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Whoever thought you’d do better at turning a screw than me? - 95%

swedeam, February 13th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Century Media Records (Digipak, Remastered)

Before we begin I’d like to add an author note of sorts. I wrote this review in 2018, in the sweltering Spanish sun, while listening to the album in question. My approach was quite hyperbolic and riddled with amateur spelling errors. That said, I’ve cleared up the errors and made some minor alterations to the text, but left it largely in tact, firstly because I’m quite fond of it, being the first review I ever wrote for... well, anything. Secondly, I think it holds up damn well, and my opinions on the record remain the same.

Bursting out of the gate with nothing but vengeance on his mind after being kicked out of Metallica in 1983, Dave Mustaine and his then new band, Megadeth layed down the fastest and heaviest thing to come out of the trash scene on a a whole as of 1985. But does it stand the test of time? Well, as much as I would like to emphatically scream 'yes it fucking does!' the answer to that question lies in which version of the record you pick up.

During the recording process of this album, the producer provided to the band by the record company, Combat Records, blew half of the bands $8000 recording budget on Heroin, Coke, and, (no joke) around 100 pounds of motherfucking Hamburger meat. After firing the first producer and receiving and extra $4000 from their then record company to get the record finished, the band didn't have enough money to hire a decent producer and ended up producing the thing themselves.

Despite doing a rather good job considering how much worse it could have ended up, the album's production is severly lacking, with the biggest sin being how quiet the rhythm guitar is compared to the rest of the band. With that said, the 2018 remaster if the album is far, far better and probably the best way to listen to and appreciate this album. Don’t entirely write off the original though, it has a certain kind of charm, and if your not one of the lucky bastards who happens to own a copy, it can be found on youtube with just a few clicks.

Is this album sloppy at times? Yes, but who the fuck cares? This is a goddamn thrash record first and foremost and it's only preoccupation is slamming into you like a fucking freight train and only pausing the assault for a hot minute in order to burn your ears off with fantastic solos. Does this record do that? Yes it fucking does! ...I knew I'd get that in here somewhere. Every riff on this record cuts through your ear drums at a lightning pace, despite having been injected with a surprising amount of melody and, in the case of the title track and a couple others, even showing slight tastful restraint.

The least stereotypical thrash song on this album has to be 'Looking Down The Cross' with its spine-tingling introduction that borders on becoming a technical death metal riff, pummelling rhythm section, lead guitar work with a strong melodic focus that serves the song, and a 5 minute+ run time (making it the longest track on the album) it's by far the closest thing the album has to an epic song.

Now I will take a brief moment to sing the prases of the track Rattlehead. No, before you ask, you don’t have a choice in the matter. Goddamn this song is amazing, where to begin? The difficult as fuck to learn yet catchy main riff, the second riff that comes in like a sledgehammer and provides a short but sweet mid-tempo (at least as far as the rest of the song is concerned) head-banging moment before the real oh shit moment: the first solo of the song. This solo not only sets your ears on fire, but it also works as an effective melodic bridge between the slower and faster segments of the song. And don't get me started on the second solo of the song, words cannot describe it's brilliance.

Similar praises could be sung of 'Loved To Death', the title track and 'The skull Beneath The Skin'. Does this make the record repetitive? No, It makes it consistent, and that makes it a great album

And what's this? A thrash record with a bassist who actually does something interesting for a change? Oh yeah, I forgot this came out in 1985, when great bassists still existed. Listen to David's fanastic work on 'Chosen Ones' during the solo and bass break, it carries the song rhythm brilliantly along with showing musically progressive streak throughout.

Look folks, this album rises above it's thrash metal classification (and depending on which version you’re listening to, it’s shitty production), becoming something quite a bit more exceptional. If you haven't already, listen to this fucking thing in whatever format you can find it in.

a sign of living fast - 69%

Demon Fang, January 9th, 2022

In many ways, Megadeth are one of the more interesting members of the Big Four. Not the best nor even the most noteworthy (outside of Rust in Peace, of course), but definitely the one where circumstance and their few lasting impacts have certainly made them a real character. You can even hear it loud and clear here in their debut, Killing is my Business. It’s been well-documented which songs here are reworkings of old Metallica tracks – yada yada yada “Mechanix” is just “The Four Horsemen” on speed, you’ve heard it a million times before. But there may be a reason you’ve not heard Killing is my Business the album a million times, or at least not compared to Kill Em All and Show No Mercy. Killing is my Business certainly shows no mercy with its top cuts, but given the relatively unfocused and aimless thrashing across the rest of the album, it doesn’t quite kill em all with a fistful of metal.

Despite being known more for their technical proficiency, this album does show a rougher, tougher version of them. The main verse riffs to “Last Rites / Loved to Death” and “The Skull Beneath the Skin” have that choppy quality the more technical side of thrash tends to be known for – a sign of things to come for Megadeth, albeit with more anger than you’d expect from them. “Mechanix” has that unabashed hardcore slant to it that makes it pretty damn catchy with all things considered. “Killing is my Business” and “Rattlehead” have those nifty little speed metal riffs that are about as addicting as the drugs the band were doing at the time. All of which are complete with solos that could best be described as a flurry of notes rammed down your throat.

