Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
|Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!|
The low-budget original cover created by Combat Records
|Studio album by Megadeth|
|Released||June 12, 1985|
|Recorded||December 1984 – January 1985 at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California|
|Producer||Dave Mustaine, Karat Faye|
The remastered/remixed CD edition cover redesigned from Mustaine's 1985 sketches
Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released in June 1985 through Combat Records. During the beginning of 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat to record and produce their debut album, but this proved to not be enough and so the band were given a further $4,000. Instead, a majority of the budget was spent on drugs, alcohol, and food so thus the band was forced to fire their original producer and produce it themselves. Despite the resulting poor production, the album was a well-received effort that played essential role in shaping the sound of thrash metal. It explores themes of death, violence and occultism, and received strong reviews in various music publications.
The album featured a controversial cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the track "Mechanix", a song Dave Mustaine originally wrote for Metallica. A deluxe edition, completely remixed and remastered with several bonus tracks, was released through Loud Records in 2002. It features vastly different artwork, with its cover based on the version originally designed by Mustaine in 1985. Several songs from the album have been performed by Megadeth during their various tours.
Dave Mustaine served as the lead guitarist for Metallica during their early days. However, due to drinking, drug use, violent behavior and personality conflicts with band mates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, Mustaine was soon fired from Metallica. Two months after being dismissed from his previous band, he and bassist David Ellefson formed Megadeth in Los Angeles. Mustaine later recalled: "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". Mustaine included his original version of the song on the album to "straighten Metallica up", as Metallica referred to Mustaine as a drunk and said he could not play guitar.
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 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 2002, however, the album was re-released with an edited version of the song, with the altered lyrics bleeped. In the 2002 reissue liner notes, Mustaine is strongly critical of Hazlewood, and notes that Hazlewood received royalties for almost ten years before objecting to the altered version.
Release and promotion
The album's artwork, featuring a plastic skull with tinfoil, was not intended to be the original artwork. Both Mustaine and Ellefson had many phone conversations with Combat Records to get the cover artwork properly reproduced from a sketch given to them by Mustaine of a picture of Megadeth mascot Vic Rattlehead on the cover. However the studio lost the artwork, and instead made their own improvised and low-budget replacement, with which Mustaine and the whole band were mortified.
Megadeth began with live performances before the record was officially released. Although not a member of the band, Kerry King of Slayer was playing lead guitar for a short period because Mustaine had not recruited a full-time guitarist yet. 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. However, Poland rejoined Megadeth in October 1985, and stayed with the band up to the recording of their next album.
The album was released in 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?. A limited edition of the album was released in 2009. 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. Over 254,000 copies of the album were sold in the United States since the beginning of the Nielsen SoundScan era.
|Drowned in Sound||8/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Killing is My Business... and Business Is Good! received strong reviews, not only in metal-oriented publications, but also in mainstream music magazines. Colin Larkin, writing in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, called the album a "ferocious blast of high-energy thrash metal", weakened by a thin production. Similarly, Steve Huey from AllMusic observed that the album is "as raw as Megadeth gets". However, Huey noted that the riffs and compositions weren't completely developed, and called Mustaine's vocals "amateurish at best". Chad Bowar from About.com said that Megadeth were still "finding their way" on their debut album, but remarked that the band showed their great potential through the angry and passionate musicianship.
Adrien Begrand of PopMatters dismissed the original recording, but praised the re-release, writing that the album "blazes on at a furious pace". According to him, the record greatly influenced the heavy metal genre in the upcoming two decades. Sputnikmusic staff member Mike Stagno agreed with the praise for the remaster, saying that the "fuzzy" sound of the original release was replaced with a clearer production. Even so, he opined that the album still retained the "thrashy" sound characteristic for the band during this period. Mike Marsh of Drowned in Sound recommended the music "for people who want it loud, fast and brutal". In a retrospective review for KNAC, Frank Meyer said that the album put Megadeth at the forefront of heavy metal music in the early 80s. He also credited the album for paving the way for thrash metal's arrival. CMJ New Music Report praised Mustaine's "masterfull" wordplay and called the record a representative of "the golden age of speed metal".
"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 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.
|Original track listing|
|1.||"Last Rites/Loved to Death"||4:38|
|2.||"Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"||3:05|
|3.||"The Skull Beneath the Skin"||3:46|
|4.||"These Boots" (some versions do not include this track)||3:44|
|7.||"Looking Down the Cross"||5:01|
|1.||"Last Rites/Loved to Deth"||4:38|
|2.||"Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"||3:05|
|3.||"The Skull Beneath the Skin"||3:46|
|6.||"Looking Down the Cross"||5:01|
|8.||"These Boots" (all lyric variations by Mustaine are bleeped)||3:44|
|9.||"Last Rites/Loved to Death" (demo)||4:16|
|11.||"The Skull Beneath the Skin" (demo)||3:11|
Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.
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