Megadeth - Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!
Astonishment. Blasphemy! No review for any Megadeth album whatsoever? Well, leave it to me. Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good was the debut album for now-legendary metallers Megadeth, a band that may have never been had frontman and general sparkplug of a person Dave Mustaine never gotten himself booted from Metallica. As any history buff should know, that little incident was added fuel to Dave's musical fire, and he had the strongest of urges to end up bigger, better, faster and harder than that "other" band ever would. Today, it's hardly debatable who still remains entrenched in their metal upbringing and who is...doing duets with Lou Reed. All of this is proper learning when going back to judge Megadeth's debut album because, where they've gotten today is, for the most part, clearly prognosticated 26 years prior.
The piano introduction is totally offputting and has little to do with what's to come other than to show that Mustaine and co. had the chops to properly reinterpret Bach. Maybe a middle finger to their old friends in and of itself. The album kicks into gear right off the bat with "Loved To Death", and never really lets up the rest of the way. The early line-up of Mustaine, Chris Poland on guitar, Dave Ellefson on bass and Gar Samuelson on drums is considered to be the "classic" Megadeth lineup, despite spending relatively little time together throughout the band's discography. All exhibit the talent, aggressiveness and ambition that would turn Megadeth into forerunners of metal by and large. The production values (I am holding a non-remastered copy of the album) are certainly dated and, were it not for the band's insistance on using their budget on drugs, booze and food, this perhaps wouldn't have been the case. But it does add a certain ruggedness and DIY attitude to an unpolished and up-and-coming metal band. "These Boots" was, at one time, hotly contraversial and, as it stands today, a rather unimpressive and drab version of Nancy Sinatra's classic track. The final four of "Rattlesnake", "Chosen Ones", "Looking Down The Cross" and "Mechanix" (aka The Four Horsemen, released by that "other" band) are the album's true highlights, and the latter is the biggest sign of the greatness to come.
It would have been difficult to tell at the time, but in hindsight we can see that Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good was the first step in a long and successful career for Dave Mustaine and his Megadeth project, one that continues to this day. Rough around the edges, unrefined and without the practiced groove Mustaine's vocals would eventually take on, this record is Megadeth at their most uninhibited and vulnerable. It still serves as a blueprint for how to craft thrash metal, but only when taken alongside their next few records.
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