But it’s not just in the riffs – not just in the speeding, the thrashing and even the technical bits. There’s also the case of Mustaine’s vocals, which sound positively unhinged. It’s recognizably Mustaine, but the amount of power and force behind his vocals – whether you’re listening to the original cut or the remaster – definitely gives the music that extra bit of lift that pumps it up and does not air it out! I honestly forgot just how effective his vocals were here. Normally, when I think of Mustaine’s vocals, I think “works for the music at best and plain bad at worst”; here, I’m almost convinced this would’ve inspired Tom Araya to kick his vocal game up a notch back in 1985, it’s that good!

So what’s all the hubbub, why isn’t this “10/10 best thrash debut”, what’s with the bellyaching in the first paragraph? Well, the thing is that when Megadeth’s on their A-game, they are indeed terrific. But they aren’t always on their A-game, and when that happens, all you’re waiting for is a catchy chorus and/or a ripper of a solo from Mustaine and the guitarist for hire (be it Chris Poland, Marty Friedman or Kiko Loureiro) just for the song to fucking do something! As is the case, both “Chosen Ones” and “Looking Down the Cross” come across more faceless due to the lack of any interesting riffs or core progressions when compared to the better cuts on this album. The former zooms by like a snap, and the latter only thrives thanks to its solos. Otherwise, they’re both considerably more rushed in their execution, like they blanked out on how to make these songs as complete or even good as “Mechanix” or “Rattlehead” so they just went with these outlines and that’s it. We got those two songs and “Killing is my Business” done, we’re all good! “These Boots” – whether you’re listening to the remaster that has more bleeps than Hell’s Kitchen on broadcast television or not – is a lame cover song, particularly since Mustaine scales back his vocals significantly to try and fit the original song, but also just because the riffs are more standard speed metal fare. Just a case of there not being much really going on, you know?

A couple of songs here showcase some cool technical shit, although beyond the killer hooks, they’re rather underdeveloped as the surrounding riffs lack the kick that speed metal riffing needs. That’s about the unifying issue with the non-classics on Killing is my Business. Songs like “Rattlehead” are fully realized due to consistently engaging riffing while songs like “Last Rites” and “Chosen Ones” seem about half-done with filler riffs, maybe a slick hook and definitely a sick solo. That being said, if you’ve ever wanted to hear Mustaine sound like a maniac behind the microphone, then Killing is my Business is the album to pop into your stereo.

Megadeth - 1, Metallica - 0 - 90%

DanielG06, January 3rd, 2021
Written based on this version: 2018, 2 12" vinyls, Century Media Records (Limited edition, 5 colors, Reissue, Remastered)

Alright, forgive the cringey fanboy heading, I'm just going through the reviewer equivalent of writer's block and suddenly ran out of creative titles the same way that Britain ran out of good politicians in the 80's. Nevertheless, I love this album. I first listened to it in April 2019 (hey come on, don't call me a poser for being that late, it's kind of hard to have been around for this album's release when you were born in 2006), and frankly, I thought it sucked. I've always been a fan of Megadeth, since the age of 5 when I first played Holy Wars on guitar hero, but I just couldn't rap my head around the rusty guitar tone, the ultra-rough production, the utter lack of song structure and the sheer ear-blistering speed, but as I gave this more listens over time, I realised just how potent of a debut it is, every thing is so erratic and rapid but tight, every solo is spot-on, every drum fill Gar performs is just crazy, Chris and Dave's playing is just mindblowing through and through, and everything is lightning-fast (all of this is probably cocaine-related, come to think of it) but as well as the playing in general, every song has memorable musical phrases and the ideas expressed are quite ahead of their time.

My favourite songs from this album are Rattlehead and The Mechanix, both of which are insanely quick and inconstant, but hold together strongly enough as compositions that they don't sound unfocused or lazily written; everything has its purpose, and this is what makes the songs so memorable. The mental, ripping riffs of both tracks are just infectiously good, once you get into this album, you'll be listening to it for days on repeat because of riffs like these, and the record is filled with them. Last Rites / Loved To Deth also exemplifies Megadeth's mixture of technicality and pure filthy thrashing, and it perfectly encapsulates Dave's image of what he formed Megadeth to do: get revenge on Metallica, and be the fastest, heaviest, craziest band in the world. The song starts with a piano intro, Last Rites, which is creepy, and a great way to kick the album off, then Loved To Deth starts, which might be the most deranged song on the entire thing, it's wild and thrashy, but oddly groovy at the same time, the verse riff in particular impressed me because of its incorporation of swing, which was probably influenced by Chris and Gar's background as jazz musicians (that also explains the amazing solos on every track).

The Skull Beneath The Skin is another favourite of mine, it sounds evil and dark, I love it. Despite the album's morbid and merciless image, there are more light-hearted tracks like Chosen Ones and These Boots, both of which are brilliant songs, but they rely on a much more upbeat and happier sound than the rest of the album. Looking Down The Cross is the longest song on the album, although it's barely 5 minutes song, which says a lot about how abrupt the writing is, and it's a fairly good song, but it's my least favourite from the record because it lacks the energy that the rest of the album boasts.

