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Review

Megadeth- Killing is My Business… and Business is Good! 35th Anniversary Review

Band: Megadeth
Album: Killing is My Business… and Business is Good!
Label: Combat Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
Country: U.S.
Release Date: June 12, 1985

Megadeth’s classic debut album “Killing is My Business… And Business is Good!”, an album born of disappointment and resentment, was unleashed upon the world 35 years ago and announced to the world that Dave Mustaine was here to rattle your fucking head. After being kicked out of Metallica due to issues surrounding substance use and anger, Mustaine made it his point to create a band that was faster, tighter and more technically advanced than anything that James and Lars could ever create. After his departure from Metallica, Mustaine found bassist Dave Ellifson and the two of them started Megadeth in order to exact the revenge that Mustaine longed for. The decision was made to have Mustaine as Megadeth’s vocalist and the lineup was rounded out with drummer Gar Samuelson and guitar virtuoso Chris Poland and soon got into the studio to record “Killing is My Business”. 

Perhaps thrash’s most divisive band, Megadeth is, without a doubt, the band that has had the most technically proficient personnel of any of thrash’s Big 4, a circumstance that has led to some of the most complex songwriting that the subgenre has ever seen. This has never been more evident on a Megadeth album than it is on “Killing is My Business”. Being the key songwriter on the album, Mustaine’s anger fueled an absolute riff fest that is unlike any other album that thrash had ever seen. With so many different guitar riffs throughout the album,  Mustaine has said that he would have been able to write multiple albums out of the riffs used throughout “Killing is My Business”. While this easily could have led to an unfocused mess in a lesser musician’s care, the desire to prove himself and to show Metallica what they had lost, created a laser focus that produced something truly special. Even Mustaine’s vocals, which are often the point of contention when it comes to Megadeth, compliment the song structures in a way that makes it impossible to ignore.

Opening track “Last Rites / Loved You to Death”, begins with a piano intro that creates a perfect atmosphere to blend into the song’s opening riff. The song sets a tone for the album to allow the listener to truly get a sense of what they are in for. Other stand out tracks are the title track, “Rattlehead” and “Looking Down the Cross”, however, there are two tracks that really stand the test of time. The first being a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s, “These Boots”, a song that shouldn’t have worked but sounds absolutely amazing. The  second, and possibly more interesting of the two is “Mechanix”. Due to his frustration behind the use, and bastardization, of his riffs on Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All”, released two years earlier on the track “The Four Horsemen”, Mustaine sped the song up and cranked the intensity to a max and created an argument that still carries in metal circles to this day. “What’s better, Four Horsemen or Mechanix?”

While the album without a doubt carries classic status as it was the album that put Megadeth on the map, is not without faults. Firstly it is not their first, second or even third best album; see “Rust in Peace”, “Peace Sells, but Who’s Buying” and “Countdown to Extinction”. The album is also just kind of sloppy at times. As mentioned before, the songs contain a lot of riffs, one might say too many, which can at times lead to songs lacking overall cohesion. Additionally, the album comes off extremely dated nowadays, in terms of production and overall sound. While sounding like it was made in the 80’s is not necessarily a bad thing and the album gets a pass as it is the debut, other albums made around the same time have aged much better and even Megadeth proved able to make a massive improvement on the follow up. 

Due to the circumstances and mindset that went into the making of this album, and forgiveness and repair in the relationships with the members of Metallica, it is rare that the band chooses to play songs off of this album live, but when they do, the crowd goes crazy (I have seen them play “Rattlehead” and the fans absolutely lost their shit). Megadeth are a band that have shown that they are able to stand the test of time. They are arguably bigger today than they have ever been and have no problem selling out huge arenas night after night, something that most of their contemporaries are unable to do. “Killing is My Business… and Business is Good”, was the beginning of Megadeth’s rise to icon status, and while it is an album that Mustaine chooses to keep in his past for the most part, it is still one of the most influential thrash albums of all time and was the introduction for millions of people who still worship Megadeth to this day.

Click here to visit Megadeth’s website

Tracklist:

  1. Last Rites / Loved to Deth
  2. Killing is My Business… and Business is Good!
  3. The Skull Beneath the Skin
  4. These Boots
  5. Rattlehead
  6. Chosen Ones
  7. Looking Down the Cross
  8. Mechanix

Total Playing Time: 31:10

One comment
  1. Harked Back

    Great review. I’m glad you mentioned “Countdown…” among their best albums. It usually gets either hated or ignored.

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