Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Megadeth - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! (1985)

What do you do if you get kicked out of a band, just before they get their breakthrough and releases a groundbreaking record? Dave Mustaine probably asked himself the exact same question when he got sacked by the rest of Metallica, and he came up with a genius answer. He started a new band, just to get even with his former band mates, and challenged them to a ultimate match between two of the first and biggest thrash metal bands in existence.

And his first strike with this new band was the 1985 album "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!", which Dave created together with bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Christopher Poland, and drummer Gar Samuelson. The goal for the album was to make it faster and heavier than whatever Metallica was doing. Did Dave succeed with his plan? I would say yes and no. This album is indeed faster than both "Kill 'em All" and "Ride The Lightning", but it is not really as heavy as them. You can however not deny that it is a strong punch that Dave delivers towards his former band mates.

The thing that really drives "Killing Is My Business..." forward is the excellent guitar work. The riffs and solos are bone crushing and the album is overfilled with them. Megadeth just crams them down through your ears one by one, and you do not want them to stop, you just want more of the same, great thing. One thing that is not so great though is Dave's singing voice. I will say that his voice fits the music, but it is far from the finest voice in metal. Apparently, Dave spent six months in searching for a singer before he decided to take the job himself. I can only help but wonder if nobody could meet Dave's high standards or if it was that nobody could handle Dave's personality that forced the decision.

The main problem with this album is production. Sure, it is raw and some people might even enjoy the lack of production value, but I feel like the music would have been even better with a professional production. This album has some sweet thrash gems in it, like the title track, "Rattlehead", "Last Rites/Loved To Deth", "Mechanix" and "The Skull Beneath The Skin", so the album itself is fantastic, but it is dragged down thanks to the production.

We also have the Nancy Sinatra cover "These Boots", which has some altered lyrics, something the original writer of the song, Lee Hazlewood, was not very fond of. He even threatened the band to get rid of the cover since he felt the lyrics was wild and offensive. That is why the song in the re-released version from 2002 have those lyrics bleeped, making the song sound dirtier than what it really is. Otherwise it is an interesting cover with an amazing bass line, and the new lyrics are quite humorous.

For a debut album, "Killing Is My Business.." is far from a bad one. The speed and riffing in the album is pure thrash candy for your ears and a good display on how good of a guitarist both Mustaine and Poland is. But there are still some things the band needs to work on to make their product perfect, like the production. None the less, this statement from Dave Mustaine is a strong one, and a good showing on what a fantastic career he would accomplish with this band. So take a listen to this album, and rattle your god damn head.

Songs worthy of recognition: Rattlehead, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!, The Skull Beneath The Skin

Rating: 8/10 Chosen Ones

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