Dave Mustaine - Lead Guitar & Vocals
David Ellefson - Bass
Kiko Louriero - Lead Guitar
Dirk Verbeuren - Drums
It was over 30 years ago that Dave Mustaine founded Megadeth, in the process pioneering the sound that would become known the world over as thrash metal. And from the very beginning, the band proved to be the most lethal and audacious unit on the heavy music scene, pushing thrash to the limits of musical ferocity and instrumental virtuosity on early efforts like their 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good! and 1986's seminal Peace Sells…But Who's Buying?.
In the decades since, Megadeth have taken their place as one of metal's most influential and respected acts - not to mention among its most successful: Over the course of their career, the band have sold 38 million albums, notched six consecutive platinum efforts - including 1992's two-million-selling Countdown to Extinction - and garnered 12 Grammy nominations. And onstage they continue to be a world-dominating metal force, shaking stadiums from the U.S. to Bulgaria as a key component of the recent milestone Big 4 concerts, as well as playing their own shows to massive crowds in every corner of the globe.
Now, Megadeth have reinvented themselves once again. The legendary metal outfit, led by visionary singer, guitarist and songwriter Mustaine, released their 15th studio effort Dystopia, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, No. 1 on the Hard Music/Top Rock Chart, No. 2 on the Top Album Sales chart, No. 2 on iTtunes' Top Albums chart and No 1. on iTunes' Metal chart. Dystopia also won a 2017 GRAMMY® Award for "Best Metal Performance" for the title track. The album, which sees Mustaine once again joined by stalwart bassist David Ellefson, is the first Megadeth effort to feature new guitarist Kiko Louriero and drummer Chris Adler, the latter on loan from Lamb of God. Together, they inject new levels of musical venom and instrumental dexterity into what was already a wickedly potent brew.
The result is an offering that shows Megadeth at a new peak of their powers. "We wrote a really heavy, riffy record," Mustaine says proudly. "And there's an excitement right now that I haven't felt in a really long time." That excitement is at the core of each of Dystopia's 11 tracks. The album bristles with a renewed energy and intensity, from the pile driving, "Motorhead-y" thrust of "The Emperor," to the epic stateliness of "Poisonous Shadows" - which finds Loureiro adding both acoustic guitar and classical piano flourishes to the mix - to the labyrinthine riffing and pummeling rhythms of "Death From Within," a song that, Mustaine says, "just continues to build and climax. There are riffs in there that come at you once and then you never hear them again."
In a similar vein is the intricately structured "Bullet to the Brain," which, Mustaine says, "has a few different twists to it, rhythmically. It starts in one gear and then downshifts to another, and it's not what you would expect. Most songwriters stay in this same-y sounding thing from beginning to end, but I wanted to do something that followed a weird kind of pathway. I think those unexpected surprises are a really important facet of this band, and one that we haven't really been doing lately. It was nice to try that again."
In fact, much of Dystopia sees Mustaine musically pushing forward while also looking back. "We're turning toward our roots, but with a fresh new feel," he says. To that end, leadoff track "The Threat is Real" begins, Mustaine points out, "innocently enough, with some little finger cymbals and interesting Middle Eastern percussion," before exploding in a bout of fierce riffing. "When the song takes off, it's just like a 'Rattlehead' or 'Loved to Deth' kind of thing," he explains, referencing two classic cuts from Killing Is My Business. First single "Fatal Illusion," meanwhile, "is really similar in feel to 'Bad Omen' and 'Black Friday,' that ki