Megadeth‘s skull-faced mascot Vic Rattlehead, katana sword in hand, combs a cemetery in search of a captive boy in the band’s new video for “Lying in State,” an especially bleak cut off their 2016 album Dystopia. The song’s lyrics seem to be politically charged, with Dave Mustaine singing, “What we are witnessing is the decline of Western civilization,” but the clip itself is pure fantasy: The band performs in a ruined tomb next to burning trash cans, Vic’s sword has “Rust in Peace” etched into it (calling back to Megadeth’s 1990 album), and the video ends on the surreal side with a somewhat happy ending.
“When we were on tour in São Paulo in 2016, we filmed the ‘Conquer or Die’ video,” Mustaine tells Rolling Stone, referring to a clip for another Dystopia cut. “We were so impressed with Brazilian award-winning director Leo Liberti, that we had him do the ‘Lying in State’ video as well. We had several friends and fans of the band, as well as the production crew, play roles in the video. Huge thanks goes to [Megadeth lead guitarist] Kiko Loureiro for introducing us to Leo. I especially like how bad ass Vic was with the sword. Who knew?”
Liberti’s Libertà Filmes group has won Latin Grammys, Cannes Lions and CLIOs over the years. Megadeth are the highest-profile U.S. act he’s worked with.
This year, Megadeth are celebrating their 35th anniversary with special releases and events, starting with the unveiling of the “Lying in State” video. Mustaine will also be marking the anniversary on his weekly Gimme Radio show on Thursdays at 3 p.m. EST with stories about his career, contests and giveaways.