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MEGADETH - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! cover
3.51 | 96 ratings | 12 reviews
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Album · 1985

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Last Rites / Loved to Deth (4:41)
2. Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (3:07)
3. The Skull Beneath the Skin (3:48)
4. Rattlehead (3:43)
5. Chosen Ones (2:55)
6. Looking Down the Cross (5:02)
7. Mechanix (4:25)
8. These Boots (4:39)
9. Last Rites / Loved to Death * (demo) (4:16)
10. Mechanix * (demo) (3:59)
11. The Skull Beneath the Skin * (demo) (3:11)

* bonus track

Total Time: 43:52


- Dave Mustaine / lead and rhythm guitar, lead vocals, piano
- Chris Poland / rhythm and lead guitar
- David Ellefson / bass guitar, backing vocals
- Gar Samuelson / drums, timpani

About this release

Release date: June 12, 1985
Label: Combat Records

Re-released by Loud Records in 2002 with 3 bonus tracks. 2002 version contains censored version of "These Boots" due to legal issues with songwriter Lee Hazlewood.

Thanks to Stooge, progshine, Unitron, diamondblack for the updates


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Not many albums say pure revenge and anger like Megadeth's debut album. It's rough, it spits, and it has all the pissed off energy to deliver a balls-to-the-wall thrash/speed metal album. Plus how can you not love a title that is so campy like this one but still feels like a big middle finger? It's heavier than Kill 'em All, it doesn't feel like a band that hasn't found their sound like Fistful of Steel, and its album cover doesn't out-camp Show No Mercy, and all the better for it.

There's something real cathartic about letting all your built up emotions out in the form of music, and that's exactly what makes Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good such an enjoyable and aggressive listen. Put yourself in Dave Mustaine's shoes, and I'm sure you'd be pissed to no end too if you got kicked out of a band that you committed yourself to. This certainly has the well-written music to back up that anger though with frantic speeds, killer riffs, colossal drums, Mustaine's signature sneering vocals, and Ellefson's sweet bass grooves.

Probably the most well-known song on the album is "Mechanix", which Mustaine originally wrote for Metallica, and you can tell when listening to it. It would certainly not sound out of place on Kill 'em All, but also fits right in with what would become Megadeth's signature sound. The title cut is one of my favorites, and actually kind of sounds like a precursor to Soundgarden's "Nazi Driver" from 1988's UltraMegaOK. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" is another favorite, with absolutely killer riffing and almost jazzy basslines.

Depending on what's most important, the remaster or the original might be the best choice. The original has a rougher production, but the cover of "These Boots" is completely in it's snarky uncut form. The remaster has a much better and louder production, but unfortunately "These Boots" is censored. The censor is even more obnoxious because it actually has bleeps rather than just cutting of words. So whichever is more important to the listener will determine which version to get.

For me, this is the best of the big four debuts, and the most focused. It's got spitfire angst with great music to back it up. If you're pissed off, and a Pantera album isn't around, grab the next best thing with one of Megadeth's first three albums. Hope you found this review album, feel free to comment!
Surely every heavy metal fan knows the story of Dave Mustaine being kicked out of Metallica and forming Megadeth? Right? No? Ok, I'll wait here while you quickly look it up.

Done? Good.

With Megadeth, Mustaine had one goal, and that was to create something faster, heavier and more extreme than his former band. It's arguable, but I'd say he succeeded. 'Killing is My Business' certainly has a raw, ruthless energy to it, and whilst it oozes bloodthirsty hatred towards Hetfield and Ulrich, it sadly comes at the expense of the actual compositions.

Sure, the riffs are fast, the vocals are full of spite and bitterness, and the songs rage with angst and rebellion, but to be honest, it quickly becomes very repetitive. The horribly tacky and rushed production makes most of the riffs indistinguishable, and the guitar solos sound like nothing more than an annoying, high-pitched flail of notes. And I'm fairly sure a five-year-old could come up with more interesting vocal melodies than this.

There's only really one or two memorable moments on this album. 'Last Rites – Loved To Deth' is probably the only song I'd consider passable, whilst all the others have the odd riff here or there, but there really is nothing that can truly save this debut. Then there’s ‘Mechanix’, the infamous song that Mustaine introduces as; “There’s their version, and there’s OUR version”. Sentimentality aside, Metallica's version (titled 'The Four Horsemen') is simply better in every way.

Megadeth are a fantastic band, and this is really the only record of theirs I don’t like. I've got to believe that if this was the debut from any generic thrash metal band in the 80's, they probably never would have made it to the 90's. Thankfully for Mustaine, he was a member of the genres biggest band and had garnered himself a cult following that gave him the opportunity to progress past this album. And to be fair, most metalheads in the 80's loved it regardless. 'Cause they'd buy anything anyway.

God-awful debut, but better things are coming.

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Vim Fuego
After Dave Mustaine's departure from Metallica, it was inevitable he would put together a band of his own. What wasn't inevitable was that it would be as successful as Megadeth turned out to be.

His fortuitous teaming up with Dave Ellefson provided the perfect foil for his creative outputs, and Megadeth was born. There is no doubting his creativity as both a songwriter and guitar player, but with this album he had a problem with being too short and too soft.

