Ghost Cult’s Omar Cordy held an EXCLUSIVE interview with Dirk Verbeuren of Megadeth! They caught up to discuss the new album “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” and a variety of signposts in Dirk’s journey in heavy music. He chatted about the new album, the return of touring, how the band chooses a setlist, Megadeth’s many soundtrack favorites, Dirk’s thoughts on Gar Sameulson, and Nick Menza, how he made it into the band, how he chose to leave Soilwork in a professional way, his many passions outside of music, and more!
Megadeth’s guitarist Kiko Loureiro and drummer Dirk Verbeuren recently visited the headquarters of YouTube while on tour opening for Five Finger Death Punch. The band are on tour supporting their just released their new album The Sick… The Dying… and The Dead! (read our review here). Kiko and Dirk toured the campus, and then sat for an interview where they answered questions about social media, their gear, their favorite cities to perform in, and more!
Whether you want it to or not, once a nickname is acquired, it sticks. Sometimes for life. For almost as long as the band has existed itself, Californian speed metal legends Megadeth have been known by fans as Megadave. A purely affectionate nickname for sure, but one which grew out of frontman Dave Mustaine‘s often brutal and cold-blooded approach to personnel management. The singular constant in a revolving door of band members, make no mistake. Mustaine is Megadeth. Always was, always will be.
Ghost Cult caught up with progressive music legend and keyboardist/producer Derek Sherinian, (Sons of Apollo, Black Country Communion, ex-Dream Theater) to chat all about this new solo album, out this week, September 18th, via InsideOut Music. Derek discussed the new album, working with special guests such as Tony Franklin, Jimmy Johnson, Billy Sheehan, Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, Kiko Loureiro, Derek’s approach to composition, how he lays down guest tracks for bands around the world every day from his home studio, his with mentor and friend Simon Philips, covering Buddy Miles, a hint at future Sons of Apollo plans, discussing his keyboard heroes from history, and a cool story about Patrick Moraz. Pre-order the album here: https://dereksherinian.lnk.to/ThePhoenix and check out our chat. Continue reading →
A new documentary pays tribute to Andre Matos and reveals both his artistry and his life away from the stage. Matos, founder of the bands’ Viper, Angra, Shaman, and Symfonia, owner of a huge musical legacy. Matos passed away tragically young on June 8th, 2019 at just 47 years old. To comfort the hearts of all the fans and friends of the unforgettable musician, especially in the Brazilian metal scene, Regis Tadeu and Paulo Baron has now released a three-episode documentary about him, a new and very special material, which is already available on YouTube. Episode one is live now and more episodes will be released soon.
Testimonials come from a who’s who names such as Alberto Rionda, Alírio Netto, Andre “Zaza” Hernandes, Drico Mello, Eloy Casagrande, Fabio Lione, Felipe Machado, Guilherme Canaes, Ivan Busic, Kiko Loureiro, Luis Mariutti, Patrick Nicholas Korb, Paulo Baron, Penélope Nova, Marcello Pompeu, Rafael Bittencourt, Regis Tadeu, Rogerio Rossato, Roy Z, Timo Tolkki and Yves Passarell. Everyone on the list was curated, they are friends who really knew Andre Matos in detail.
For example, MTV presenter and ex-vj Penélope Nova was Andre’s girlfriend for a season. Guilherme Canaes was a sound engineer and one of the musician’s best friends during his time in the big bands and also during his solo career. Patrick Nicholas Korb is the videographer who recorded many moments of Andre Matos, and is also responsible for recording an old video with the testimony: “if I had to leave this world soon I would be happy”, widely broadcast on the internet on the time of the singer’s death.
Among the testimonies, it is also possible to know more details told by Paulo Baron and Kiko Loureiro about the possibility of Andre’s return with the band Angra for a very special and commemorative tour. The idea was already being worked out among the musicians, but that, unfortunately, did not happen. Interestingly, Baron had an appointment to meet Andre the same day he died.
“I prepared this documentary to show the more human side of my unforgettable friend Andre Matos, because the icon as a musician we all know that he was the best. We must show that in his most intimate side he was also the best”, comments Baron , who is also responsible for curating and pre-producing the videos.
Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine has revealed that the band is in the studio and recording up to 18 songs for their highly-anticipated new album, As part of their “The Metal Tour Of The Year” streaming event hosted by SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin, Dave spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the band’s follow-up to 2016’s “Dystopia” album. He said (see video below, transcribed by Blabbermouth.net): “Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] and David Ellefson [bass] both just finished their parts. And this was probably one of the strongest records we’ve ever had as far as duration. The other records we’ve done have all done been different lengths, and our [record] contract that we have [to deliver] for one company, it’s eight songs, for another company, it’s 11 songs, so, realistically, all we need to do is do an 11-song album and we’re done, right? That’s not the way old Uncle Dave is, though.
