You could be forgiven for thinking that Megadeth’s 16th album was inspired by the effects of the pandemic over the last two years, but according to rocker Dave Mustaine, that’s not the case.

Speaking in a new interview for Rolling Stone Australia, the thrash metal legend revealed that the banger of an album – and in particular, the title track – were born out of something else entirely.

“People think the record is about COVID and I have to cry foul on that – it’s absolutely not about COVID,” Mustaine explained.

Kicking off with a bang, the leading track opens with the ominous voice of a villager urging people to “bring out your dead”, a line that Mustaine says wasn’t just inspired by Monty Python and Holy Grail.

“It’s a little bit of that, but more than anything it’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when they were going looking for the dead people,” Mustaine explained.

The plague-themed lyrics continue throughout the track, along with a reference to the seemingly innocuous nursery rhyme “Ring Around The Rosie”.

Asked about his motives behind the reference to the macabre children’s song, Mustaine explains, “The poem is actually about little kids talking about people being cremated entirely, and I thought, ‘That is gnarly, that is just absolutely gnarly!’”

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“What the plague doctors used to do is wear these crazy masks that had really long apparatuses that went over their mouths and noses, and they would fill it with flowers and camphor and stuff like that to cover the smell of the dead.

“That’s what the guy on the cover of the album is wearing as well as some of the people in the background,” he added.

The Sick, the Dying … and the Dead! is out now digitally as well as on CD, vinyl, and cassette.

You can read more about this topic on the Metal Observer.

Check out ‘The Sick, the Dying … and the Dead!’ by Megadeth:

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