MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke to Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Music Star about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was actually just down there [at the recording studio] last week. I went to Nashville to just put a couple of little, tiny finishing touches on some stuff. We're literally in the final hours of getting everything done. Obviously, COVID slowed things down. Kiko [Loureiro, guitar] lives over in Finland now, and there were some delays last year, just with travel and with everything shutting down. But me and Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] got down there pretty quickly — by May and June [of last year], we were in there cutting tracks. It's been good, though.
"One of the things, on the onset of it, Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist] had said to me, he goes, 'I really wanna just take the time to listen to this record,'" he continued. "We had been in this grind, this touring thing, where you make a record, you go right out on tour, you come off of an 18-month tour and you go right into the studio and make a record. And there's an energy about [that approach that] I like sometimes, and I think MEGADETH has made some great records when our backs are against the wall and there's a not a lot of time. I think with this one, especially following up 'Dystopia', off of such a big record like that, this is one where we have the luxury of time to sit back and we don't just have to hurry up [and finish it].
"In the early days of your career, every minute counts, so you're always working against the clock to jump on to bigger tours and these things," Ellefson added. "So, ironically, with COVID and everything that's happened, it's sort of slowed the whole pulse and the whole tempo of, obviously, the world, but certainly our industry — things have slowed down to a different pace. And so there's a lot more — maybe a bit more reflecting. Obviously, as we go forward, as things get scheduled from 2020 to 2021, now 2022, there's gonna be a lot of rescheduled things, there's gonna be new things, obviously, coming down, with new records and stuff. So it's [nice] to be able to be a bit reflective on this one and not just have to bang another record out."
This past February, Mustaine said during an episode of his Gimme Radio program "The Dave Mustaine Show" that he had just received "a really cool lyric" from Ellefson that he was planning to turn into a song. In addition, he revealed that the album will include an as-yet-undisclosed cover track.
In January, Ellefson told the "Rock 'N' Roll Icons With Bode James" podcast the previously announced working title for MEGADETH's upcoming album, "The Sick, The Dying And The Dead", will likely end up getting changed before the LP is released.
The early sessions for the album took place in 2019 with co-producer Chris Rakestraw, who previously worked on "Dystopia".
"Dystopia", whose title track was honored in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 2017 Grammy Awards, marked Loureiro's recording debut with MEGADETH.
The 46-year-old Belgian-born-and-now-Los-Angeles-based Verbeuren had played with SOILWORK for more than a decade before joining MEGADETH.