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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.