|Inlay card of the low-budget CD of Killing is my Business... and Business is Good!|
Imagine it’s 1983. Reagan is still president, M*A*S*H is over and done with, Michael Jackson performs the dance move that will forever be known as the “moonwalk”, and Metallica puts out their debut album full of raw riffs, lyrics about kicking ass, and five songs that were written by their ex-guitarist who was kicked out from the band in New York and was subjected to a Greyhound trip to California.
Now put yourself in Dave Mustaine’s boots.
All I can think is, “Bloody hell, he would’ve been enraged.” And he most definitely was. Out for retribution, Mustaine formed Megadeth with a vengeance. Two years later, Killing Is My Business… and Business is Good! came out, and holy shit, was it fast. But was it enough to blow Kill ‘Em All out of the water?
The opening track, “Last Rides/Loved to Death” starts off with Toccata and Fugue in D Minor played on a piano by Mustaine. Ellefson joins in with his bass guitar, which gives Bach’s classic a very eerie, desolate feel. A guitar harmony goes down at 0:29, and after that, all hell breaks loose.
If you needed one piece of music to represent how pissed off Dave Mustaine was in 1983, that opening riff at 0:55 would be your best bet. It’s fast, hostile and unforgiving – and Mustaine’s scream at only does better to prove that.
Gar Samuelson comes in with the drums after that, and Mustaine begins to sing. Some absolutely loathe his voice, and others, like me, wouldn’t have anyone else sing over such riffs. There’s something about his tone that fits the mood very well—it’s high-pitched, it sounds vile, venomous, and… it’s perfect for singing love songs?
That’s what Mustiane describes “Loved to Death” as: his version of a love song to his girlfriend at the time, and I have to say, that’s a pretty twisted thought. The lyrics are founded off a very basic formula: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl doesn’t love boy back, boy kills girl. “If I can’t have you, then no one will/and since I won’t, I’ll have to kill”—it’s not something you can take very seriously, but it still provides an essence to the song; a driving force.
It’s also worthy to note that Samuelson is very masterful at what he does. Even the slightly crappy production doesn’t mar his talent. His drumming is an intricate patchwork—definitely not something you could air-drum to. He and Ellefson keep the beat going at breakneck speed while
and Mustaine dish out riff after riff after riff.
Mustaine’s solo at is very vivacious. The way it moves around like a living thing is, in a way, enchanting. It also seems very hyper, which provides some insight into how the lyrics were written and how the band had wanted the song to turn out. I, for one, imagine that the lyrics were put together from the point of view of a narrator whose thoughts are mentally not all there (which is actually pretty obvious, what with the manic laughter that continues after the solo).
As the song ends, the journey of Mustaine’s Revenge Chronicles begins. It doesn’t take an idiot to realize that “Last Rites/Loved to Death” has outshone Kill ‘Em All in a mere four minutes and forty-three seconds. Mustaine & Co. had delved into the depths of thrash metal with most of the metal community in their clutches.