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Megadeth - The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! Award winner

The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 08 September 2022, 2:50 PM

Problems and polemics can erode the musicians’ efforts to create a good album sometimes, especially for bands that are encircled by them during their careers. The best is to have some peace of mind during the writing process and recordings, because things can run out of the rails. But to MEGADETH, polemics and problems seems to be a kind of fuel: every time the quartet was pissed off, they release an amazing album (as happened with “Rust in Peace”), and even to being an immediate classic, “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” is really an excellent release.

Obviously, they present the old and good Thrash Metal with the band’s trademark sonority and acid approach, what made of them a member of the North American Thrash Metal Big 4. And one can have one thing in mind: this album is the best one since “Endgame”, with the right level of technical skill (to not tear apart the energy and spontaneity of the songs), many personal hooks that the band created throughout its career, good melodies entangled in the massive aggressiveness of the band, and even some Hard Rock touches (pay attention to the tempos of “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” to have the clear idea of what these words mean), and everything else the old fans will love to hear. It’s really a great work, indeed.

Chris Rakestraw and Dave Mustaine shared the responsibility of producing the album, with Josh Wilbur taking care of the mixing, and Ted Jensen on the mastering. The sonority is clean, defined and dry (without letting things sound hollow), with everything perfectly placed on its due places; but the aggressiveness is presented as usual. As guests, Steve DiGiorgio on bass guitar (once the parts recorded by Dave Ellefson were removed from the album), Eric Darken on percussion, Roger Lima on keyboards on some tracks, Ice-T (of BODY COUNT) on the vocals on “Night Stalkers”, Luliia Tikhomirova on the narration on “Dogs of Chernobyl”, and Brandon Ray, Bill Elliot, John Clement, The Marching Metal Bastards, Maila Kaarina Rantanen, and Clint Underwood     on additional vocals.

Starting with a darker introduction, “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” soon becomes a Thrash Metal full of energy, but with evident melodic approach on its arrangements, especially on the guitars. Following, a fast and massive onslaught is presented on “Life in Hell”, a signature song of the band, with a solid hooking rhythmic work on bass guitar and drums. Another fast song (but with some good contrasts of tempos), “Night Stalkers” shows a massive attack of aggressive riffs and melodic solos and apocalyptic parts (where Ice-T appears). A maelstrom of musical chaos arises on “Dogs of Chernobyl”, like a big quilt of oddments, and the technical level increases a lot, with the personal roar of the vocals filling the spaces (and what very good solos can be heard), and what great catchy energy flows from this one.

“Sacrifice” is another song with catchy and provoking tempos and some complex arrangements, guided by the excellent guitars that are usual of the band. And “Junkie” follows the same tendency, but not as technical as the previous song (and what great chorus). “Psychopathy” works as a tribal and aggressive intro to “Killing Time”, another trademark song in the vein of the band (that reminds a bit the approach of the band used on “Countdown to Extinction” and “Youthanasia” days), with a simple (but excellent) work of bass guitar and drums. And “Soldier On!” presents a massive set of ‘megadethian’ hooks (the combination of simple tempos and sharp riffs), and another very good moment of the vocals.

On “Célebutante”, the band revisits some influences inherited from NWOBHM, due the clear scent of classic Heavy Metal and Hard Rock in some moments (the guitars depict show these aspects clearly). And “Mission to Mars” keeps such elements, again flirting with Hard Rock elements (that create many melodic hooks on the song). And closing the album, the brutal and fast “We’ll Be Back”, another song with a trademark approach of the band (there are some resemblances with “This Day We Fight”, but without being a copy of it), with another great moment of bass guitar and drums, and what sharp guitar solos!

But a surprise on the digital version of the album: one is a personal and dressed-like Thrash Metal version for “Police Truck”, and old hymn of DEAD KENNEDYS. The other is “This Planet’s on Fire (Burn in Hell)”, an old Hard Rock song of Sammy Hagar, here preserving its original melodic appeal, but filling the song with the massive Thrash Metal rage of the quartet (with Sammy himself making some vocals). After six years of an anxious wait for the fans, “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” is another great release of the quartet. But for those who don’t know what MEGADETH is able to do, it’s a sample of a band that still has much to offer.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!
2. Life in Hell
3. Night Stalkers
4. Dogs of Chernobyl
5. Sacrifice
6. Junkie
7. Psychopathy
8. Killing Time
9. Soldier On!
10. Célebutante
11. Mission to Mars
12. We’ll Be Back
Dave Mustaine - Vocals Guitars
Kiko Loureiro - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Steve DiGiorgio - Bass (session)
Dirk Verbeuren - Drums
Record Label: Universal Music Group


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