Of all the disenfranchised, embittered young road warriors to emerge from the backstreets and sewers of America’s forgotten urban wastelands at the dawn of the Thrash era back in the eighties, none raged against the machine quite like Dave Mustaine.
Booted out of the Metallica camp just as they were starting to gain some major traction, he had a chip on both shoulders, an ego to match and plenty to prove; and, whilst his band Megadeth never quite reached the same levels as his former bandmates, they’ve endured and (in my opinion humble at least) produced just as much great music. ‘The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!’ is the first new Megadeth studio album to emerge since ‘Dystopia’ back in 2016, and as you’d probably expect, it finds our hero and his cohorts in as vehemently defiant a mood as ever!
Opening track ‘The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!’ has a theatrical, at times almost Alice Cooper like bent to it – a comparison that, somewhat obtusely, crops up a few times throughout the album – yet its cluster of seismic riffs explodes in such dramatic fashion that you never lose sight of just who you’re actually listening to. Following track, the vitriolic ‘Life In Hell’, is a full-on Thrash Metal extravaganza, its relentless barrage of rapier-like riffs, smash n’ grab solos and snarling vocal melodies hitting you like a 2am drone strike.
Elsewhere, there’s an abundant mix of mean and moody Metal with plenty of tempo changes and caustic bile: the tenacious ‘Night Stalkers’ (which features a cameo from rapper Ice-T), the antsy ‘Sacrifice’, the slow-burning intensity of ‘Mission To Mars’ and the harrowing gut-wrench that is ‘Dogs Of Chernobyl’ being just some of the diamond hard nuggets that will gladly break your jaw if you’re not careful when you take them for a spin.
Dave Mustaine rips into the politically charged lyrics with the same zealous outrage that he always has done, his band giving their all as he deftly aims an iron-clad boot at the soft underbelly of society. Guitar-wise, his recently minted partnership with erstwhile Angra man Kiko Loureiro would strip forty years of yacht varnish at a hundred paces!
Angry, aggressive and filled to bursting with barbed riffs and twisted melodies,
‘The Sick...’ proves that Megadeth still has plenty to say... excellent!