Dave Mustaine has been hinting at big news for months on his website, slaving over a “top secret project” and now, the Megadeth leader has revealed the results exclusively to Rolling Stone: A blistering new track called “Sudden Death” that will serve as the finger-busting finale to the forthcoming Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock game. Mustaine says the track is brutal, and “I’m sure some fans will think it’s the greatest thing we’ve ever done. But other people will say it sucks. That’s just the way of the world.”
Unlike previous Guitar Hero titles, the upcoming Warriors of Rock features a story-based adventure mode, voiced by Kiss’ Gene Simmons. To advance through the game, players will have to tackle tricky tracks like Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave,” Muse’s “Uprising,” Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare” and the Cure’s “Fascination Street.” But to beat the game’s last stage boss, players will have to master Megadeth’s “Sudden Death.”
“I thought it was a great idea for us,” says Mustaine. “We’ve had experience with games in the past, and our songs have been in sports games and Grand Theft Auto, but we never really got into the Guitar Hero thing. When they talked to us about doing this, I never imagined it would be something this honorable.”
Activision, the publishers of Guitar Hero, commissioned the track from Mustaine and Megadeth, and were very hands-on in the song’s development since “Sudden Death” has to pose the ultimate challenge to hardcore gamers.
“Only once in my career have I had this happen before,” Mustaine says, referring to 1991’s soundtrack for Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, when the band crafted “Go to Hell.” “We had written something and Interscope told me to make the lyrics even darker. Activision heard the track, and said, ‘We want more solos on it.’ And I said, OK, I can do that.’ ”
“Sudden Death” turned into a scathing, speedy thrash tune that’s sure to lead to some fingertip callusing. Mustaine claims the song has a “funky kind of polyrhythm to it” which will make it even more difficult for the Guitar Hero elite. “Just the sheer repetitiveness of it can blow people’s minds,” Mustaine explains. “And, my guitar style is way different than [other Megadeth guitarist] Chris Brodericks’. Chris plays with a lot of love and I play with a lot of hate. My guitar playing is explosions, and his is more like fireworks. When you are trying to emulate the two kind of guitar styles, it’s tricky. I don’t care what anyone says, you’ve gotta be good.”
Due out this fall, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock isn’t the only excitement on Mustaine’s plate these days. With bassist Dave Ellefson back in the equation, there’s pressure from fans for new music. Meanwhile, Megadeth will be heading overseas this summer to play with the rest of the “Big Four” of thrash (Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax) at festivals, marking the first time all four bands have shared the same stage. As Rolling Stone reported, one of the gigs will be broadcast live in movie theaters around the globe. Megadeth is also fresh from playing Rust in Peace on their last tour with Testament and Exodus, and will hit the road this summer with Slayer and Testament for the “American Carnage” trek.
Mustaine’s not thrilled that the “Big Four” tour isn’t a global undertaking, and thinks American fans “deserve it as much as anybody does.” So, does he see it coming stateside? “Of course it could happen. I don’t know that it will. I hope it does,” he says. “If we could, I know we would. It’s just a matter of the degree of touring availability for the other parties concerned. Let’s be honest about all this: The cards lay in one camp’s hands and the rest of us are just damn happy to be here.”