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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.