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Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
Killing is my business
Released June 12, 1985
Recorded December 1984 – January 1985
At Indigo Ranch Studios, Malibu, California
Length 31:10
Number of tracks 8
Label Combat
Chronology
Previous Album
N/A
Next Album
Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?

Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! is the debut album by the American heavy metal band Megadeth, released in June 1985 through Combat and Relativity Records. During the beginning of 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat Records to record and produce their debut album. Instead, a majority of the budget was spent on drugs, alcohol, and food, meaning the band was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album themselves. Despite the resulting poor production, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, released in May 1985, was a well-received effort that blended elements of thrash and speed metal.

The album featured a controversial cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the long-time fan-favorite "Mechanix". A deluxe edition, completely remixed and remastered with several bonus tracks, was released by Loud Records in 2002. It featured vastly different artwork, with its cover based on the version originally design by Dave Mustaine in 1985.

OverviewEdit

Two months after lead guitarist Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica due to drinking, drug use, violent behavior and personality conflicts with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed Megadeth in Los Angeles. Mustaine later said, "After getting fired from Metallica, all I remember is that I wanted blood. Theirs. I wanted to be faster and heavier than them".

Fueled by the desire for revenge, Mustaine elevated the intensity of Megadeth's music, speeding up existing songs such as "Mechanix," which Metallica's new line-up adapted into the slower paced "The Four Horsemen." Also, the song "Last Rites/Loved to Deth" reinterprets the introduction of Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach, speeding up the tempo.

After unsuccessfully searching for a vocalist for nearly six months, Mustaine decided to handle lead vocal duties himself, while also serving as the band's primary lyricist, main songwriter, and co-lead and rhythm guitarist. Early in 1984 Megadeth recorded a three song demo, and on the strength of their demo, Megadeth was asked to be signed with the New York based independent label Combat Records. Early in 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat Records to record and produce their debut album. However, after spending half of the album's budget on drugs, alcohol, and food the band was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album themselves, at the Indigo Ranch Studios, in Malibu, California.

The album features the first of many covers performed by Megadeth: a speed metal version of Nancy Sinatra's classic "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", with lyrics altered by Mustaine. The song sparked controversy in later years when the song's original author, Lee Hazlewood, deemed Mustaine's changes to be "vile and offensive" and demanded that the song be removed from the album. Under threat of legal action, the song was removed from all pressings released after 1995. In the 2002 re-issue liner notes, Mustaine is strongly critical of Hazlewood, and notes that Hazlewood received royalties for almost 10 years before objecting to the altered version.

Release and promotionEdit

In the summer of 1985, the group toured the United States and Canada for the first time, supporting Killing Is My Business... with Exciter. During the tour, new guitarist Chris Poland abruptly left the band, and was replaced by touring guitarist Mike Albert. Poland later rejoined Megadeth in October 1985 however, and stayed with the band up to the recording of their next album.

The album was released on June 1985, and to date remains the only Megadeth album that did not chart on the Billboard 200, primarily because it was released through an independent label with little promotion. Nevertheless, the album still went on to become one of Combat Records' highest selling releases. Later that year, Capitol Records signed Megadeth and they began work on their second album, released the next year, titled Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?. On June 4, 2009, a newly available Limited Edition of the album was released in Digipack LP Miniature CD. The CD itself is made to look like a mini LP and is pressed on black plastic with grooves on the top to imitate a LP, this version has the original cover which was lost, and the song "These Boots" was removed.

Critical receptionEdit

Killing is My Business... and Business Is Good! generally received positive reviews from critics. Megadeth's official website refers to Killing Is My Business as "undoubtedly, their rawest-sounding, most intense, fastest, angriest, and overall thrashiest album they've ever released." Steve Huey from Allmusic said that the album is "raw as Megadeth gets, and that can be both good and bad -- Megadeth's later precise, complex riffing and composition aren't completely developed, but the music is performed with a great deal of energy, while Mustaine's vocals (never his strong point) are amateurish at best." Arian Totalis of Metal Storm rewarded eight stars, and praised the contributions by Poland and Samuelson, stating "with their jazz fusion playing mixed with the punk/hard rock influenced style of Ellefson and Mustaine, the combination was timeless, truly a deadly force to be reckoned with."

Adrien Begrand of PopMatters dismissed the original recording, but praised the re-release, writing "the album blazes on at a furious pace, and being a 1985 metal album, the subject matter, though now a bit dated, is such a refreshing change from the suburban angst that dominates today's nu-metal. Instead, we're treated to fun scenarios like a song based on The Punisher comic book ("Killing Is My Business"), the occult ("The Skull Beneath the Skin"), and the deliriously bombastic Christ point-of-view on "Looking Down the Cross". Sputnikmusic staff member Mike Stagno agreed with the praise for the remaster, writing that "the remaster is greatly appreciated, for it removes the fuzzy, hard to hear sounds of the 1985 version, replacing them with a crisper, cleaner tone. But don't fret; the album still retains that raw, thrashy sound that one would expect from an 80's thrash band." The album is also rated "excellent" by the review score on the site.

LegacyEdit

"Mechanix" became a live staple of the band during the 80's and 90's, and was the only song on the album to be featured on Greatest Hits: Back to the Start, a 2005 compilation record where fans voted on the track listing. Mustaine would sometimes perform the song in concert, differentiating between "their (Metallica's) way" (referring to "The Four Horsemen") and "our way".

With the exception of "Mechanix", songs from Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! are rarely performed live. However, on October 21, 2010, the final date of the Jägermeister Music Tour in the fall of 2010, Kerry King of the thrash metal band Slayer joined Megadeth on stage at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood, California to perform Megadeth's song "Rattlehead". This was the first time in 26 years that Kerry King has shared the stage with Megadeth since he played with the band during Megadeth's very first shows in 1984. Furthermore, thrash metal band Austrian Death Machine covered the song "Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!" on the second disc of the album Double Brutal.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Last Rites / Loved to Death"
  2. "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"
  3. "The Skull Beneath the Skin"
  4. "These Boots"
  5. "Rattlehead"
  6. "Chosen Ones"
  7. "Looking Down the Cross"
  8. "Mechanix"

2004 re-issue track listing:

  1. "Last Rites / Loved to Deth"
  2. "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"
  3. "The Skull Beneath the Skin"
  4. "Rattlehead"
  5. "Chosen Ones"
  6. "Looking Down the Cross"
  7. "Mechanix"
  8. "These Boots"
  9. "Last Rites / Loved to Deth" (demo)
  10. "Mechanix" (demo)
  11. "The Skull Beneath the Skin" (demo)

PersonnelEdit

  • Karat Faye - producer, engineer
2002 Remix and Remaster
  • Mixed by Bill Kennedy
  • Pro Tools by Chris Vrenna
  • Mastered by Tom Baker`

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