There’s only one place to be this October if you’re a Megadeth fan (and who among us isn’t?), and that’s on board a ship. A particular ship! ‘Why,’ we hear you ask? Because it’s the one confirmed Megadeth date for the foreseeable future, and it’s tied to the 25th anniversary of the release of Youthanasia!
Nobody who knows the band will need the qualities of that particular album explaining to them, but if you’re new to Megadeth it’s considered to be one of their all-time classics, selling over one million copies within the first year of its release, and going mainstream by hitting the number four spot in the Billboard charts. That was no small achievement given that it was the band’s sixth album, coming off the heels of Countdown to Extinction which was released two years earlier. To date, Megadeth has sold more than fifty million albums worldwide, and haven’t shown any signs of stopping.
There was a special anniversary show lined up on Halloween – at which it’s believed that they’d have played the album in full – they’ve also got new material on the way. The band confirmed in March that they’re working on their sixteenth new album, and are well on the way to having a new set of twelve or thirteen songs to put on it. While there’s been no confirmation of a release date yet, given that Dave Mustaine stated in March that they’d already written eight songs that they believe are of sufficient quality to feature on the album, we’d like to think that a late 2019 release isn’t out of the question. It will be their first new work since 2016, which saw them release Dystopia.
However, that gig was cancelled along with all other tour dates with the exception of the MegaCruise when Dave Mustaine announced that he is battling with throat cancer. He will still take some part in the Cruise, but how much he can manage, we will have to wait and see. Other metal greats, notably Bruce Dickinson, have beaten this evil disease and the metal community is right behind Dave. Chuck Billy, who is scheduled to appear on the Cruise with his Testament bandmates, is also a cancer survivor and has pledged his full support, even going as far as to say that if he and the band had to learn an entire set of Megadeth songs, they’d do it!
Megadeth is a band who like to do things the unconventional way. While they’re considered an all-time great metal band, they’ve also shown on multiple occasions that they don’t take themselves completely seriously. They’re one of several bands who’ve lent their image and music to an online casino game, making them one of only a small number of bands to do so – with Guns n’ Roses also having an official slot game for online casinos and their sister sites. That’s fine company to be in, and there are certainly worse soundtracks to listen to when spinning the reels! They’ve also taken the unusual step of booking a cruise for later in the year so their fans can listen to their music and enjoy their company on the open waves.
The cruise leaves Los Angeles on October 13th, traveling to both San Diego and Ensenada before returning on October 18th. Megadeth and Testament won’t be alone on the cruise – they’ve recruited several of their friends across the metal scene to jump on board with them. Anthrax is probably the pick of the support bands, but Armored Saint, Devildriver, Queensryche, and Suicidal Tendencies are also on the bill, along with many more.
There’s also been talk of one-of-a-kind experiences for fans on board the ship. A band called MecaniX will be performing a Megadeth’ tribute’ set, with fans selected from the audience getting up to either sing or play along with them. One lucky fan will be chosen from that group, and get to perform with Megadeth when they take to the stage themselves later on. Mustaine has styled himself as the ship’s captain. We can only hope that there’s someone on board qualified to steer the ship, because as much as we love Dave, we’re not sure we’d want our lives in his hands on the ocean!
They were also active earlier on in the year, releasing their compilation album Warheads on Foreheads, and an official graphic novel called Death by Design starring the band, which was issued as a celebration of their 35th anniversary. If you’ve ever wondered what Mustaine and the gang would look like as comic book heroes, now is your chance to find out. The compilation album is a comprehensive look back on their career to date, featuring thirty-five songs in total, and therefore can be considered a near ‘complete’ collection of their best-known work. We say ‘near’ because the classic track “Peace Sells” has curiously been left out. Mustaine curated the tracks to go on the album himself, and stated that he considers them the ‘best weapons’ in the band’s back catalog.
The World Needs A Hero and The System Has Failed have also had ‘special edition’ re-releases this year, after several years of being completely out of print in the United States. Both albums have been re-mastered, and also include bonus tracks which were recorded at the time, but never made it onto the albums. The World Needs A Hero is particularly noteworthy as it was the first album made after bass player David Ellefson quit the band, citing disagreements with Mustaine, and the resultant product is an even-harder sound than usual. Ellefson and Mustaine would eventually patch up their differences, with the original bass player returning to the line-up full-time in 2010.
Based on all of this, if you’re a Megadeth completionist, it’s probably been an expensive year for you already. If you’re willing to add to that expense, and check them out on the Cruise, then the clock has already started ticking in terms of making sure you don’t miss out.
The cruise, for obvious reasons, is pretty expensive, but tickets for it are now on sale from the band’s official website.