During a recent episode of his Gimme Radio program "The Dave Mustaine Show", the MEGADETH leader offered an update on the progress of the recording sessions for the band's follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album. He said (hear audio below): "Lyrics, all done. Singing, almost all done. Guitar solos, in the process. And all the other little things that go on the record — the ear candy, the background vocals, the keyboards and percussion stuff — is also going down as we speak. [We're] getting solos sent from Finland by [MEGADETH's Brazilian-born lead guitarist] Kiko [Loureiro], which is a really cool thing. And I just got a really cool lyric from [MEGADETH bassist] David Ellefson sent over. Now it's my job to finish writing his lyric and make it into a song. And then that is going to be the last lyric on the record. So I'm pretty stoked. And I can't wait to tell you what cover song we chose for this record. I'll tell you soon. I think you'll get it. I've been giving you guys hints for a while. But I haven't really let anybody know."
MEGADETH has a long history of tackling covers of tunes both popular and more obscure, including Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", SEX PISTOLS' "Anarchy In The U.K.", ALICE COOPER's "No More Mr. Nice Guy", THIN LIZZY's "Cold Sweat" and BLACK SABBATH's "Paranoid". "Dystopia" included covers of FEAR's "Foreign Policy" and BUDGIE's "Melt The Ice Away" (on the Spotify edition).
Last month, Ellefson told the "Rock 'N' Roll Icons With Bode James" podcast the recently announced working title for MEGADETH's upcoming album, "The Sick, The Dying And The Dead", will likely end up getting changed before the LP is released. "Like Dave said when he announced it, he goes, 'We usually end up changing the title four or five times before it [comes out],'" he said. "We had a saying back in the old days: 'Nothing's final until it's on vinyl.' So everything can change. Probably short of the name of the band, everything can change. It's all just a work in progress, and I think that's the beauty of the creative world. People wanna know answers, like, 'What does it sound like? Does it sound like this album? Does it sound like that album?' And it's, like, 'Hey, man, I can't really tell you.' It's a work in progress until it's done. And then once it's done, you'll hear it, and then we'll all have a little talk about it."
Ellefson also addressed Mustaine's claim that the upcoming MEGADETH album will be "up there with 'Countdown [To Extinction]', 'Rust In Peace' and probably 'Peace Sells' and 'Dystopia'." "I would very much agree," Ellefson said. "Look, MEGADETH has done a lot of stuff over the years. Some fans go, 'Oh, dude, make it thrash, thrash.' And we do — 'Dystopia' proved that. But you can't just be a one-trick pony. We've never been a one-trick pony. Even on the earlier records — 'Killing Is My Business' started with a piano. 'Peace Sells' had a song on it called 'Good Mourning', which went into 'Black Friday'; it was basically kind of an acoustic guitar bit. We've done a lot of different stuff over the years. So with MEGADETH, you get a lot of diversity. And the musicians that are in the group, I think we challenge each other; we raise the bar for each other. And it inspires us to keep creating next-level stuff. So I think that's kind of the beauty of what you get with MEGADETH — is you get a lot. You get a pretty big bang for your buck, I think."
The early sessions for the LP took place in 2019 with co-producer Chris Rakestraw, who previously worked on "Dystopia".
"Dystopia", whose title track was honored in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 2017 Grammy Awards, marked Loureiro's recording debut with MEGADETH.
MEGADETH's current lineup is rounded out by 46-year-old Belgian-born-and-now-Los-Angeles-based drummer Dirk Verbeuren, who had played with SOILWORK for more than a decade before joining MEGADETH.