Megadeth Now Tune Down One Full Step to Accommodate Dave Mustaine’s Vocals
It’s not secret that Dave Mustaine’s voice has sounded less-than-stellar these past few years; only the most hardcore Mustaine apologists would ever attempt to argue otherwise. So this has to be one of the smarter moves Mustaine and company have made in recent memory: according to Metal Injection, the band “has now tuned their instruments from standard (E-A-D-G-B-E) to a full step down (D-G-C-F-A-D)” for all live performances in order to best accommodate Mustaine’s vocals. And although purists and people who plain old don’t know better might cry foul, Metal Injection is also quick to point out that “Metallica have actually been doing this for many years.” So, once again, Mustaine is straggling just a little too far behind his former bandmates. (His battle cry must be, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME METALLICA WERE ALREADY DOING THIS?!?!”) At least he’s consistent.
ANYWAY, the positive results of the decision to tune down are apparently immediately. Just compare these two performances of “Holy Wars” — the first from 2010, pre-down-tune, and the other from just a couple of months ago, after the tune-down policy was implemented:
So, Mustaine ain’t exactly Ronnie James Dio, but at least now his vocals are on-key and not so horrendous as to distract from the rest of the performances.
I think the bottom line is that dudes like Mustaine and Hetfield were never really “vocalists” per se, and, at least in terms performance longevity, may have been better served either by a real-deal pro like Chuck Billy or Mark Osegueda (although that’s not always the insurance policy you’d hope it would be, as demonstrated by Joey Belladonna), or maintaining a more punk-esque screaming style of vocals for which actually being a good singer was never really a requirement in the first place (which has worked out pretty well for Tom Araya). Since Hetfield ditched that plan circa The Black Album and Mustaine’s vocal style has always emulated the sound a cat being neutered without anesthesia, though, not being a total embarrassment will have to be sufficient.