The Phoenix crowd always seems to support Suicidal Tendencies relentlessly, however, the crowd at Comerica Theatre seemed to salivating and chanting the sound Meg A Deth, Meg A Deth. It was without question that this Phoenix crowd with so many metalheads was here for 1 reason – Megadeth!!!!!
A nearly sold out show of thousands came out to celebrate a 33 year career and fifteenth studio album Dystopia (Universal/Tradecraft).
The crowd was chanting Megadeth over and over again. Then the lights went dim, smoke rised from the stage and the displays come on and the intro plays Prince of Darkness. The crowd started to erupt.
Megadeth, by Rick Triana Photography
Silhouettes started to hit the stage and the show had begun. A short eerie intro, some screaming guitar, smoke and as the lights rise here is…….Dave Mustaine! Megadeth always seems to have new faces. This tour was no different. Megadeth has brought drummer Chris Adler (Lamb of God) and guitarist Kiko Loureiro (of Brazil Metal band Angra). There was an eruption and the “Threat is Real”.
Megadeth, by Rick Triana Photography
Megadeth came out with a barrage of metal that they are famous for!! Open with a new song then go way back to 1990 for “Hangar 18”! The crowd was singing along word for word of the lyrics and chanting Megadeth to the rhythm of Chris’ power beats!
After heating up the valley of the sun Dave Mustaine greets the Phoenix crowd and was given some love from his one time home crowd.
As the night rolled on Megadeth’s delivered goods from their expansive catalog, even had an appearance from Vic Rattlehead himself for “Peace Sells”
For many years now, Megadeth has been a beast of two heads. The first, basically just a dripping, cavernous maw filled with razor sharp knives, was born in 1983 and would attack anything that moved with unnatural speed, venomous aggression, and of course, biting sarcasm. Then, a few albums down the road, a second head began to form alongside it’s bitter, hateful brother. Although still not the friendliest of things, this second head possessed a more laid back personality, preferring melody, patience and a more commercial approach to music.
Since the early nineties, these two distinctly different personalities have sat, occasionally uncomfortably, side by side on the same body, one continually attempting to become the dominant force over the other. When the original, Thrashier head gains control, we get albums like Endgame (Roadrunner), but when its more easygoing counterpart takes the helm, records like Cryptic Writings (Capitol) or the much maligned Risk (Capitol) are the results. Every now and again though, the two set aside their differences and actually co-operate, working together to try and achieve great things. Other times, it all goes horrifyingly wrong and things like Super Collider (Universal/Tradecraft) happen.
On new album, Dystopia (Universal/Tradecraft), the balance between the two is as good as it’s ever been. Just pretend Super Collider didn’t happen. Scrub it from your mind because the turnaround from 2013 to 2016 is unbelievable. While people have been happily writing Megadeth off as a spent force, frontman Dave Mustaine does what he always does with his back against the wall – digs in belligerently and refuses to go down without a fight.
In a situation like this, one of the best ways to make positive steps forward is to return to the past. And while it’s sometimes difficult to know whether a band is harking back to former glories so fans can identify quicker with new material, or whether it’s just because it’s an easy option from a band out of ideas, the answer lies in the shape of a ginger frontman. Dave Mustaine may be guilty of many things, but he doesn’t do easy.
So, when opening track ‘The Threat is Real’ begins with it’s atmospheric Arabic maqam introduction, one of the first things that leaps to mind is ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’ from 1990’s Rust in Peace (Capitol). Although not as good as that seasoned classic, ‘The Threat is Real’ is still a great way to start an album. Snappy lyrics, a chunky central riff and some sharp soloing courtesy of new boy Kiko Loureiro help this song become easily the best album opener since ‘Sleepwalker’ from 2007’s United Abominations (Roadrunner), even if it does sneakily try and fit an ever so slightly reworked ‘Five Magics’ riff in at the end.
The slightly downbeat, but still quite pacy title track follows next. Melodic riffs and catchy verses only let down by a slightly unimaginative chorus. However, it’s a more than worthy title track, and one with definite shades of ‘Hangar 18’ as the second half of the song becomes an entirely instrumental affair.
