Megadeth - Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (remaster)
Loud Records
‘Deth Metal
11 songs (43:43)
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

As someone who got into the whole Thrash game rather late, it’s sometimes hard to see where all the adulation for certain bands comes from. No, I wasn’t there in the eighties or nineties, I didn’t witness the rise and fall of the genre, the creation of greatness amidst peril that must surely rank as one of the most fascinating musical periods of the 20th century, and as we all know, that alone can be enough to get you a bucketful of derision from the genre’s elitists. I have watched, rather cynically, from the sidelines as Thrash Metal has been dragged back into the spotlight for a new generation of fans to appreciate – heck, even Metallica has hopped on the bandwagon, the legend’s incoming new album being hyped as a return to Thrash days. Is it a commercially minded move by a few labels colluding to bring certain bands back into focus, or a genuine rebirth? The debate will go on for years.

What is fascinating to me personally, and I’m sure to many of you reading, is how little Thrash there is in Megadeth’s back catalogue. After three albums of distinct, experimental Thrash, the band went Prog with Rust In Peace, and then started down a Heavy Metal route that would lead them through Pop and back around to a sort of Rusty sound with 2007’s United Abominations. Of course, it’s those early albums that are the most beloved, as with Metallica up to the self-titled and Slayer up until Divine Intervention. Are the early albums in general really better, though? Well, in many ways they’re not, but in one, vital way they are: that ‘Thrash’ element, that exciting energy that must have made the period so exciting to live in, that Thrashers live in memory of nowadays.

I’ve always loved Megadeth’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? album, one of my first proper Thrash impulse-buys that has been on the playlist more or less constantly since. I practically know it by heart. The albums surrounding it, however, I’ve had a little more trouble with. Whilst Rust In Peace is as good if not better than Peace Sells…, 1988’s So Far, So Good… So What! took more time to connect, and as for the band’s debut, don’t ask. Until recently, that is. Randomly deciding to load the Deth’s back catalogue (all of which I own!) onto my MP3 player, the title track for Killing… came up, and I was in love.

This is Mega-Dave unleashed, freed from the self-imposed constraints of the later years and free to spill his drug-fuelled (cocaine, heroin and cannabis for the entire writing and recording process – it’s a well-known fact that he spent half the original budget from Combat Records on drugs) rage at his former Metallica bandmates onto record. Yes, he’d be on drugs for most of his career, but never has it come over so strongly as here. His voice is the first thing that you’ll notice – it’s out of control! Up, down, sneering, spitting, raw and unchecked, it rides over the top of the music like a beast – and yet it’s very endearing, giving you a sense of the buried excitement that Mustaine must have felt beneath the anger. He sounds almost cheerful on Chosen Ones, and of course, the cover of These Boots is a joy, even with the beeps in. If you’re used to the likes of Tom G. Warrior’s grunty performance, then you’ll love this, but those who got into the Deth through later albums might well be put off at first.

Needless to say, it’s impossible to stay put off for long, once you’ve listened to the music itself. Mixing Dave’s Neoclassical impulses with his desire to go all-out on speed and nastiness, the result is a technical yet faceripping album that takes neither prisoners nor shit. Thrash riffs are mixed with almost Bluesy moments, all played at a killing pace and Gar Samuelson’s drum performance is unbelievable for the time; fast, technical and varied. Each and every track is killer, from Mechanix (The Four Horsemen on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All, of course) to Chosen Ones, a slightly simpler yet still excellent song based around the killer rabbit from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. The title track is simply outstanding, a forerunner for the technical anthems of later, whilst Looking Down The Cross takes a more sombre, even epic tone. There’s little reason that Killing… shouldn’t be a classic, in fact, were it not for the occasional slightly sloppy feel of the guitars and Dave’s vocals.

There are several versions of this album; the 2002 remaster from Loud Records (being reviewed here) has excellent sound, with bass and drums clearly audible. 1984’s Last Rites demo is included as bonus tracks, with a very raw sound, and it’s amazing how much the album has been improved with the remaster. As a package, this is vital for rattleheads everywhere as the birth of an excellent band, and even newcomers will get much from it. The Deth would go onto better worlds, but for a debut album this is a masterpiece.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Megadeth that we have reviewed:
Megadeth - Dystopia reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Megadeth - Super Collider reviewed by Goat and quoted 59 / 100
Megadeth - Th1rt3en reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Megadeth - Cryptic Writings reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Megadeth - Endgame reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 18 reviews click here
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