Megadeth
Killing Is My Business...


4.5
superb

Review

by FirstStrikeIsDeadly USER (24 Reviews)
May 18th, 2014 | 32 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ...and Business is Good! So is the album. Megadeth's raw debut.

When Dave Mustaine was booted out of Metallica on a bus in '83, he wanted his own band to be the fastest, heaviest band around, way cooler than those lame-os who'd kicked him out. Given the more melodic (though certainly qualifying as thrash, at least for four albums) direction that Megadeth would end up taking, you wouldn't believe it. But with 1985's Killing Is My Business, Megadeth sounded very vicious and hungry.

Megadeth would have many, many lineups throughout their career, and this was true even in their early days. But for two studio albums, Dave'd managed to secure the lineup of himself on vocals and guitar, Chris Poland on guitar, David Ellefson on bass (He'd the member to be on the highest number of albums, other than Mustaine of course), and Gar Samuelson on drums. Gar Samuelson does a stellar job behind the kit for sure. David Ellefson is fairly audible, but obviously, Dave Mustaine is the most vital member. He wrote all the music and lyrics here (That's barring These Boots, obviously, but even then he wrote crass new lyrics), after all. Dave's performance tends to sound fairly different on each album, and here is no different. Mustaine oddly reminds me of Bon Scott at some points for whatever silly reason. He's as harsh on this album as the music itself.

How rough and raw is the music here? Although the first track opens with a rather eloquent piano/guitar intro, Last Rites, a menacing, sharp riff blares, beginning the first "proper" song, Loved to De(a)th. (The title differs between releases; originally, it was Loved to Death, but on the remaster it's Loved to Deth, which I guess is a cheesy connection to the band name.) As absolutely evil as this song is, you wouldn't dare think that MegaDave would go on to be involved with corny dreck like Crush 'Em and I'll Be There. The riffs and lyrics here are too venomous to be made goofy by Dave's performance. He howls, "Your body's empty now/As I hold you! Now you're gone, I miss you/But I told you," overtop riffage that sounds a bit unrefined but is nonetheless suitably wicked. The part with the evil laughter would itself be fodder for laughter, but is saved by Gar Samuelson's punching percussion, David Ellefson's thumping bass, and Mustaine and Poland's slicing guitar work. The title track is a combination of wicked grooves and thrashing mayhem that'll leave you battered. The thrashing really takes effect towards the end as the song closes out wih a memorable repeated shout of the album and song's title. "Ya better believe it!" Skull Beneath the Skin, about the band's skeletal mascot Vic Rattlehead, opens with an ominously evil intro. Then they rev up with some cutting riffage that seems built to mosh to. Seriously, the riff here might be one of Megadeth's best ever riffs, and its introduction is even better with splitting shredding. Then the "main" part of the song comes in. "Mean and infectious!" Sounds like this album. From this point on, the song's alright, until they pick up speed, at which point you really oughta be headbanging.

Going by the original release's track order, These Boots is next. Sadly, this song is neutered by the Remastered edition, which places all these stupid beeps overtop the vocals. Why not just mute the offending lyrics? Better yet, why not make it an instrumental? Or just cut the damned song out if you're not going to release it the right way, which is what they did before the remaster. Anyways, These Boots is a remake of the well-known Nancy Sinatra song "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". Dave added snide, sarcastic lyrics that come across as a parody of the original, and which feature suggestive themes and "naughty" language that apparently offended the original author of the song, Lee Hazlewood. Megadeth's version can't be considered a replacement for the original, but it's fun nonetheless. Even more fun is the next original song, Rattlehead. With that lightning fast riff and shout of "Here I come!", you know you'd better get ready to start headbanging. Hence the name. If speedy mayhem wasn't enough to get you going, the mosh-worthy midsection should be good enough. "Winning, sinning, beginning! Feeding the needing for bleeding!" Well, you can certainly tell this is the first album Dave Mustaine wrote all the lyrics for. Chosen Ones starts out higher tempo, but not quite what you could call "fast". Then they slow down, which is when the song really comes into its own (or as much as one under three minutes can), with a chaotic and fierce solo leading to the last verse. Mustaine and Poland are quite the formidable guitar solo. David Ellefson's bass playing even gets a cool highlight.

Looking Down the Cross' introduction is about a million times more effective in the original version. This brings up something I hadn't thought to mention before; production. Much has been said about how this album (or the original version at least), frankly, sounds like ***. When it comes to the original version, it's certainly a bit muffled, a smidge too quiet, and Mustaine's vocals are drenched in enough reverb to give them a dated feel. However, Ellefson's bass is loud (Just the way I like it!) and adds extra heaviness in addition to highlighting his skills, and it has a big advantage over the remastered version in that it's dynamic. The 2002 remaster certainly is not. It's louder...and as is the norm with loud remasters, there isn't much in the way of dynamic range. This cripples the hell out of Looking Down the Cross. There's the intro, which grates in the remaster but creeps along eerily in the original. And as for the "main" parts of the song (Basically, before it gets fast), something is undoubtedly lost in the louder edition. While some songs, such as Rattlehead, sound vicious with shiny new digital sound, others, like Looking Down the Cross and Skull Beneath the Skin, sound a bit neutered.