The already released ‘Fatal Illusion’ rumbles into view next, it’s discordant intro followed by a fast, smoothly played bassline from the always reliable David Ellefson. Some quick incisive riffing follows along with the first real signs that drummer Chris Adler, borrowed from Virginia’s Lamb of God, is seriously beginning to put his own individual stamp on the album. From then on though, it becomes a bit of a hotch-potch of other songs, with riffs and vocal patterns being casually lifted from the likes of ‘Devil’s Island’, ‘Black Friday’, and ‘Five Magics’ (again). Luckily, this is the only time the reliance on older material is so blatant, and with ‘Fatal Illusion’ being the song used to introduce people to the album in the first place, it was possibly even written that way with that in mind.
The album stalls briefly with the mid-paced and pretty forgettable ‘Death From Within’, which although isn’t awful or anything, is just sort of there. ‘Bullet to the Brain’, a song which on the face of it appears to be about a man lured into having an affair, but knowing Mustaine probably has some sort of deeper hidden political meaning, starts with a brief acoustic intro before turning on the heavy and delivering one of the catchiest choruses on the album. The brooding ‘Post-American World’ follows next, warning of future political dangers while tweaking the main riff to ‘Sweating Bullets’ to suit its purpose.
Next up is ‘Poisonous Shadows’. Somewhat similar in tone to ‘A Tout Le Monde’ (albeit with different subject matter), its gentle, recurring backing vocals and quiet piano outro (played by Loureiro) give the song a distinct personality while Adler finally becomes the star of the show, his powerful drumming pushing the song forward with precise, interesting patterns.
‘Conquer or Die!’ is one of the better instrumentals in Megadeth’s arsenal. Beginning slowly, a uniquely Mustaine riff takes over, becoming heftier as the sound of bells toll ominously behind some fantastic solo work. Instrumentals have been known to sap the interest of some listeners, but any cobwebs which may have appeared during ‘Conquer or Die!’ are instantly blown away with the ferocious intensity of ‘Lying In State’. A bludgeoning riff kicks things off, Adler adds to the carnage and Mustaine spits out the words with sneering disdain as it builds towards a frantic and extremely satisfying conclusion.
After such an explosive climax to the previous song, ‘The Emperor’, with it’s uptempo punk meets Alice Cooper vibe, feels strangely out of place. Also, it’s “The Emperor has no clothes” chorus conjures up some very unwanted images of a naked Mustaine wandering around his bedroom in just a pair of socks. Forget the themes of war, deception, murder, and political subterfuge. That image alone is scarier than all of those put together.
A cover of ‘Foreign Policy’ by California’s Fear rounds things off. Nice and straightforward, Mustaine does a better job of evoking the spirit of punk in this than he did with ‘Anarchy in the UK’ back in 1988, even if it does feature a very un punk-like guitar solo. Truth be told, these last two tracks are good but fairly unnecessary additions. Just treat them like bonus tracks and convince yourself the album finishes with ‘Lying in State’.
Varied and entertaining, ‘Dystopia’ is Megadeth’s best album in years and everything that fans who recognise Mustaine’s youthful piss and vinegar has matured into something else could hope for. Super Collider, is but a distant memory so stick it back on the shelf to gather dust, grab this one instead and smile that blacktooth grin once more.
Megadeth is streaming the title track from their up coming album Dystopia, which releases on January 22nd from Universal/Tradecraft. You can hear the track at this link or below:
Produced by frontman Dave Mustaine, Dystopia was recording in 2015 Nashville, Tennessee and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, All That Remains, Gojira).
Regarding the concept of Dystopia, Mustaine commented:
“I’ve had this outlook for a long time that the world is a really good place with some bad people in it. Others might think the opposite. But I think if you were to take a consensus of people, they know the difference between right and wrong.”
“People have manners and morals — but lately there’s been a decline in how people treat one another. That’s where ‘Dystopia’ comes in. If people don’t start loving each other and helping those in need, then when that becomes more important than power, fame or money, then I think we’re going to be okay.”
Dystopia marks the debut of Megadeth’s new lineup, featuring Mustaine (guitar, vocals) and David Ellefson (bass), with drummer Chris Adler (Lamb Of God) and Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro (Angra).
Dystopia track listing:
01. The Threat Is Real 02. Dystopia 03. Fatal Illusion 04. Death From Within 05. Bullet To The Brain 06. Post American World 07. Poisonous Shadows 08. Look Who’s Talking (iTunes bonus track) 09. Conquer Or Die 10. Lying In State 11. The Emperor 12. Last Dying Wish (iTunes bonus track) 13. Foreign Policy (FEAR cover)