Megadeth - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!
Megadeth - Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!
Album Comparisons: Killing Is My Business... And Business is Good!
In 1985, an embittered and angry Metallica alumnus by the name of Dave Mustaine released the first of many albums with his new band, fresh on the heels of being kicked out of his soon-to-be legendary metal alma mater. Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! is a quintessential thrash album, certainly not Megadeth's most popular, but still one not to be overlooked for fans of the classic style thrash metal. Mustaine's stated goal at the time was to play louder, harder, and faster than his former colleagues, and he largely succeeded, though the final result was only satisfying from a performance standpoint. Word is that half the budget for the recording ended up funnelled into drugs and alcohol, with the end result being a poorly produced project helmed by the band members themselves after the original producer was fired. A decade and a half later, Mustaine took to the studio to transform the original tracks with a new, more modern sounding mix. How does this newer version of Killing Is My Business... hold up to the old one?

Last Rites/Loved to Deth

1986 Combat CD release

Last Rites/Loved to Deth

2002 Loud Records version

Last Rites/Loved to Deth

Killing Is My Business . . . And Business Is Good!

1986 Combat CD release

Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!

2002 Loud Records version

Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!

The Skull Beneath the Skin

1986 Combat CD release

The Skull Beneath the Skin

2002 Loud Records version

The Skull Beneath the Skin

These Boots

1986 Combat CD release

These Boots

2002 Loud Records version

These Boots

Rattlehead

1986 Combat CD release

Rattlehead

2002 Loud Records version

Rattlehead

Chosen Ones

1986 Combat CD release

Chosen Ones

2002 Loud Records version

Chosen Ones

Looking Down the Cross

1986 Combat CD release

Looking Down the Cross

2002 Loud Records version

Looking Down the Cross

Mechanix

1986 Combat CD release

Mechanix

2002 Loud Records version

Mechanix
And the winner is: Draw. This ultimately comes down to a question of which mix you prefer - the low budget, muddier sounding original from 1985, or the far slicker but more heavily compressed 2002 remix. As the remix was made in 2002, it's a given that the CD was going to be brickwalled, but there's no denying that it is a LOT better sounding, production wise. It's not entirely fair to compare it with the original as far as levels and mastering go since it is after all a completely different mix, but I favor the original version here for two reasons. First, it's the version I've been familiar with for 20+ years, and I'm not a big fan of today's mixing practices for this type of music. I think snare drums need to "crack" a lot more with far less limiting, and they need to be higher in the mix with greater impact, as they were in the 80s and early 90s. The drums on the 2002 mix lack "punch" due to limiting of the snare's attack (though the cymbals do sound pretty good) and are lower in the mix than I prefer. Despite this, Gar Samuelson's amazing proficiency on the skins continues to show through. Secondly, the utterly ridiculous censorship of "These Boots" in its new mix serves only to make a point and is extremely distracting, taking away from the excellent musicianship which is otherwise on display. A better course of action would have been to simply mix the vocals out during the censored sections (or during the entire song, in fact), or, better yet, for Mustaine to have just dropped the song altogether. Still, I'm going to officially call this album comparison a draw since the two versions are so dramatically different.