Returning to the music itself, Looking Down the Cross is about the crucifixion of Jesus from his perspective, and sports a super ominous (not to mention super badass) introduction. Nice midpaced riffage, and then David Ellefson keeps things going for a bit while Dave Mustaine shows off his vocal chops. Then comes the speed...which actually isn't too effective. What is effective, though, is Dave's shouts afterwards. "Looking down the cross! Speak no evil!" The final song (again, going by the original order), Mechanix, has a story behind it that pretty much everyone and their dog probably knows about by now. For those that aren't aware, this song, albeit slower and with some new riffs and lyrics, was on Metallica's Kill 'Em All as "The Four Horsemen". It was written during Dave's tenure in the band, and you can find it as "The Mechanix" with the original lyrics (the ones here) on their Power Metal and No Life 'Til Leather demos. Dave was pissed, so he put that song on here as simply "Mechanix", with a bit of extra speed and a cool intro. It's a fun closer, I suppose, although I'd probably classify it as a weaker cut.

Megadeth's first album is a furious slab of pounding thrash metal that I sometimes feel doesn't get its fair dues. Can you really go wrong with tracks like Last Rights/Loved to De(a)th, Skull Beneath the Skin, and Looking Down the Cross? It's not without faults; Mechanix just can't compare with Rattlehead. In addition, it's obvious that the tracks here aren't as developed as their later output. But don't let that convince you that this isn't some damn fine stuff. 4.5/5

RECOMMENDED TRACKS/BEST OF:
Last Rites/Loved to De(a)th
Skull Beneath the Skin
Rattlehead
Looking Down the Cross



Recent reviews by this author
Megadeth RiskMegadeth Youthanasia
Megadeth Countdown to ExtinctionMegadeth Rust in Peace
Megadeth Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?Heathen Victims of Deception
user ratings (1442)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
FirstStrikeIsDeadly
May 18th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

1AM is the best time to submit reviews to Sputnikmusic!

FiveLeavesLeft
May 18th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck, 10 reviews later and this is the only review that's come up with that summary? Damn, people

Will read in a sec

dannyboy89
May 18th 2014


11975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Sweet review, although this band has one too many reviews if you ask me. I suggest you review more obscure thrash bands, it'll probably be a better, more productive use of your time, effort and skills.

FirstStrikeIsDeadly
May 18th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the advice, but I'll stick with doing Megadeth for now on the basis that I really slacked off on doing reviews of Megadeth's stuff (I was supposed to do this Wednesday!), thus my mind is dead set on it. I plan on reviewing Sacred Reich's stuff sometime, though.

dannyboy89
May 18th 2014


11975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fair enough dude.

FirstStrikeIsDeadly
May 18th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm really looking forward to reviewing Risk. The two most negative reviews of it don't do the album "justice", in my view, and there are more mixed-to-positive reviews of it overall despite its low average rating. I can't wait to destroy that album, especially since that'd be my first negative full review.

tempest--
May 18th 2014


13620 Comments


but its a good album why would you want to destroy it

FiveLeavesLeft
May 18th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ this

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2014


14450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed with Danny, don't waste your energy reviewing stuff that doesn't need to be reviewed. You're a good writer, try and shed some light on some stuff that people don't know about.

Digging: Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land

BMDrummer
May 18th 2014


7747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty good review. I once saw this in a record store as a first pressing with the original cover, probably should've bought it.

Digging: Shellac - Dude Incredible

tempest--
May 18th 2014


13620 Comments


he's really not that good a writer

it's prob skele anyway

SnakeDelilah
May 18th 2014


7436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

requesting contrib

Digging: Nothing - Guilty of Everything

FirstStrikeIsDeadly
May 18th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still don't know who Skele is :/

tempest--
May 18th 2014


13620 Comments


such a skele thing to say

SnakeDelilah
May 18th 2014


7436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really doubt that this is Skele because all of his ratings are thrash and nwobhm; no shitty deathcore/metalcore/post-hardcore or demi lovato.

dannyboy89
May 18th 2014


11975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't know if skele is around anymore.

@Strike: he used to be a user around here, I believe he often wrote troll reviews and stuff. The term "skele" seems to have gradually become interchangeable with the term "troll" on Sput.

FirstStrikeIsDeadly
May 18th 2014


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh...I haven't written any troll reviews, though.

tempest--
May 18th 2014


13620 Comments


dude jake the snake, i know skele better than most users on here hahaha
i know its not him but idk every new user is skele

btw OP if you want some legit advice from me it's really just your flow and syntax and shit that needs improving. you can spell and use grammar correctly and everything so thats all good.
really, the best thing you can do is read staff reviews and stuff and try to see how they keep their reviews interesting and fun to read.
like this is almost entirely unnecessary:

"beginning the first "proper" song, Loved to De(a)th. (The title differs between releases; originally, it was Loved to Death, but on the remaster it's Loved to Deth, which I guess is a cheesy connection to the band name.)"

i mean its a cool bit of info but it doesnt help the review at all.
and this:
"Why not just mute the offending lyrics? Better yet, why not make it an instrumental? Or just cut the damned song out if you're not going to release it the right way, which is what they did before the remaster."

it feels like stream of consciousness (is that the right term?) writing, which doesn't read well. really think about what you want to write, and what youre trying to say. it'll help make your reviews a lot more concise and remove some of the unnecessary verbosity.

LaughingSkull
May 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm glad you chose to review Megadeth, and I can't wait to see you review RIP.

Even though I agree with your rating, the review kinda feels like you're simply giving a synopsys of the tracks, without really commenting much on the quality of the album and what makes it so great.

I'm also surprised you didn't include the title track in your recommended tracks.

NeroCorleone80
May 18th 2014


29089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

m/



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy