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Megadeth show us their war face on precision-riffing new single Soldier On!

Megadeth thrash out in Oslo, Norway, 2022.
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns)

Megadeth have continued the build up to the release of their 16th studio album, The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!, with the release of its latest single, Soldier On!

And as 21st century Megadeth songs go, this is straight out of central casting – a cornucopia of metal guitars in formation, applying the band’s start-of-the-art thrash metal sound to an all-action martial groove. 

The lyrics can be read as a comment on frontman/guitarist Dave Mustaine’s indefatigability in recording this album while receiving treatment for cancer, and as an exploration into the psyche of the armed services as the call to fight is answered. 

Either way, all gnarly themes to pin a metal jam to and for heshers who enjoy their Megadeth mega – i.e. precision riffs, laser-guided guitar solos, Mustaine annunciating vocals with trademark sneer – is sure to be a real treat. 

Following on from previous single, Night Stalkers, which features rap royalty Ice-T, Soldier On! finds Mustaine coloring the jam once more in Army fatigue green. The song even concludes with a military foot drill featuring service members from Fort Campbell. 

In this month’s Guitar World cover story, Mustaine says that the troops’ appearance “gave the song a lot of credibility.” It was for similar reasons that the Megadeth main man enlisted Ice-T’s help on the black ops-inspired Night Stalkers – though Ice-T did not see any action in black ops or otherwise while he served.

Mustaine likened Soldier On! to classic Megadeath tracks Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying?) and Symphony of Destruction in the sense that it came together easy. 

“For me, Soldier On! is about gathering your strength and saying, ‘Wait! Not anymore. This may have happened. It may still be happening. But right not it stops and I’m gonna soldier on,’” Mustaine explained. 

He added that recording with the Fort Campbell troops was a hoot. They apparently appeared just for fun, and are not credited on the album by name because they are “still operatives.” And afterwards, Mustaine got to ride in a helicopter simulator, which was big fun.

“When it was over, we all celebrated and talked and laughed and I actually flew a helicopter simulator,” he said. “I only crashed it twice. Oh boy, it sure was fun, man – a multi, multi, multi, multimillion-dollar helicopter ride.”

Mustaine, 60, isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. He says that Night Stalkers is the fastest song the thrash institution has recorded in its history, clocking in at 190 bpm. 

After a quick tour of duty of the European festival circuit, Megadeth with hill the road across the U.S. with Five Finger Death Punch for company. The tour picks up in Ridgefield, WA, on August 19. See Megadeth (opens in new tab) for a full itinerary. 

To read our in-depth interview with Mustaine and Megadeth lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro, pick up a copy of our October issue at Magazines Direct (opens in new tab).

The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! (opens in new tab) is available to preorder now via UMe.

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Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.