Megadeth’s David Ellefson: “There are riffs on this new record that are way harder to play than anything on Rust in Peace”

David Ellefson and Dave Mustaine performs during Megadeth concert as part of Dystopia World Tour at Luna Park on August 22, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
(Image credit: Santiago Bluguermann/LatinContent via Getty Images)

Anticipation is reaching fever-pitch for Megadeth’s long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s Dystopia, and bassist David Ellefson has added fuel to the flame in a new interview with Metal Rules, where he praises the quality of riffery being produced by the legendary thrash outfit.

Asked about how the new material compares to the band’s previous releases, Ellefson said: “It’s definitely not in the Super Collider vein. I think it’s Dystopia, and even way past that. It is a very technically challenging record. Dave [Mustaine, frontman] and I agree that there are riffs on this record that are way harder to play than any of the stuff on Rust in Peace. It is an insanely progressive record.

Ellefson attributes the advanced levels of writing to new drummer Dirk Verbeuren.

“I remember when I was a kid and heard [Rush’s] Geddy Lee and Neil Peart play something inhumanly impossible - I had that same feeling now on our record with Dirk Verbeuren. It lit me up. I was, like, ‘Holy shit! This is a moment that I have never felt or experienced until now.’

“Who knows? Maybe I needed to be 55 years old to experience and accomplish it with a seasoned guy like Dirk. That’s the emotion, fucking fire, and spirit that I have around this new record.”

The record will also mark the second album recorded with lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who recently teamed up with ex-Megadeth shredder Marty Friedman for new instrumental, Imminent Threat.

Dave Mustaine appears on the cover of the current issue of Guitar World, along with Trivium’s Matt Heafy, In Flames’ Björn Gelotte and Lamb of God’s Mark Morton.

The groups’ joint North American tour has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.