Y'see, "Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good" isn't very heavy. Sure, it's fast, it's got riffs to the eyeballs, and it's got solos and the standard mid-1980s thrash lyrics, but it's about as heavy as a Motley Crüe album. It also isn't very long, only just scraping in over the half hour mark, with the inclusion of a cover and a half ("These Boots", made famous by Nancy Sinatra and "Mechanix", which Mustaine wrote with Metallica).

The guitars here have none of the bite or crunch of Megadeth's masterworks "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying" and "So Far, So Good...So What!". Mustaine and Chris Poland are both credited as lead guitar, neglecting the rhythm guitar role, but many of the riffs play more like solos anyway, and the thin production lets the talents of both Mustaine and Poland to shine through

However, it is refreshing to hear Dave Ellefson's bass, often lost in the mix in later recordings, as it twangs and rattles, particularly on "These Boots" and "Rattlehead". Ellefson is no Cliff Burton, but his bass lines were hardly the straightforward bottom end boost for the rhythm guitar which a lot of bands at the time focused on.

The dynamics on the album are excellent, particularly for a debut. "Looking Down The Cross" in particular builds anticipation with a complex little guitar introduction, building momentum all the time, before bursting into a crushing riff, one of the best on the album. Mustaine puts forth his best vocal performance; sticking with the now familiar mid-range snarl, rather than straining for high notes beyond his vocal register. The song climaxes with a neck-snapping mid-pace riff, over which Mustaine almost chants the refrain "looking down the cross/speak no evil".

Megadeth was the only band to ever push Metallica in the battle for thrash supremacy during the 80s, and while this album showed potential, Megadeth was still well behind the game. As far as debuts go, it was not as amateurish as Anthrax's "Fistful Of Metal", nor as cheesy as Slayer's "Show No Mercy", but was well below the standard of what the leading bands of the genre were producing in 1985, and it was short a good two or three songs. This was Megadeth's first shaky step on the way to the top.
siLLy puPPy
MEGADETH's first album is the thrash metal equivalent to many black metal demos in terms of production quality. This album is notorious for its muddy murky sound because the band took the money and binged on booze, babes and grub. No money left to pay a producer so they sacked him and finished it themselves. Although it isn't great, it isn't as bad as the later professionally recorded album “So Far, So Good...” It gives it that underground feel and feels a million miles away from the glossy over-produced album “Countdown To Extinction.”

Although it's not their best album, I really love the songs on this one including perhaps the ONLY metal version of Nancy Sinatra's “These Boots!” This album has a satisfying energetic and raw feel to it. These headbangers were hungry for success which wouldn't be far away but on this release we get a thrash fury in full flame unlike anything that came after. This album is also interesting in the way it sounds. It's not quite thrash yet and you can hear the transitioning taking place right here. A fun little album that I don't revisit often enough.
The fast, complex, and combative debut of Megadeth sees the band at their rawest and fastest. Whilst future releases would benefit from better production due to the band not drinking half the recording budget, and would see them slow down their compositions so as to better develop the individual sections, Killing Is My Business stands out as some of the fastest thrash metal any of the Big Four have ever made. Beginning with a little Bach and concluding with an insanely quick rendition of The Mechanix, the album might be sloppily mixed - Dave's vocals in particular are buried - but that doesn't hide the talent on offer, particularly the furious basswork from David Ellefson.
Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good is Megadeth’s debut full length studio album and was released in 1985, two full years after Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax released their debut albums which would be responsible in a large part for the form and direction of the entire subgenre of Thrash Metal for the next few years. Given their late entry onto the sphere of professional recordings, in a fickle music industry it is doubly impressive how important the band would become and how they became popular soon became.

Sharing its year-of-release with other important debuts such as Overkill’s Feel The Fire and the unfortunately late Exodus debut; Killing Is My Business And Business… Is Good is a highly important album that anyone with a serious interest in Thrash Metal absolutely needs to have in their collection that provides modern listeners with an insight into the early years of the movement and which all Megadeth fans should pick up at some time or another.

The poor, but charming production job is often talked about, as are the connections with Metallica and the band’s drug habits at the time, but judged on a purely musical Merit Killing Is My Business’ is an absolutely fantastic album of well written and well performed material with a brilliant youthful energy and audible anger/determination that makes the album ‘feel’ different to all of the band’s later work.

Tracks like ‘Rattle Head,’ ‘Loved To Deth,’ and the amazing Title Track are what Thrash Metal is all about and still stand up to this day. There is variety to be had too in the second half of the album with ‘Chosen Ones,’ ‘Looking Down The Cross,’ which add some different flavour to the release.

The band’s level of musicianship is impressive considering all the surrounding circumstances and the line up featuring Dave Ellefson on bass, Chris Poland on guitar and Gar Samuelson on drums gel well together on their first of two releases made together. Listening to this album it is no surprise that they would go on to write the classic Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? record only a year later, something which a weaker line up would no doubt have been incapable of.

