"Killing is My Business... and Business is Good!" is the debut studio album by American thrash metal titans, Megadeth. It was released in 1985 on Combat Records and produced by Dave Mustaine & Karat Faye. The line-up for the album was Dave Mustaine (vocals/guitar), Chris Poland (guitar), David Ellefson (bass) and Gar Samuelson (drums).
When Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica in 1983, he wanted musical revenge on Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, and set about creating what is now Megadeth. Mustaine met David Ellefson by chance when he lived above him in an apartment block in Los Angeles. Suffering from a hangover and annoyed with the sound of Ellefson's bass, Mustaine went to remonstrate. Soon afterwards, the two were in the studio with Gar Samuelson and Chris Poland, and the rest, as they say, is history. Is it any good? Let's find out!
Last Rites / Loved to Deth
This is the album opener, and it begins with the sound of a keyboard playing Bach's famous "Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565" with Mustaine's guitar solo playing it out before jumping into the second part of the song. There was a reason why Megadeth was formed, and that reason is Mustaine's crushing riffs and intense solos. You get both of those on this song, which is about the narrator killing his girlfriend so that nobody else could have her. The vocals are seemingly rushed, but the guitar playing and drumming is relentless.
Killing is My Business... and Business is Good!
This is a song about a hitman who is paid to kill someone and after he carries out the deed, collects his money and then kills his employer as he's also been paid to kill him. It's another Megadeth song with fast and furious riffs, and, if you listened to it for the first time all those years ago, you would have realised that Mustaine's departure from Metallica was to be the start of something good, and is one of two songs on the album to feature Chris Poland ripping up a solo.
Skull Beneath My Skin
Here comes another driven solo to start the song, with an insane bass riff playing alongside the main guitars. It's a song about Megadeth's mascot, Vic Rattlehead and how he came to be. It begins slow, getting faster, and doesn't let up once it reaches breakneck speed, carrying on through yet another Dave Mustaine solo. If you're into solo playing, you'll love this song.
This is an almost comical interpretation and cover of Nancy Sinatra's famous 1966 song, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". The instruments are played with intensity, which is always a good thing. It sounds like it was recorded in one take, but studio time and money was an issue for many bands starting out back in the 1980s.
This is the second song on the album about the band's mascot, Vic, but it's also a headbanging anthem, dedicated to thrash metal. Just like Metallica with "Whiplash" or Exodus with "The Toxic Waltz", Megadeth has its own brand of thrash metal mania. It's the second of the song on this album which has a Chris Poland solo. Legend has it he has some kind of finger injury when he was younger, which enables him to play notes most guitarists can't.
This begins with a satisfying riff which sounds a bit like Slayer's "The Antichrist", which was on the band's 1983 debut, "Show No Mercy". Ironically, Slayer's Kerry King played a handful of shows with Megadeth when both bands were starting out. The song is about the killer rabbit scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
Looking Down the Cross
This is a song about the crucifixion and the last moments of the event and what Jesus is thinking while it is going on. It could also be a play on words, in regards to Mustaine being on the cross, and looking down at Lars and James of Metallica, having been betrayed by what he thought was his closest friends. It's more melodic than most songs on the album with its serious side to the music and its heaviness, too.
This is a song that die-hard Metallica fans will know, in a musical sense. It is a song Mustaine wrote while he was in Metallica and is basically a sped up version of "The Four Horsemen", which appears on their debut album, "Kill 'Em All". To cut a long story short, Mustaine apparently asked Metallica not to use any of his songs, which they accordingly did, so he decided Megadeth should record "Mechanix". Going back to 1985 when this album was recorded, Mustaine was an angry young guy, and it's pretty evident when you hear the song that he's got a lot to say when singing. Playing guitar, however, is a different story. The man can shred, and shred better than a lot of guitarists out there.
While Metallica's debut album laid the foundation for what thrash metal became, Slayer and Anthrax duly followed with "Show No Mercy" and "Fistful of Metal" respectively. The final piece of the jigsaw in the 'Big 4' came when Megadeth released this album. Metallica went on to become one of the biggest names in heavy metal, selling millions of records, but let's not forget how they got there in the first place; with help, songs, solos and riffs from a certain Mr. David Scott Mustaine. Take the Big 4, and this man is 50% of that. This album paved the way for more thrash metal bands to become heavier, faster and less intimidated by the music industry.
1. Last Rites / Loved to Deth
2. Killing is My Business... and Business is Good!
3. Skull Beneath the Skin
4. These Boots
6. Chosen Ones
7. Looking Down the Cross