The production gets a lot of criticism, but I've grown to like it a fair bit actually, it's rough, sure, but the rawness actually improves the musical quality in my eyes, for example, the intro in The Mechanix is enhanced so much by the dirty, old-school sound. I just wish that David's bass was mixed higher. But on the whole, this is Megadeth's debut album! That automatically means it's worth picking up. If you're looking for fast thrash metal with memorable riffing and mind-blowing technical solos, this would easily be one of the first albums I'd point you to.

As good as killing business! - 92%

lostinbeauty, April 26th, 2020

Ah, Megadeth. Perhaps the best thrash band of all time and eternally destined to be compared to Metallica. Today they are definetly famous, but in the 80s they were still an unknown group struggling with their first album, hoping that it was good enough to bring them to light.

And Killing is my business ... and business is good! probably met expectations, although fortunately they made better records over time.

Among the prominent elements of this album there is immediately the intro to Last rites / Loved to deth. The first thing the listener hears, in fact, is Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, played with the piano and guitar. It is a pleasant surprise, and it introduces the atmosphere well. The actual song has a quick and acid riff, a violent and overwhelming trend and great power and catchiness. It is certainly one of the most successful songs not only of the disc but of the subgenre itself. The crazy and gloomy atmosphere is a huge advantage. The titletrack is slower and smoother for the first few moments, then accelerates suddenly, and the tempo keeps changing until the end. In any case, it remains effective, well supported by a high quality riff and a memorable refrain. His only flaw is being too short, only three minutes.

The skull beneath the skin is simply brutal. Slow and threatening, dark and suffocating, with a guitar that is more acidic than ever and an additional dose of sadism in the voice. The incessant rhythm and the abrupt ending contribute to the sensation. Rattlehead is probably the fastest, less violent than the previous tracks and with particularly successful solos. About halfway it becomes a mid-tempo, but then it accelerates again and remains constant. It is the most catchy song and in some way it can also be considered proto-power metal. Chosen ones is another mid-tempo that is closer to heavy metal. Unfortunately, in some moments it almost seems to go out of tempo, there is a sudden slowdown which is quite mild but not so much as not to be noticed. Fortunately, a good part of the song is occupied by a solo as technical as it is fascinating, and at the end the speed increases allowing to forget the small defects.

Looking down the Cross, in addition to having highly interesting lyrics, is very gloomy, with a beginning marked by the threatening gait of the bass. The atmosphere is maintained throughout the piece, of which the instrumental part, almost hypnotic, is appreciable. Mechanix is ​​basically an accelerated version of Metallica's The four horsemen, and is officially its first version. It is a pleasant listening, given the excellent, fast and harsh instrumental structure, but suffers from the bland lyrics. The last song is a cover of These boots by Nancy Sinatra in an interesting thrash version and with the modified text. It is a successful experiment. The only problem is the remastered version of the album which has horrendous censorship. And not simply missing parts of the vocal lines, but an authentic whistle. The general advice is to avoid this version as much as possible.

As for the technical side, this record is an exceptional effort. The musicians are all extremely talented and competent, especially the guitarists. Moreover, Mustaine is certainly not known for the pleasantness of his voice, but the latter, in its roughness and violence, is fit for the genre.

Killing is my business ... and business is good! is not Megadeth's masterpiece, nor the best thrash metal record of all time, but it's still essential and, although too short, an excellent album.

Best tracks: Last rites/Loved to deth, Looking down the Cross, The skull beneath the skin

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.

Rattle Your Goddamn Head! - 95%

Beast of Burden, July 11th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Loud Records (Remastered, Reissue)

The bitter palpable venomous hatred borne out of a place of resentment for being booted from Metallica in 1983 was a turning point not just for Dave Mustaine, but for the metal world as a whole. I think it goes without saying that the bad blood between Metallica and Megadeth is as infamous as any feud you could think of in the metal world. Granted, it didn't wind up with dead bodies like with Mayhem, nor did it get the intense media coverage like with Pantera, but within the zeitgeist, it was probably one of the most important feuds. It certainly lasted the longest. It wasn't until 2010, almost thirty years later, when The Big Four (Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth) got on stage together for the first time that their relationship started to change for the better.

If Dave hadn't been fired from Metallica back in 1983, safe to say we probably wouldn't have gotten this monster. Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! (quite the mouthful, by the way) was released all the way back in 1985, originally on Combat Records. At that time, thrash metal was something of a fledgling genre. Like many well-established genres and sub-genres of rock and metal alike, it took its cues from older, more popular predecessor genres. Hardcore punk from the UK and U.S.A., as well as glam rock/metal, were tantamount to forming the genre we know and love today. Megadeth would come to be a part of "The Big Four," the four bands responsible for popularizing thrash and making it mainstream - we all know who they are - and their chapter began with this legendary album.

It's clear from listening to the opening riff of "Loved to Death" that Mustaine's goal was unabashedly clear: make an album faster, meaner, heavier than anything Metallica would put out. "Last Rites/Loved to Death" is without a doubt the most ferocious track on the entire record. It sets the tone for the rest of the album pretty fucking quickly. And the rest of the album does not disappoint. From the second track onward, there's no letting up. Mustaine packs tons of awesome, nail biting riffs into each song, each one as memorable as the last. To say Mustaine was pissed off when writing this album is an understatement. This man wanted blood. He was out for blood. Songs like "Rattlehead" and "Mechanix" are definite proof that Mustaine just wanted to destroy everything in his path with all his might.

Of course, he couldn't do it alone. He needed cohorts to help him with his Metallica-conquering ambitions. Without the efforts of David Ellefson, late drummer Gar Samuelson (RIP), and Chris Poland, this album wouldn't pack as much of an impact as it did back in 1985 and still does to this day. A majority of the solo work is manned by Poland and there are solos for days, if I do say so myself. The solo towards the back end of the title track is infectious as hell and blisteringly fast while "Rattlehead" is chock full of fantastic Poland solos that make any lover of thrash metal weep, or bang their head 'till they bleed. That part where he goes up the fretboard with Mustaine at 1:11 of "Rattlehead" is one of my favorite moments in all of metal ever recorded. It's just a small part, but it's so good that it just makes the song that much more rewarding for someone like me who loves harmony and dual guitar leads or solos. Even when there's no solos to sink your teeth into and you're just enjoying the song without them (which kind of defeats the point of the album), the chemistry between the two guitarists here is some of the best.

While this album is insanely fast, it's also surprisingly tight. Granted, it's nowhere near as tight as their later albums would be like Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? or Rust In Peace, but for a debut with a shoestring budget from a new, upcoming band, KIMB is really well put together. It's about as tight as you would expect, however. It's sloppy in a few places, as is expected, but there's not much to complain about given the speed and dexterity of everyone involved in the recording. Like the breakneck opening riff and the frenetic, off the fucking wall drum work by Gar Samuelson on "Loved to Death" (in fact, all throughout). or the wonderfully varied performance by Samuelson in "Looking Down the Cross," or the skull splitting speedy madness of "Mechanix," or the tireless bass gymnastics of long-standing bassist David Ellefson (listen to that bass solo in "Chosen Ones." Whoo!), this album is held together by the synchronicity of the individual performances all working together like a well-oiled machine.

The '80's were a fantastic period for metal in general, but it was an especially golden decade for thrash and speed metal. Megadeth's legacy stands tall with 35 years running and 15 full-length albums currently released. Mustaine's beloved thrashing death machine has had many adventures on the path to domination. Megadeth proved themselves back in 1985 by releasing one of the fastest and most ferocious albums ever released. 33 years later, it hasn't lost any of its impact or bite. In fact, it's only gotten better with age. The kill is still as potent now as it was back then.

I'm going to bow out and enjoy the fuck out of this album in honor of the very first band that got me into metal. Now let's have a toast, throw our horns in the air, and rattle our heads to this classic fucking album.


Runnin' With The Devil - 84%

Sweetie, June 5th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Loud Records (Remastered, Reissue)

By now, if it isn't obvious that Killing Is My Business was Dave Mustaine's furious reaction to being kicked out of Metallica, then you've probably been living under a rock, and you need to do some serious research. It's no secret that Megadeth's debut was one of their messier works, with a much harder production, spotty songwriting, face-melting speed, and one of the angriest undertones to ever surface. But what really lies beneath all of the obvious features of this disc? What other musical forces drove all of the angst and pain of growing up in a broken family, living off of drug money, and being fired from the one light of hope in your future? Perhaps we'd never have found out if it weren't for the aforementioned Van Halen track. And why would I mention that classic albeit corny track from their 1978 debut? Because that very bass-line is what united Ellefson and Mustaine, through the thin apartment walls pounding on one of Dave's common hangovers.

Many things come to mind with Killing, and most, if not all of it can be found in any other topic, review, or discussion of this record, which I so kindly summarized above. But a lot of things go missed, and the rock 'n roll and progressive hints are one of this biggest ones by far. Beneath the noisy screeches of complex soloing and booming shrieks of Dave lies many riffs that rip right form the early '70s style. The chopped up nature of the songs resemble a lot of the attitude that was brought forth by the likes of Aerosmith, just sped up and distorted a lot more. The tight rhythms make up the majority of what leans on this, but often times it goes beyond that, especially transition wise. Take the best track, for example; "Chosen Ones". While the early rock influences are still there, the intro to this one allows proggy fret licks to shine through, forming a series of strong guitar progression that goes out of the box, and leaves a warmer feeling. Budgie tampered a lot with this, and the raw influence of those silly Welsh boys can be clearly heard here. The chorus rips this in smoothly, staying a little more mellow, but still intimidating. Thus, slower moments aren't common, but present for sure; and when they are present, they're still glazed with a dark essence.

Choppier songwriting has been brought up multiple times, and that may sound like a bad thing, but really, it works with the nature of the beast. The chord progression is broken up into chunks within tracks, constantly shifting tones to keep you on your toes. "Rattlehead" hits this pretty hard, and obviously so does "Last Rites/Loved To Deth" (that piano intro is a free-be, making it easy to detect this tactic). Most importantly, the bass in Killing is absolutely stellar. Yes, it's partly due to the fact that it stands out and is easier to hear, but what makes it so solid is the way it teams with the rhythm riffs and drum kicks. It's as if Mustaine, Poland, and Samuelson laid down the foundation, and let Ellefson work his magic into it (although I'm sure that's not how it went). Either way, the bass and drum kicks are strong enough to warrant lead breaks on their own, and carry a large amount of weight. The title track is the best example of this, especially in the bridge that proceeds the chorus. The weakest part of this record is its failure to sharpen the hooks as much as albums to come, making it take many listens and a great understanding of what's going on to get into. Plus, depending on the version, the cover of "These Boots" is bleeped out for the majority of it, and that's super unpleasant.

This specific version includes a few bonus tracks, consisting of the demo that Megadeth dropped before this. It's a neat little addition, although really it's just an even messier delivery of what's already here, and it's messy enough as is. As far as the actual album, most fans will give an earful on the speedy raw intensity of this mess. But looking beneath the skin (pun intended), there are a lot of overlooked qualities. The rock 'n roll nature of the riffs, the progressive weirdness of the solos and transitions, and the stellar construction of rhythms that utilize every instrument to form the foundation. All of this allows you to feel the anguish of these scraggy boys in heavy form. Is this their best work? Far from it. But there's a lot more to it than the credit that' it's given.

Rattle your goddamn head - 89%

Deathdoom1992, May 27th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Loud Records (Remastered, Reissue)

1986 may have been the year that thrash reached new heights for extremity and speed, what with Reign in Blood, Pleasure to Kill and Darkness Descends pushing the genre further into the murky depths that would eventually evolve into death metal, but a year earlier we had Megadeth's debut record, which can be called a definite precursor to those three albums, and even a catalyst for the growth of the more extreme side of thrash in general, with pure anger and levels of speed and technicality that were insane for 1985.

We all know the story of Dave Mustaine's less than harmonious split with Metallica (after writing the two best songs on their debut, no less), and the essential thing to take from this is that he wasn't a happy bunny afterwards and founded Megadeth to "destroy Metallica". Of course, it was no matter that in 1984 Metallica had released one of the best metal albums of all time, since it is widely known that speed + anger = destruction.

The upshot of this is an album on which Dave and his most technically proficient line-up play rings around anything his former band had recorded up to that point, but are somewhat caught lacking in terms of variation here. That's not to say that this massively detracts from this as a whole, 'cos I like this album a whole damn bunch. In fact, I'd say I like this the most of their pre-Rust in Peace offerings.

Musically, Killing is My Business... goes straight for the jugular. More or less everything here moves along at breakneck speed, with the exception of the intros to three songs, and by and large this works to great effect (see "Chosen Ones"). Mustaine and his colleague Chris Poland rip through these 31 minutes armed with a legion of incendiary riffs and leads ("Rattlehead" in particular), the eternally talented Gar Samuelson blasts along happily underneath them, and Ellefson can be easily heard thumping along in the background. He isn't quite afforded the prominence he gets on Peace Sells or later efforts, but he's still far less buried in the mix than a majority of bassists. His performance is also a lot simpler here than on this album's immediate successor, with no real fills or solo spots, with the sole exception being at the end of "Chosen Ones".

But none of those things define the album. Nope, this album is predictably defined by the love-em-or-hate-em vocals of Dave Mustaine. He snarls and growls his way through here with as much boundless energy as the music. Personally, I'm all for Dave's vocals, particularly on here, where he spits out things like the chorus of "Loved to Deth" and the title track with such ferocity that it's nigh impossible to deny that he suits the music perfectly, and even has his own charm here, despite the vocals themselves being undeniably pretty poor.

Notably, when Megadeth decide to cool off temporarily with the speed, they deliver what is hands-down the best track on the album, "Looking Down the Cross" (which, incidentally, plays as I write this). A dissonant guitar intro gradually builds to a rhythm and foreboding intro, with lower register vocals from Mustaine, and it speeds up, though only to a midpace. In fact, the band only ever semi-thrashes with this one, and this happens well after the halfway point. And yet, it remains one of my all-time favourite Megadeth songs. Which just goes to show, you don't necessarily need speed, kids.

There's only one real negative I can point to on this release, and it's the inclusion of "These Boots." Quite why it's here is beyond me: did Mustaine really not expect someone in the Sinatra camp to not take issue with his, ehm, "alterations" (I mean, it was the guy who wrote it that got pissed but still) and as a result I get a version with a good 60% of the lyrics replaced by an annoying bleep. Now this isn't really an issue with the original album, but why include it on a remaster in a form so ridiculously censored? Actually, by 2002 Megadeth were rich enough that they could, I'm sure, have settled with the writer to use the full lyrics or something. Oh well. Point is, it really drags things down.

One final parting thought: upon exploration, I discovered "Mechanix," a song I consider pretty fucking fast only clocks in at 129 bpm. I say "only" because I would soon after discover that the Sisters of Mercy's "Walk Away" is 136 bpm. So maybe this album isn't as fast as it seems. Or maybe the amphetamines really kicked in when Andrew Eldritch was writing that one. Who knows? Anyway, this is a great fucking Megadeth release, which in my humble opinion is even better than their legendary sophomore. Essential listening for self-respecting thrasher.

Down with Metallica! - 94%

Mailman__, April 6th, 2018

Megadeth was formed in 1983 as Fallen Angel.  Dave Mustaine formed it with intentions to destroy Metallica in a thrash metal war that is still going on today.  Mustaine got a band together and put out a full-length in 1985 called "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"  For 1985, this album is definitely ahead of its time.

Around this time, thrash was being pioneered by Slayer, Anthrax, and especially Metallica, as they had two albums out at this point and were the first thrash metal band.  Looking at Anthrax and Slayer, it is very punk-influenced, and Metallica was very NWOBHM-influenced.  Looking at Megadeth, the influence here could be traced back to Venom or Motörhead because there is a lot of speed metal on here.  But Megadeth has a very technical edge to their music, something never seen before in thrash metal, speed metal, or any other genre at this point.

This band was truly formed to destroy Metallica.  I love Metallica's "Kill 'Em All," and "Ride the Lightning" is good, but, from what I am able to hear, they can't compare to "Killing Is My Business."  The leads on this album are out of control, Mustaine's vocals are relentless, and the speed of every song leaves your head spinning.  Even the last track, "The Mechanix," is a masterpiece.  Not only did Metallica release the song first, but Mustaine is beating them at their own game - two years after it was released.

Let's take a look at the music.  The album starts with a classy intro that isn't all that great, nor is it a very good intro.  They would've been better off just leaving it off the album.  But once "Loved to Deth" starts, there is no going back as relentless speed metal riffs and technical leads start to pummel one's eardrums.  All the way until Mustaine's raunchy rendition of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" this album keeps on giving.

I don't have any problems with this album.  In fact, I think it's a perfect portrayal of Megadeth.  It has the humor of Megadeth shown in the Nancy Sinatra cover, and a lot of history throughout the album as well.  One can see the origin of Megadeth's mascot Vic Rattlehead on the song "Rattlehead" (no shit).  More history can be found with "The Mechanix," an obvious middle finger to Metallica.

For those who know about the shitfest between Metallica and Dave Mustaine, move on to the next paragraph.  When Metallica formed, Dave Mustaine was the original guitarist.  He was kicked out of the band (with no second chance, as the popular meme likes to remind us) for repetitive drug use and alcohol consumption.  During his years in Metallica, he wrote the guitar parts for seven of the ten songs on "Kill 'Em All."  However, he was kicked out before they released the album.  Metallica hired Kirk Hammet from Exodus (you can see the Exodus influence in Metallica's "Metal Militia"), which also delayed Exodus' first album, "Bonded by Blood."  "The Four Horsemen," a song from Metallica's debut album, was one song that was written by Mustaine and was originally called "The Mechanix" on the "No Life 'Till Leather" demo.  This is why having Mustaine's version of "The Mechanix" on his new band's debut album is a clear "fuck you" to Metallica.  And, to be honest, I do like Mustaine's version better.

This is a strong debut from the thrash metal pioneer Dave Mustaine.  It is fast, technical, and a hell of a lot of fun.  Also, this album has a kick ass title.  This album embodies thrash metal with its fun and creative name.  Just think about this: "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"  I think it's a great thrash metal album title.  Good job, Dave, I think you've built a foundation for a discography that will indeed destroy Metallica.

Overall Rating: 94%

Originally written for

Tomcat howl and blitzkrieg leads - 91%

gasmask_colostomy, January 20th, 2018

Which original thrash band's debut begins with piano? It's one of those trivia questions you just expect to be asked and thank god I'm telling you the answer, because it's Megadeth people! Dave Mustaine's jumped-up Metallica also-rans didn't exactly rip off their Bay Area rivals by making Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!, certainly not if one were expecting 'Metal Militia' to jump out of the speakers the moment you hit play, since this is a few yards east (or west, it doesn't really matter) of Hetfield and co., playing more with speed metal brought kicking and screaming in through your front window (see potted plant story) than any actual nascent thrash. Sure, so I'm a big Megadeth fan and think that they had the creative edge on Metallica by a long shot, while also never succumbing to an overblown ambition that needed to lard up songs to nearly 10 minutes in order to pass up an album as forward-thinking. This album is a white-knuckle ride of rough edges and raw ideas that gets through its tempestuous 31 minutes on those qualities alone.

