The Sick, The Dying … and The Dead (2022)
Universal Music Group
Megadeth was born the day Dave Mustaine was ousted from Metallica. there was a wave of vicious anger that Mustaine and band members put into their music . This would last for many years and many different iterations of the band. Many nights of my youth were spent spinning the metal sounds of Killing is my business… and my business is good, Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying all the way up until the album Risk.
There was a shift in the sound after this and again band members came and went. This isn’t to say there aren’t still gems on those later albums, but they didn’t have the “Megadeth” spirit.
Then 2016’s Dystopia appears. There’s hope that Megadeth is back and metal thrashing mad. The trio of Kiko Loureiro, David Ellefson and Mustaine made a cohesive collaboration. Couple this with the drumming of Chris Adler (Lamb of God) and once again the dust was knocked away from the Megadeth name.
Cut to 2022 and Dave’s battle against cancer and the firing of David Ellefson over a “scandal”. What would the band sound like now, would this be another miss or lacklustre album? Well, the answer is no. Megadeth once again sounds like a group not nearing the end of their career, but rather smack dab in the middle of metal emergence.
Sure, Ellefson’s signature bass sound is out with bassist Steve DiGiorgio temporarily stepping in to record the album. He isn’t joining Megadeth, but rather James LoMenzo an old face returns permanently to the lineup. Then there’s Kiko, who really shreds on this album. His guitar mastery along with Mustaine’s playing and vocals fit together like Lego.
Drums are now handled by Dirk Verbeuren (Ex-Soilwork, ex-The Devin Townsend Project).
This is another addition that helps propel the band and this album to places not seen since the early nineties.
The lead-off track, The Sick, The Dying… and The Dead really beholds what the rest of the album is going to sound like. blistering choruses, along with gut-punching guitar solos for days. This is not only a return to form, this is a rebirth. Soldier On has a power not heard since the song Hanger 18. The song itself is layered with likeable lyrics and machine gun musicality. The band marches through this 5-minute monster track with ease. The album ends strong with a “thrashing in the name of” We’ll be back. Mustaine plays duelling vocals as the band just obliterates the senses with complete and utter THRASH! This song has everything and is like the classic tune Sweating Bullets on speed, probably the stand-out song on the whole album.
This isn’t to say there are a few misfires, like Junkie and Célebutante. Both songs feel out of place and out of date.
There are album versions out there with exclusive tracks. The Target “exclusive” has the tracks This Planet’s On Fire (Burn in Hell) (Sammy Hagar cover) and The Conjuring (live). The Hagar cover is worth getting a second copy of the disc just for that one alone. The guitar on this one is nuts and the vocals are hella fun. Megadeth has a knack for covers and this one nears the top of the tier right behind These Boots (Nancy Sinatra cover). I haven’t heard The Conjuring track, but it is mislabelled on the album as Dystopia (live).
The Japanese release of the album gets another cover song. This time around The Dead Kennedys Police Truck gets the Megadeth treatment. This is a nice vacation from the thrash, it’s punk through and through. Mustaine’s voice suits this and hopefully, there will be more songs in the same vein from the band in the future.
The Sick, The Dying … And The Dead isn’t perfect, but it is full of enough material that will make fans enjoy the ride on the Megadeth train.
The new album THE SICK, THE DYING… AND THE DEAD! is available now worldwide. Experience it for the first time: megadeth.lnk.to/sickdyingdead
Catch the band out on tour!