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Business is Good.... But the Production Isn't - 90%

Dexterzol, September 11th, 2019

So, the birth of Megadeth... It's well known that this album wasn't made to make a big artistic statement, to change the metal landscape or to even make Mustaine and Co. the household names they would inevitably become - no, this is in it's entirety a bick F*ck You to Metallica. You can feel it in every note, every spiteful word Mustaine spits out, and in the obscenely high tempos, brought about by a fan letter asking Mustaine to "make his music faster than Metallica's". The interesting thing is that it works.

First of all, the instrumentation. Being the literal genesis of Megadeth, and one of the very first major Thrash releases the playing is raw and unpolished. Dave Mustaine's skill with a guitar is already near-virtuosic, but all to often falls victim to the sloppiness brought on by the fast tempos. Since Chris Poland plays a lesser role on this album, most of the solos are Mustaine's - fast, furious and rather noisy and a bit sloppy.

Mustaine's vocals are rather different on here, than on other outings. It's raw, really, really raw. The screams and harshness are very obviously the real deal, no control whatsoever and it's understandable that he switched techniques, given that the singing he does here is the kind that'll shred your throat in months. It sounds good though.

The bass is good, and is decently audible, with a high-emphasis on midrange, bordering on "bouncy" I would say. Ellefson alternates between fingers and pick here, before ultimately ditching fingerstyle completely post-KIMB. These contrasting picking styles provide a definite variation in both tone and playing. Gar Samuelson brings a great performance as always.

The lyrics are nothing to write home about. Mustaine had not yet developed his writing skills, and all of the songs revolve around typically "metal" topics, such as sex (Mechanix), metal itself (Rattlehead), death (Basically every song) as well as some satanism (Skull Beneath the Skin). This being a 20-year old Dave Mustaine, all these lyrics are written in a typically "Dave" manner, with songs like "Skull" almost delving into comically gory places. So don't expect any snarky political/religious critiques.

The production is awful. It's far, FAR from unlistenable, but noticeably poor compared to Metallica's similarly low-budget debut. That's what happens when you blow half of it on booze and drugs. Overall, the song list is good, with my personal standouts being the rapid-fire assault of "Rattlehead", the juiced up middle finger that is "Mechanix", the occult horror of "Skull Beneath the Skin" and the outright fury of "Loved to Deth" and "Killing is My Business".

All in all, recommended, just don't expect to fall in love with the songwriting or production aspects.