As part of today's "The Metal Tour Of The Year" streaming event hosted by SiriusXM's Jose Mangin, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album. He said (see video below): "Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] and David Ellefson [bass] both just finished their parts. And this was probably one of the strongest records we've ever had as far as duration. The other records we've done have all done been different lengths, and our [record] contract that we have [to deliver] for one company, it's eight songs, for another company, it's 11 songs, so, realistically, all we need to do is do an 11-song album and we're done, right? That's not the way old Uncle Dave is, though.
"So we got in the studio and we started working and it got to where we were writing all the original parts, and we had 15 of 'em," he revealed. "And then we got to the end, and I said, 'Shoot, we didn't think about the cover songs, man.' We had a couple of songs we wanted to do for this record. 'Damn, we forgot. What are we gonna do? Do you wanna still talk about it?' 'Yeah, we wanna talk about it.' So we ended up doing 18 songs altogether, and then we had another song that we forgot was part of one of the other songs, so we had 19. [We] ditched one of the cover songs, so now we've got an 18-song album that we're gonna be bringing."
Asked about the musical direction of the new MEGADETH material, Dave said: "I think this is probably in the top four records as far as towards the tip of the spear with our career and everything that we're doing. It's up there with 'Countdown [To Extinction]', 'Rust In Peace' and probably 'Peace Sells'. The other one I would say is 'Dystopia'. So that would round up my top five.
"Honestly, it's kind of lame when guys have new records and they go, 'Oh, this is my favorite one,' 'cause, [let's] face it, we all do that. When we have a new record come out, 'This is my favorite one ever.' I mean, this is a good record, but I don't have any words to it yet, so…"
Mustaine also touched upon the lyrical inspiration for the new MEGADETH songs, explaining: "There's a lot of stuff to sing about, isn't there? But I think I'm gonna kind of keep it to myself right now and try and focus on finishing the guitar parts. This is the first time in a really long time that we've had a record that the guitar playing and the bass playing was so hard that we had to stop in between parts. Ask Ellefson — he's the best ambassador — what he's doing with his [bass] guitar parts, because he's playing the same thing I'm doing. And we do some really cool stuff. Like, there's one part in one song that he played parts that are like 'Five Magics'. And there's another part where it was full-on 'Take No Prisoners' — just shredding on bass guitar. So you'll have to see for yourself. The guitar playing could totally suck, but I don't think it will."
The early sessions for MEGADETH's new LP took place last year with co-producer Chris Rakestraw, who previously worked on "Dystopia".
MEGADETH's new effort will be the first to feature Verbeuren (ex-SOILWORK), who joined the band almost four years ago.
Late last year, Mustaine teased songs that were "heavy as hell" with titles such as "Rattlehead Part Two" and "The Dogs Of Chernobyl".
Guitarist Kiko Loureiro made his recording debut with MEGADETH on "Dystopia", whose title track was honored in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
As previously reported, the first leg of MEGADETH's North American tour with LAMB OF GOD, TRIVIUM and IN FLAMES will be rescheduled for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first leg of the 55-date trek tour was supposed to kick off June 12 at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, and wrap August 1 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California. The second run was due to launch October 2 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida, and conclude on November 13 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.