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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.