Jason Newsted is pretty famous…the ex-bass player for Metallica who replaced the much loved Cliff Burton who died tragically in a bus accident. His role was one of difficulty from the start with his bass parts almost unheard on the first album after Cliff’s death…And Justice For All.
Years down the line his position in the band seemed strong & he was an integral part of the band. When he quit suddenly citing (personal reasons) frustrations that he couldn’t work on side projects I thought that would probably be the last I saw of him.
Stints with Echobrain, Voivod, Ozzy Osbourne’s band & few other projects hardly set the world of metal on fire & when he suffered a shoulder injury that stopped him playing bass for a quite a while, he disappeared off the radar with his only notable appearances being that he played alongside Metallica in their rock & roll hall of fame induction & was part of a super-group charity single alongside Ian Gillan, Jon Lord & Tony Iommi.
Jason Newsted announced his own bands formation (he plays bass & sings) called Newsted (imaginative) in December 2012 & this week sees the release of their debut album, Heavy Metal Music.
It’s an album filled with aggression, snarling, raspy vocals & some really catchy numbers. Album opener, Heroic Dose showcases the quality in riffs that are in abundance throughout with an absolute killer guitar solo to mix things up before first single, Soldierhead reminds you that heavy metal should be fast & of course, heavy.
It’s a song that you just have to bang your head too & Jason’ snarling vocals sound even more furious here. Ampossible & …As The Crow Flies showcase just how good the song-writing is & has shades of Black Sabbath & Motorhead running throughout.
Then just when you think your getting used to how the album is playing out King of the Underdogs arrives, probably the best song on the album & easily a live favourite. That it opens with a softly singing Newsted before hitting a riff that has ‘head-bang now’ written all over it is a nice surprise. It’s a much more personal song then on the rest of the album & one many fans will be able to identify with.
The latter half of the album continues the strong trend with Nocturnus slowing the pace down somewhat before Twisted Tail of the Comet takes it up a notch again, it’s fast & possibly the most ambitious song on the album.
The album draws to a close with the double header of riff-heavy Kindevillusion & Futureality, the latter probably being the weakest song on the album. With what came before it just needed a more grandiose ending & it fails to deliver.
Still it is a minor blemish on an impressive debut album that is unashamedly metal & whose influences range from Black Sabbath to Motorhead. Newsted’s vocals will not be for everyone but I personally love how raw & angry he sounds. Some of these songs sound like they will be killer live & the quality in song-writing shows that Newsted has a very bright future.
Newsted - Heavy Metal Music (Epic Records)
The Final Score - 9/10
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