Megadeth have confirmed The Sick, the Dying, and the Dead as the title for their upcoming album.
In a Cameo birthday message to a fan, frontman Dave Mustaine played a snippet of the album’s titular song while making a rough mix on a Protools rig. All that’s audible is a two-note bluesy on a single guitar that resolves in a bluesy way; he walked away before the song fully kicked in.
“I’ve got a busy day today of recording and fixing vocals and finishing up my guitar solos,” Mustaine said in the video. “I’ve got a couple of little rhythm things to fix today, too.” He added that the group would begin rehearsing its tour production in Nashville within the next couple of weeks; the band will be embarking on the Metal Tour of the Year with Lamb of God next month and performing at Slipknot’s Knotfest Iowa.
Mustaine first teased the music on The Sick, the Dying, and the Dead in a 2019 Rolling Stone interview. At the time, he said the group had “nine really crushing songs” and mentioned three tentative song titles: “The Dogs of Chernobyl,” which he likened musically to the band’s Dystopia album, “Faster Than Anything Else,” and “Rattlehead, Part Two.” He also said he was encouraging then-bassist David Ellefson to write a song for the album that would showcase his prowess. “‘I think you should write a song about what it’s like being in Megadeth with me, because I read all your lyrics, and I know that your lyrics are aimed at me,’” Mustaine told the bassist then. “You’re upset. So why don’t you write about it?’”
But this past May, the group announced it would be “officially parting ways” with Ellefson, following allegations that the bassist had been grooming a fan. Ellefson has denied those allegations and met with police to press charges against the people whom he said started that rumor.
Nevertheless, Mustaine saw the incident as a breaking point. “While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward,” Mustaine said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand-new music with the world. It is almost complete.” Megadeth have not yet announced the bassist who will be replacing Ellefson but they have reported that a musician is replacing the bass tracks Ellefson recorded for The Sick, the Dying, and the Dead.