Megadeth – Killing is my Business… and Business is Good

Eric Schultzenberger was the coolest stoner I knew in school. From his Slash-like curly mop top to his fringed Mocassin boots, Eric Shultzenberger was everything my parents would never let me be. In retrospect, that’s probably a good thing, because I think both the Schultzenberger brothers did some time in the early 90’s, but that’s another story.

On the first day of seventh grade, Eric Schultzenberger came to school wearing a Metallica “Metal Up Your Ass” shirt — which not only got many of us listening to Metallica, but also got him quickly sent home. Being the little followers we were, we ditched our REO Speedwagon and Blue Oyster Cult duds and headed down to Happy Daze Records to pick up our new Metallica and Motley Crue concert shirts.

Like little soldiers, we marched back to school with our new “uniforms” on, ready to impress Eric the next time we saw him (which may have been a few days later; his attendance was less than stellar). When we finally ran into him, he had ditched the Metallica Tee for a Megadeth shirt. So, allowance in hand, we high-tailed it back out to Happy Daze Records for another round of apparel shopping …

The first Megadeth album I actually heard was their second effort, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?, and believe me, I thought it was some pretty heavy shit. I played it for several friends before someone finally told me they had a previous release out. A quick trip to Sound Warehouse and ten bucks later, I was the proud owner of Megadeth’s debut album, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!. Although I rarely listen to it anymore that album was one of my favorites of the time, and along with Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer, Megadeth began dominating the world with a brutal metal attack that hasn’t let up yet.

Almost twenty years later, I have found myself falling in love all over again with Megadeth’s Killing Is My Business album, thanks to Loud Records’ release of an all new remastered and remixed copy of the album.

“Remastered and remixed,” you say? Indeed, and we’re not just talking “louder” here, this CD sounds great! Of course, I’m comparing this to a fifteen year old cassette tape, but regardless, this new mastering brings these songs to life. No longer stuck in a muddy mix, Mustaine’s solos spring to life, practically leaping out of the speakers and into your lap.

So what are you getting for your money this time? Remastered tracks, four unreleased bonus tracks, and a great booklet.

The remastered tracks are worth the price of admission alone. While listening to this CD I kept wondering what some other albums from this era would sound like remastered (ie: Kill ‘Em All). If you’re a fan of this disc at all, or if you want to see who every speed guitarist has been copying for the past 17 years, you should give this remaster a spin.

The four bonus tracks are OK. The extra tracks included are demo versions of “Last Rites/Loved To Deth”, “Mechanix”, “Killing Is My Business”, and “The Skull Beneath The Skin”. They will probably be enjoyed more by long time fans than casual listeners, because as demo tracks they don’t contain the quality of the rest of the CD. Listening to Megadeth’s demo of “Mechanix” leaves no question as to whether Metallica or Megadeth have the best chops. (Dave Mustaine wrote “Mechanix”, which later became “Four Horsemen” on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album. Dave Mustaine rewrote the lyrics and recorded the song as “Mechanix”. Mustaine and co. also crank out the tune basically in double-time. Youch!) Dave has been quoted as saying, “I set out to make my new band faster and heavier than their’s,” about forming Megadeth after leaving Metallica, and one listen to this demo will prove to listeners that he succeeded. The one thing the songs do is lengthen your listening time, because the original album only ran 31 minutes long.

The third thing you get with this package is a great little booklet. Among other things, the booklet talks about why the original 1985 Combat release had different artwork and incomplete mixes. Both Daves (Mustaine and Ellefson) have comments about each song on the disc as well, so there’s plenty to read while listening to this classic disc, and there’s even a nice forward written by Scott Ian. Mustaine’s original artwork is included on this release.

Depending on when you bought your original cassette or CD of Killing Is My Business you may or may not have “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” on it. While it was included on the original Combat release and on early pressings of the CD, it was eventually removed due to copyright reasons. A “bleeped” remastered copy appears on the CD. The liner notes tell why and basically explain that it was either a censored copy or no copy, and due to overwhelming response from fans they wanted to include it.

Should you rush out and buy this album? If you’re a Megadeth fan, YES. These songs have never sounded better. If you don’t own a copy of this album at all, YES. This is a CD that should be in your CD player, or at least on your shelf. If you already own a copy and don’t like it, well, you probably shouldn’t buy it then.

01. Last Rites/Loved to Death
02. Killing is My Business…And Business Is Good!
03. The Skull Beneath the Skin
04. Rattlehead
05. Chosen Ones
06. Looking Down the Cross
07. Mechanix
08. Last Rites/Loved to Deth (1984 Demo)
09. The Skull Beneath the Skin (1984 Demo)
10. Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good (1984 Demo)
11. Mechanix (1984 Demo)

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