Right from the start of Megadeth's album career, Mustaine decided to do things differently, proving very quickly that he was the finest metal guitarist in the city and not afraid to flash his fingers as well as that big ol' mane of ginger hair, combining the two areas of riffing and lead work in a honed team that Chris Poland proved himself more than capable of supporting. The manner in which songs like 'Skull Beneath the Skin' have no clearly defined "solo sections" shows the band's thinking clearly, with the two guitarists shooting licks and mini-leads across the chaotic verses, while David Ellefson is unafraid to join the party with basslines that lurch and shift through the rhythm guitar, particularly on the rougher earlier mix that I'm reviewing. Gar Samuelson is in on the action too, playing about with beats on different toms and snares that leave just about every other rhythm section from 1985 looking comatose from lack of energy.

If you want to source Megadeth's originality on this album, the place to go is probably 'These Boots', which is of course also the prime "what the fuck?" moment of the release since it's a cover of Nancy Sinatra's staple, though one that includes copious whammy bar abuse, several head-crawling speed metal riffs, and a set of lyrics that differs from the original only in the speed of their delivery and the insertion of lines like "You've been kissing when you ought to be screwing". That's how much of a fuck Dave gives about what you were expecting. Naturally, there are bits and pieces that you might have heard from Kill 'Em All, but not nearly as much as you've been told and sounding very different with the tomcat howl and blitzkrieg leads that are unique to this group. Also, a minor point of contention is that a few of the ideas would crop up again in similar form on the next Megadeth album Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? although retrospectively penalizing a lack of freshness seems rather harsh on my part.

I guess it's important to decide whether this still stacks up in 2018 (since 33 years is rather an eternity in heavy metal terms) and it's definitely still exciting to give 'Chosen Ones' a blast even if the production robs it of the edge it deserves and turns it into a jangly racket of speed, like The Cure got hyped on amphetamines and thought that they wouldn't be let out of the rehearsal room until they had gone over 200bpm. Some of the more atmospheric parts get swallowed in that jangly production, especially the menacing opening of 'Looking Down the Cross', which is the only song that troubles five minutes. Everything else wastes little time in getting down to riffing, either stomping through some 'Wake Up Dead' style grooves or rushing like pure adrenaline without worrying about the finish line. With just eight tracks and such a brief running time, it's a relief to hear that nothing is excess, nor do any of the songs disappoint; however, this seems to fly by so quickly that I would be in favour of another track or a slightly expanded running time on the likes of 'Rattlehead' and the title track.

Nevertheless, it's a sign of clear quality that can make such a whirlwind experience of a rickety old album, so it's hats off to Mustaine's boys that this album is practically essential and still sounds sloppily skilful as all get out. Compared to the more polished and finished Peace Sells, this gives away a few yards, though arguably does a whole lot more than 1988's So Far, So Good...So What! with a similar formula, ensuring that the songs are packed to bursting point with furiously aggressive and melodic content. Despite sounding more like a really great demo than a debut proper, Killing Is My Business is still a great speed thrash release in its own right.

Killing is my Business - 90%

Grumpy Cat, November 9th, 2017

Oh, what do we have here? The first in a string of thrash metal classics? Darn, you'd think that wouldn't need explaining... oh my bad it doesn't. So for anyone who managed to miss out on the debut of one of the biggest metal bands, somehow clicked this review instead of the other dozen or so reviews and is now being introduced to the album via literary components rather than actually listening to it, I gave it a 90% because it's great album, a good contender for Megadeth's best if I were being honest.

This album is great because it was forged completely in betrayal, venom and ambition. After being kicked out of his former band by people he thought to be his friends, replaced and then hearing songs that he was largely involved in the creation of performed by aforementioned band and guitarist one can expect Dave Mustaine would be a bit angry, the fact is he made a point not just to out do another band but to outdo his own material. He gathered the most talented musicians he could get on board, together they composed some of the most vicious and fastest riffs and technically demanding solos of the time. They coupled the aggressive angry drumming of thrash metal with jazz tricks to create something unique and demanding. They created an album that was intricate but also venomous and full of hostilities, they broke new ground.

It's more than just ground breaking though, they wrote something that stands the test of time, even in over 30 years of thrash metal mania this album provides riffs that stand out and are memorable and remain influential. The sheer venom in Mustaine's vocals is rarely reproduced in other bands, or even by Megadeth later in their career. Songs here remain as live staples even amongst the massive rock hits the band would later create and there are still debates as to whether The Mechanix or The Four Horsemen is the better version of the song.

Killing is My Business...And Business is Good! - 98%

Iron Wizard, July 12th, 2017

As this album represents the beginnings of such an incredible and important thrash metal band as Megadeth, I will start by giving a little bit of background. Most probably are familiar with the story-Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica, and pissed off, he decided he was going to start a new project and crush Metallica in every possible aspect, namely technicality, speed, and aggression. The debut, Killing is My Business...And Business is good is the fruit of his mentality at the time, and it is also somewhat reflective of the less than ideal conditions under which the album was recorded. The record company grave the band a relatively small amount of money to record with, and a good portion of this went to personal expenses (such as drugs, which also play a role here). The amount of money left was insufficient, and led arguments regarding production, and thus a very demo-like sound. The production is one of the reasons this album is not worshipped alongside 'Peace Sells' and Rust in Peace. When I first heard it, I found it atrocious. I have since grown accustomed to poor production, and it is now the rule rather than the exception in most of the music I listen to, therefore I have no problem with this sound.

As soon as this album begins, with the eerie, classically sensible piano intro of "Last Rites/Loved to Deth", the band express their incredible musical skills. The song is extremely fast, such that the riffing is incoherent and runs together. Metallica's Kiill 'Em All, released two years prior, seems like a very accessible album compared to this siege of pure speed and technicality. If one were in the 80s, assessing the thrash metal scene in real time, one would be started upon hearing this, coming from a Metallica perspective, due to Dave Mustaine's odd vocals. Granted, he sings in a more mundane, less mocking manner, however his voice is still quite strange at times. It's high pitched and a little thin, but he does an excellent job using his natural voice to his advantage on this album. As for his guitar playing, he is miles ahead of the guys in Metallica. This is, of course, nothing against the aforementioned; they are incredible endurant, well rounded musicians, however, Dave Mustaine's playing is insane, especially for someone who was, at the time, heavily into drugs. There aren't many normal, stereotypical thrash riffs like one might hear on Exodus's Bonded by Blood here. Dave's style of thrash consists more of fast, technical run downs (the title track), intricate hammer on/pull off sections ("Loved to Deth", "Chosen Ones"), and some more creative stuff as well. Not to mention, his riffs, especially the main one of the title track, are very tight and catchy; this one takes a scale based rundown and slides into a very heavy, headbangable groove.

Chris Poland wise, I don't find much to be impressed by. He is an excellent guitarist, but I feel that his individuality didn't surface until the next album. The shredding solos here are good, but both he and Dave Mustaine sound like Kirk Hammett on a concoction of amphetamines and steroids, lacking distinctiveness. Slayer would be an adequate comparison as far as lead work goes as well, it's chaotic and noisy, not really smooth and melodic like it would be on 'Peace Sells'.

By far, the highlight of this album is "Looking Down the Cross". It's one of my favorite Megadeth songs, and it is essentially Megadeth's take on an epic song. Harmonics, mimicking the sound of distorted bells, create a sense of impending doom. Chris Poland actually does a cool solo here, by the way, consisting of some tapping over the drawn out chords of the rhythmic section. Dave snarls out sort of a personal mantra, then the song gets strange. The main sections combine a very 70s blues rock riff with tight, intricate thrash metal. The song gets better and better as it progresses, and is both the highlight of Dave Mustaine's creativity, and also his vocal performance. The song reminds me of a thrash metal version of Led Zeppelin. Other highlights (excluding already mentioned songs) include the Occult themed "The Skull Beneath the Skin", which tells us the story of a man being turned into the band's mascot, Vic Rattlehead, in the process of some kind of ritual torture. "Rattlehead" and "Mechanix" are two songs showcasing the band's more fun side. The former is a thrash metal anthem, more anthemic than the stuff from Kill 'Em All. "Mechanix" is the original version of "The Four Horsemen" from the aforementioned album. It's faster and it's lyrics tell the story of how automobiles procreate. Not as cerebral or interesting as 'Horsemen', but it's still a fun, catchy song.

Before closing this review up, I'd like to mention the obligatory cover. Dave Mustaine did a cover on all of his early albums. In this case, it was Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots". It contains some tasty playing with brutal thrashing, and has little in common with the original. The writer complained about how the sexual lyrics were a defacement of the original, and there was some kind of threat of a lawsuit. In total irony, they were required to bleep out not only the offensive sections, but also those that Dave casually changed. The constantly bleeping is complete ear rape, and is more offensive than the lyrics are if you ask me. Kind of funny. Anyways, Killing is My Business...And Business is Good is certainly an essential thrash metal album. Of course it is not Megadeth in the full fruition that was Rust in Peace, but it is an excellent piece of music.

Hopped up on dat speed - 83%

BlackMetal213, June 30th, 2016

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 - 76%

Big_Robot_Monster, March 30th, 2016

“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.

Solid Debut - 95%

McTague97, December 7th, 2014

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

Sloppy and Falls Off - 60%

StainedClass95, July 26th, 2014

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.

A fast and furious debut, albeit a very raw one - 77%

psychosisholocausto, April 11th, 2013

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.

Killing Is My Business... and this album is good - 95%

torment159, July 20th, 2010

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.

It's good but it lacks something - 75%

evermetal, October 30th, 2009

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.

Where It All Started - 92%

1stMetalheads, May 12th, 2008

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

Fantastic Debut - 89%

MEGANICK89, January 31st, 2008

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.

Vic's late yet triumphant debut. - 92%

hells_unicorn, April 16th, 2007

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.

Megadeth's most primal offering. - 78%

erickg13, January 19th, 2007

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.

A Debut Unparalleled - 97%

DawnoftheShred, October 18th, 2006

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.

Good debut, needs better production - 77%

music_shadowsfall, July 2nd, 2004

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.

Poor production and too many versions, but ok - 89%

HealthySonicDiet, April 15th, 2004

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.

Megadeth > Metallica? - 85%

Crimsonblood, February 14th, 2003

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.