For Dave Mustaine, the new Megadeth album is more than a bunch of new songs — it's a battlefield. The thrash pioneer spoke with Rolling Stone about his band's 16th album, The Sick, the Dying... And the Dead!, which he announced today (June 23rd) alongside a fire-up-your-ass lead single called "We'll Be Back." It's a complete ripper that sees them operating in peak form, and when Rolling Stone asked why he feels compelled to keep writing albums as fast and intense as this one, he said that he's motivated by "a couple bands in his crosshairs" who he wants to one-up.
"I still have a couple of bands in my crosshairs that I'm going after," Mustaine said, choosing not to name names and to let our imaginations fill in the blanks.
Elsewhere in the interview, the guitarist-vocalist said that he came up with the record's title before COVID as a play on the classic children's nursery rhyme, "Ring Around the Rosie."
"I wanted to add that [rhyme] into a song," he said. "ike we did in 'Go to Hell' [from 1991's Countdown to Extinction] where I said, 'Now I lay me down to sleep,' which oddly appeared on a Metallica song at the same time" "That was weird," he added after a dramatic pause.
The Sick, the Dying... And the Dead! will be Megadeth's first in six long years and first since bandleader Dave Mustaine's battle with throat cancer. It'll also be their first since the controversial ouster of OG bassist David Ellefson (Testament's Steve DiGiorgio plays on the record in his place). Plus, Ice-T makes a guest appearance. And Mustaine has hyped up the album as a particularly hard-hitting affair, both musically and thematically — on the latter front, he's promised an all-too-relevant exploration of plague times throughout history.
If you haven't heard "We'll Be Back" yet, get on that below via YouTube.