It hasn’t been an easy twelve months for Megadeth. What should have been an incredible 2019 for the heavy metal legends was stolen away from them through a mixture of bad timing and cruel twists of fate. For everything they missed out on in 2019, Dave Mustaine and his bandmates were ready to make up for in 2020 – but then life got in the way. Now, yet again, they’re being forced to put things on hold because of a situation that’s beyond their control.
The most serious issue that faced the long-tenured band in 2019 was the sudden and shocking news that Mustaine had been diagnosed with cancer. After years of rock and roll excess, the iconic frontman was told by his doctors that he was suffering from throat cancer in mid-2019, and he had to put everything he had planned both personally and professionally on hold to fight for his life. Fortunately for him, his family, and the millions of Megadeth fans all over the world, cancer was no match for Dave Mustaine. After only a few months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Mustaine beat the disease. By the start of 2020, Megadeth was back playing live events again, and their frontman was happy to be able to tell crowds he was one hundred percent cancer-free.
Because of Mustaine’s cancer diagnosis, the band missed out on headlining their own inaugural cruise. Themed cruises are all the rage at the moment, with everyone from legendary bands to entire professional wrestling companies taking fans out to see on a cruise liner for the trip of a lifetime. The Megadeth ‘Megacruise’ was all set to be one of the biggest cruises of its kind, and the band was looking forward to playing on it, but Mustaine’s illness made any idea of being able to play on the boat out of the question. In the end, he wasn’t even able to travel on it and put in an appearance. The cruise went ahead without Megadeth, and it looks like everyone had a fantastic time, but it’s still hard to shake off the feeling that it wasn’t what it should have been.
Even with all of this going on, the band has still found ways to engage people with their back catalog of incredible rock music. Two ‘anniversary’ albums have been published during the past twelve months, and the band has also overseen the launch of their own dedicated game on casino site. We don’t know what the crossover between metal fans and online slots players is, but apparently, it’s significant enough for a company to want to pay Megadeth for the use of their likenesses and songs as a hook to draw players in. They’ve joined several of their contemporaries in having an online slots game based around their output, including Motorhead and Alice Cooper. Still, though, the online slots game can only play the hits of the past. There’s nothing that keeps fans happier than new music – and new music is something Megadeth fans have gone without for quite a while.
The last time Megadeth released a totally new album was in 2016 when they issued the super-popular ‘Dystopia.’ They’ve been working on and off since then to make new songs, but there was no hint of a follow-up album until last year. Mustaine is on record as saying that there were a few tracks recorded for the as-yet-unnamed album before he was diagnosed with cancer, but for obvious reasons, the diagnosis put the process on hold until he was clear of the illness. When 2020 began, and he got the all-clear, the band went back to work. They’ve been in the practice room and in the studio, writing tracks and separating the good from the great with a view to putting it all down on record. Now they’re finally ready to move ahead with it – but there’s a glaring and obvious problem.
David Ellefson, the band’s bass player, gave an interview with The Metal Voice last week in which he confirmed that the lineup of songs had been settled on, the name had been agreed upon, and studio time had been booked for the band to come in and do the necessary work. In fact, they would be in the studio doing that work right now – but the world had other ideas. Even if they weren’t, the band are unable to travel to meet each other and play music. We would have been looking at a summer 2020 release for the next Megadeth album. Now, given the lack of certainty about how long all of this will last, it looks like we’ll be lucky to get it in 2020 at all. We suppose there’s no harm in waiting for another year when we’ve waited for four already, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for the band when they’ve already been held up by so much misfortune on so many projects.
To give fans something to look forward to, Ellefson was happy to confirm a few details about what might be on the album when it finally does turn up. Several months ago, Mustaine had given an interview to another publication and confirmed that a ballad had been recorded sung by Ellefson himself, and that’s made the final cut. Those who prefer their Megadeth a little louder and thrashier needn’t be concerned though – apparently, some of the material is so raw and thrashy that it could easily have been included on ‘Peace Sells,’ although the more cerebral and contemplative style of ‘Cryptic Writings’ also appears. To put it another way, there should be at least one or two songs for every type of Megadeth fan out there.
The most important thing from Megadeth’s point of view is that they’re all happy and healthy, and it sounds like they all are. There’s no news yet about whether another cruise is planned – there had been rumors of a 2020 repeat Megacruise, but that now seems highly unlikely – but with all the preparatory work done on the new album, it will hopefully become available not long after it’s recorded. We’re all going to need to blow off steam when summer begins – a brand new Megadeth album sounds like the ideal way to do it!