave's vocals are especially annoying on that track. Rattlehead also has some kickass riffs, and is a nice little thrash track. Looking Down on the Cross is the best song here, and has some excellent lead guitar and great riffs. The other songs are good, though nothing special, with the exception of the cover of These Boots, which pretty much sucks. I mean, the guitar is good, but Mustaine's vocals are as annoying as ever, and all those beeps in the song get pretty damn annoying.
Well, there we have it. This is not Megadeth's best release, and they definitely do get better as time goes on, but for a debut it is pretty damn good and has some excellent songs to its name. A must buy for all Megadeth fans and all thrash fans should at least download it.
Megadeth's debut album Killing Is My Business...and Business is Good is a fairly decent album, but it suffers from poor production and too many versions. This album has three versions and it confused the hell out of me when I tried to write the tracklisting down for this after I had copied it. Maybe I'm just an idiot, but it gave me a headache, and I believe I still ended up writing the damned thing down wrong.
Anyway, KIMB shows Megadeth in their rawest form, arguably. Mustaine's vocals are still the same as they are on later releases, but they are somehow stuck in Reverb Land. Poor production pushes his vocals to the background(though they never were that prominent in the first place, at least strength-wise).
Every song on here is pretty much straightforward thrash, and I believe right after this album Megadeth started experimenting more and further stylizing their sound. Peace Sells is somewhat similar to this, but there are further touches on that that aren't found here. The riffing is still jarring, intense, and very quick, and the overall technicality is still very impressive, but it's hard to enjoy it so much when all the aspects of the music are so jumbled together and not crisp and individual.
The drumming and bass are still super-tight as well. I really don't see why Metallica and Slayer are praised so much. It just seems to me that Megadeth just has the whole package musically, whereas Metallica and Slayer have some glaring faults that have always needed sprucing up. I will give you the fact that both Hetfield and Tony Araya(or whoever the Slayer vocalist is) are stronger singers than Mustaine, but one doesn't necessarily need a 'good' voice to be well-liked in metal....just a highly distinctive one that has its own personality and energy to it.
Well, I've pretty much touched base on everything. Just pick up this album, if not only for the fact that it's a debut album. IMO, debut albums should be pondered and appreciated in a parallel fashion as people are when they are 'debuted' into the world.
When Dave Mustaine started Megadeth and released Killing Is My Business… he wanted it to make it better than Metallica, specifically what they did on their debut Kill ‘Em All. In some places Mustaine succeeded and in other places he didn’t. I think the most obvious aspect where Megadeth surpasses Metallica is the musicianship in the band members. Sure, Metallica had a great bassist in Cliff Burton (R.I.P.) and James Hetfield was respectable in the riff department, but Gar Samuelson (R.I.P.) blows away Lar$ Ulrich behind the kit, and Chris Poland is a hell of a lot better than Kirk Hammett. Of course, Dave Ellefson and Mustaine are no slouches themselves. This higher level of playing ability is really noticeable on this release, especially in the drumming. While Lar$ was far from his worst on Kill ‘Em, the precision and sheer speed of Samuelson really overshadows him. Mustaine wanted this to be faster than Metallica and he definitely succeeded in that. Samuelson was the perfect person for the job as he fills the songs with a lot of double bass and fast fills. Just listen to “Skull Beneath The Skin” and the title track to get a good indication of the speed on here.
However, where the thrashing speed of this disc is definitely a highlight, it’s also a bit of a detriment. While containing some quality riffs, compared to Metallica, or even early Slayer, the riffs aren’t as structured or as memorable. The riffs are by no means bad but since Mustaine wanted this to go head to head with Kill ‘Em All, this is one place where he failed. Even though Mustaine doesn’t have the best singing voice, he sounds so much better than Hetfield did on Kill ‘Em All. Hetfield was just horrible on there and Mustaine sounds brilliant compared to him. Where Mustaine lacks in actual singing ability he makes up for with clever phrasing and vocals that go along with the music very well. The leads from both Poland and Mustaine are also well done as they both have distinct styles that compliment the speedy music well.
Highlights of this CD for me are “Rattlehead”, which is perfect for head-banging, as it was meant to be, as well as the title track which speeds along at a fast pace and contains very good use of doubled vocals. “Mechanix”, Megadeth’s rendition of “The Four Horseman”, is also well done but not quite as progressive or as structured as “The Four Horsemen”. However, I do think this is the best indication of Samuelson vs. Lar$. Try and picture Samuelson playing on “The Four Horsemen” instead of Lar$. You should hear how a really great song could have been even better.
So when all is said and done, did Mustaine defeat James and friends? It’s hard to say. As Boris mentioned in his review, this was released two years after Kill ‘Em All and Metal in general had changed a lot in those two years, but if you ignore that fact, I would say both CD’s are equally enjoyable: Kill ‘Em All has better riffs and song writing, but Killing Is My Business… has better musicianship and more head-banging goodness. I’d say both CD’s are equally enjoyable but for different reasons and should be a part of everyone’s Thrash collection. On a side note, if you haven’t bought this yet, pick up the remaster. The sound is much improved and you get some interesting demo versions of three songs.
Song Highlights: Last Rites/Loved To Death, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good, The Skull Beneath The Skin, Rattlehead, and Mechanix.