The tracks on this album are all great and it is a genuine delight when the band stick one into their setlist live, and can be enjoyed over and over again without becoming stale. Overall; Killing Is My Business’ is a hugely underrate record full of great songs, a must for Megadeth fans and essential for any Thrash Enthusiast as well.
From beginning to end, Killing Is My Business meets the purpose that the two Daves set out to do by creating a ultra-fast/utra-furious sound. “Loved You To Death” and the title-track kick off the album with a great deal of aggression. The band sounds tighter on tracks “The Skull Beneath The Skin” and “Chosen Ones” while maintaining the intensity.

The classic track on this album has to be “Rattlehead”. It’s one of the fastest songs on a thrash album full of quick ones, but the lead breaks by Mustaine and Poland are also very entertaining, and the lyrics make it something of a thrash anthem (using the name of their recognizable mascot as a song title helps).

“Mechanix” should sound familiar to Metallica fans since it’s almost note-for-note what “The Four Horseman” was in it's early stages. Aside from the intro, this is pretty much the song in its original form (including the lyrics). I honestly prefer what Metallica did with it after Mustaine was dismissed, but Dave has to be recognized for having wrote the lion’s share of the song, which helped give thrash it’s sound.

The hardest part of the album to listen to is their cover of “These Boots”. It was definitely considered to be a joke instead of a genuine tribute, but these types of humor-laced tracks don’t often age well to me. To make things worse, the remastered version bleeps out a good deal of the lyrics censored by an annoying BLEEEEP. Censored or not, I’m not a fan.

This album set the tone for Megadeth’s sound that they would use for much of their career, and they’d smooth out some of the rough edges in the near future. Good album, great album considering it’s their debut!
Judging from the original 1985 release, Megadeth's debut was a hurried affair that didn't get the consideration and song writing maturity that Dave would reach a year later. Luckily the 2002 remix has made me appreciate the album, or rather, you can actually hear what's being played.

It is inevitable to compare this album to Metallica's debut from two years earlier. Safe to say the comparison isn't in Megadeth's favor. When looking forward to what Slayer did only one year later, the album sounds dated, clichéd and clumsy at times. But I do love the aggression, anger and bite it has. Dave was pissed and the skull you see on the cover is probably how he fancied Hetfield's skull served for breakfast. All songs have a direct emotional punk quality that come much appreciated here. The actual songs are fairly unremarkable, and "The Mechanix" doesn't hold up well compared to the real thing.

Not the best way to start, but Mr Rattlehead would be back, and how!
I have a love/hate relationship with Megadeth. I love the music I have heard, but depending on my mood I hate Dave Mustaine's voice (sometimes I can tolerate it, other times not). I have owned different CDs of theirs over the years (most notably Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction) but have never even heard Killing...; until now, that is.

It's only 8 songs, which as it turns out, is kind of a blessing. There are a few cool tracks here, "Rattlehead", "Skull Beneath The Skin" and the title track...but the other songs do nothing for me. I listened 3 times to this album and "Mechanix" is better as "The Four Horsemen", "These Boots" is flat out stupid, and the others suffer from a combo of Dave's voice and kind of boring (to me) riffs. I admit though, that the three I like, I happen to like quite a bit.

Verdict: I can understand Megadeth's place in the Metal pantheon, I just can't really get into them overall in terms of buying their albums. I think I'd be content with a good anthology.
The Angry Scotsman
The debut album my Megadeth and its leader, the brilliant and blood thirsty Dave Mustaine, "Killing is My Business..." achieves exactly what Dave set out to do: Be faster, more intense, and more technical than Metallica.

This is a great album. Fast. Intense. A true thrash metal album, as it an assault from start to finish. The Megadeth sound is here though. Complex riffs, great guitar work, awesome song structure and just well composed songs. All the instruments work together well. Awesome solos, (complimented by great rhythm work). The drumming is good on the album, not the best but holds its own and then some. Gar Samuelson was originally a jazz fusion drummer (played with Chris Poland in a jazz fusion band) and lays down some great beats.

However, that brings me to a major downside of the album. Sound quality. Usually this is not an issue for me. On this album though the quality is poor enough that it DOES detract from the sound. While impressive, I found this album unlistenable. It sounds like a mess, and makes it tougher to really appreciate the instruments (especially the drumming). With a band like Megadeth you need to hear it all for the full scope of it all. I did cave and get the remaster (I am a stubborn traditionalist) and the sound quality is much better! Guitar and drums heard so much better, and my opinion of this album soared. Must say though, the censored version of "These Boots" on the remaster is terrible. Complete song killer.

Great album and impressive debut. Fast, complex, intense, well composed and structured. Impressive display of skill and musicianship.

Four Stars (but please get the remaster!)

Members reviews

This is the first output of Dave Mustaine after he was kicked from Metallica. The music was raw and you could feel a lot of anger in the songs. You can even feel the anger in his riffs. What makes the album unique is/was, Chris and Gar were originally jazz/fusion musicians rather a "metalhead". However, the album opened the door for Megadeth as well as opened the eyes of the critics -- the fact that Mustaine was able to stand on his own. His own band. Honestly, I see the music is very much away from the ones put out by Metallica in their debut. The only similarities probably the song "Mechanix", with different lyrics.

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