Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!


Combat Records, 1985

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When I reviewed Exodus's Bonded By Blood a short time ago, I mentioned that the three big names in California heavy metal - Metallica, Megadeth and Exodus - all came out with rough-sounding but powerful debut albums. Today, we look at the second of those efforts, Megadeth's 1985 release Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!

Any half-hearted student of metal knows that Dave Mustaine was one of the original members of Metallica, and his departure/firing from the band eventually led to the formation of Megadeth. With guitarist Chris Poland, bassist Dave Ellefson and drummer Gar Samuelson in tow, Mustaine set out to release an album that would crush his former bandmates.

Did he succeed? Well, not really... but my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Killing Is My Business... is nothing to sneeze at, either. Sound-wise, it's very rough (rumors I've read say it's because half the album's budget was blown on, aah, "recreational activities"), but a lot of the debut efforts I've heard from this time period sounded rough, so let's not jump to too many conclusions.

Three of the eight songs on this album jump up and grab your attention almost immediately. The first is "Mechanix," a song that some people might scratch their heads on and say, "Hmm.. I've heard this before." Four words: Metallica's "The Four Horsemen". Seeing that Mustaine co-wrote that song when he was in Metallica, he has every right to release his own version (with different lyrics), and the end result isn't bad at all. The second is the title track, the song that probably caught most fans' attention back in the mid-'80s. The mixture of a slower (albeit heavy) lyric portion with the adrenalin-pumping bridge and chorus is enough to get anyone's head slamming into the drywall.

And then, there's the cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots"... a cover I happen to like. It's done slightly tongue-in-cheek, but with all the devil-may-care energy that propels many of the songs on Killing Is My Business.... Why the band chose to cover it, I don't know, but it's probably the only version of this song that I can stomach without living on Maalox for a week afterwards.

The remainder of Killing Is My Business... is equally strong, although the rougher production sound does distract at times. What could have been a pristine-sounding album with guitar solos that jumped out and grabbed you by the collar have been reduced to solos that sound a bit too muddy. (On the lighter side, there's not a terrible amount of echo used on Mustaine's vocals - and he does sing the parts quite often.) Tracks like "Rattlehead," Last Rites/Loved To Death" and "Skull Beneath The Skin" all do have their moments.

Mustaine and crew have easily topped this album in their career (though this particular lineup would only be together for one more album), but there is still enough on Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! to interest metalheads today - even if it's only to see how Megadeth got its start.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Combat Records, and is used for informational purposes only.