I had to switch post order up a bit, the reason why will be clear in a few weeks. This was originally supposed to be about Woodstock ’99, but with a new additional documentary about to hit streaming, I decided to put off my post about the existing one. Instead I’ll talk some about a new song from one of the bands that closed down the ill-fated festival.
Today I want to go over the new Megadeth song a little bit. Night Stalkers is the second single released from the upcoming album The Sick, The Dying And The Dead!, out September 2nd. The song is really good, Megadeth have established that they are going to be heavy as hell on this record. Both singles shape up for a nice album coming in just over a month.
There are a few odd and/or funny talking points going around about the song. I thought I’d dive into a few of them.
Dave Mustaine’s voice – shot?
The biggest topic of discussion has been Dave Mustaine’s voice. This isn’t new – the conversation came up during the Dystopia album release and tour cycle. Dave is now 60 years old and, well, I guess the pipes just aren’t what they used to be?
Honestly, I’m not hearing any huge impact here. Yeah, dude is old and also battled throat cancer in the late 2010’s, but nothing I’ve heard on either new song gives me any pause. He still carries a tune and also, it’s not like anyone was listening to Megadeth for Dave’s vocal prowess anyway. He’s always taken shit over his voice and while his snarl is unmistakable, it never was Megadeth’s calling card. But even with this new stuff I’m not having an issue with it. I don’t know. We all hear things differently, sure, but I do think sometimes people just like to find things to bitch about.
And even if Dave can’t carry a tune like he used to, the band is playing in such fine form that it doesn’t deter me much at all. Let the old man warble a bit over some of the hardest-hitting metal he’s recorded in ages.
Ice T is on this?
Yes – Ice T makes a guest appearance on the song. He does a brief spoken-word part that fits the song’s narrative and isn’t some weird bit that detracts from the track at all.
It’s almost like Ice T knows his way around a metal song, which of course he does. He has fronted Body Count for decades now, and in fact BC and Megadeth toured together in the early ’90’s. This was around the same time Mustaine heaped praise upon Ice T as a great artist.
And that relationship didn’t stop back then, either – in 2017, Mustaine provided both a spoken word intro and a guitar solo to the opening track from Body Count’s 2017 album Bloodlust. Civil War is an awesome song and here’s my very high opinion of the album overall from when it was Album of the Week awhile back.
The point is this – there is nothing strange about Ice T being on a Megadeth song, it might be called long overdue if anything. And there certainly is nothing wrong with it, even if some amount of keyboard warriors seem to think so.
The origin of Vic Rattlehead
The most exciting part about the new Megadeth video was something I’d heard about when the first song was released but nothing was really confirmed. This video arc, clearly meant by Mustaine to tell a story, is giving us the origin of Megadeth’s long-beloved mascot Vic Rattlehead. At the end of the first single We’ll Be Back, a soldier carries an atomic bomb into the sea in an apparent attempt to save people from certain destruction.
In Night Stalkers, this soldier is in some form of afterlife that resembles the river Styx and the ferryman Charon, though is also termed Hell in official preview clips. The shrouded figure transforms the soldier into the well-known mascot, then Vic returns to the mortal realm to unleash some hell on shadow agents hunting his family (or something, I’m not entirely sure).
It is really cool to see a Vic origin story after decades of his existence. I’d wager Vic is the second most famous heavy metal mascot, behind only the ubiquitous Eddie from Iron Maiden. And with this video arc we get far more of a story for Vic than we’ve ever gotten for Eddie.
I’m really looking forward to see where this story goes. Vic often appears as a tyrant or arms dealer type of baddie on old Megadeth album covers, and his story is clearly linked to some very dark military shadow operations, so we’re bound to get some really intriguing stuff in the upcoming arc. I love stuff like this that gives albums a bit more meaning and lore behind them, and it’s especially great to have this with one of heavy metal’s most recognized (drawn) figures.
That’s where we are with the preview songs for the new Megadeth album. We get some wondering about Dave’s vocal state (fine by me), some clowns questioning why Ice T is on the album, and some cool lore behind the long time mascot of the band. All that’s really left to do is see where the story goes and to get ahold of the new album here in several weeks.