MEGADETH – The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! [Deluxe Edition +2] (2022) *HQ*
MEGADETH‘s explosive new album “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” features hot-rocking new songs that will make fans rejoice for sure. Produced by Dave Mustaine and Chris Rakestraw, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed, Grammy award-winning album ‘Dystopia’ will melt headbangers minds worldwide with songs like “We’ll Be Back,” the new radio hit “Soldier On!” and “This Planet’s On Fire” – the latter of which features the legendary Sammy Hagar on lead vocals.
“The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” showcases a depth and a compositional brilliance that’s rooted in this line-up’s uncanny ability to re-imagine Megadeth’s iconic sound in a fresh and compelling way. All the elements that people love about the band – the scorching riffs, the striking technicality and the brawling, speed metal tempos – are here in spades.
It’s been a rough past decade for Megadeth. In addition to the usual member turnover, the metal lifers faced leader Dave Mustaine’s cancer scare, a public dismissal of their bass player following allegations of child grooming, and the re-recording of parts of their 16th album, ‘The Sick, the Dying … and the Dead!’.
On top of that, there was a global pandemic and political restlessness everywhere. They all find their way, one way or another, onto this new record.
The last time Megadeth made an album, with 2016’s ‘Dystopia’, there was a conscious effort to return to the band’s mid-’80s and early-’90s heyday. ”The Sick, the Dying … and the Dead!” doesn’t stray far from that entry point; it’s close enough to milestone works like ‘Peace Sells … but Who’s Buying?’ and ‘Rust in Peace’ to satisfy old fans. There are few concessions to modern-day genre conventions, as Mustaine and company forge forward while trying not to repeat themselves.
Drawing fresh inspiration from new guitarist Kiko Loureiro and ex-Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler, ‘Dystopia’ tapped into that fiery amalgam of menace and paranoia that has underpinned the band’s finest works. It also earned Megadeth their first Grammy and put the world on notice that Dave Mustaine still had plenty to say.
The burning question is whether ‘Dystopia’ was a one-off or the harbinger of a new golden age for Megadeth.
Let’s not hide the ball – it’s the latter.
From the powder keg urgency of Life In Hell to the supersonic velocity of Célebutante, their latest outing lacks nothing in terms of aggression. There’s an invigorating sense of modernity at hand that’s very much down to the playing of drummer Dirk Verbeuren, whose thundering, machine-gun time-keeping pushes the sound into new realms of extremity.
Convincing proof lies in We’ll Be Back, one of the fastest and finest songs that Megadeth have ever written.
Testament’s Steve Di Giorgio plays bass on the album (James LoMenzo has since been named Megadeth’s new full-time bassist), in tight lockstep with Dirk through every dizzying twist and turn.
Kiko again establishes himself as a thrilling counterpart to Mustaine, with the two fretboard virtuosos doggedly going head-to-head on bruising, mid-tempo beatdowns such as Killing Time, Dogs Of Chernobyl and the title track.
Renowned for his precision and technicality, Mustaine deserves more credit for his ability to cut through a song’s complexity and drop in the kind of titanic, classic rock riffage that sets football stadiums alight. That quality abounds here, particularly in the spiralling chorus of Soldier On! and the seditiously catchy space rock fantasy, Mission To Mars.
Night Stalkers serves up some full-throttle, black ops fetishism with a disappointingly brief cameo from Ice-T, although it’s hard not to grin when he shouts, ‘Game’s over, bitches!’
In the ‘Head-Scratchers Department‘, Sacrifice is basically Hangar 18 with different lyrics and without the killer breakdown. But these are minor quibbles when set against the overwhelming power of the rest of the album.
Dave Mustaine said few years ago that the album that he’d most like to be remembered for is ‘Dystopia’. Given all that he and the band have accomplished with their latest, it’s an opinion that he might like to revisit.
01 – The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!
02 – Life In Hell
03 – Night Stalkers
04 – Dogs Of Chernobyl
05 – Sacrifice
06 – Junkie
07 – Psychopathy
08 – Killing Time
09 – Soldier On!
10 – Célebutante
11 – Mission To Mars
12 – We’ll Be Back
13 – Police Truck (Dead Kennedys cover)
14 – This Planet’s On Fire / Burn In Hell (S. Hagar cover, feat. Sammy Hagar)
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitar, backing vocals, flute (track 3)
Dirk Verbeuren – drums
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Brandon Ray – backing vocals
Eric Darken – percussion
Roger Lima – keyboards and effects
Ice-T – guest vocals on “Night Stalkers”
Sammy Hagar – guest vocals on “This Planet’s on Fire”