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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Jason Newsted - Heavy Metal Music

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 11:25 PM

JASON NEWSTED – Heavy Metal Music

Written by Dave Smiles

In the mid-eighties Jason Newsted was pouring his musical passions into his band Flotsam and Jetsam. Their debut album, with lyrics mostly from Newsted, showed a lot of potential. (It’s the only album Kerrang magazine ever gave 6 out of 5) Who knows what may have happened had fate not come knocking in the form of Metallica?

During the fourteen years with Metallica (who we all know achieved phenomenal success during this period) Newsted’s musical co-writing credits amounted to just three tracks. After his departure in 2001 fans were curious to see what his new musical endeavors would produce. It was well known he preferred playing the heavier stuff in the Metallica catalogue as opposed to the more mid tempo tracks from the band’s mid-nineties output. So it was with disappointment his first post-Metallica project Echobrain came and went. During the next decade Newsted would appear in various bands including stints with Ozzy and Voivod. He was also a part of Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan’s recent supergroup Who Cares.

Which brings us to his newest project. A band under his own name, his music his way. Their first full length album, Heavy Metal Music, is a focused and consistent album from start to finish with songs filled with energy and intensity, aiming to personify the term ‘heavy’ and to celebrate all that is good with ‘classic’ Metal. I use the word classic as the songs call to mind bands such as Merciful Fate, Motorhead, and (early) Metallica. Production wise, it’s what you would imagine early albums from these bands would sound like if they had more of a budget to polish the end product, that’s not to say the raw power of the band has been buffed away; quite the opposite. The clarity of the various instruments brings a great dynamic to the songs.

Jason’s vocals are unique and powerful, taking the lower end of the human rage and fusing it with melody, you can hear the smirk in his sneer. Lyrically, he appears to be getting a lot of his frustrations out, none more obviously than on the album opener Heroic Dose.

…As the Crow Flies, Ampossible and Above All are melodic, dark and moody mid temp rockers, proving you don’t need to play fast to be heavy. Kindevillusion has an addictively hooky riff.

Tracks like Soldierhead and Long Time Dead take the approach of old school thrash metal. The former contains an interesting grinding wah drenched solo. In contrast, Nocturnus is slow, heavy and menacing.

Kind of the Underdogs, a fitting self-proclamation from Newsted, kicks off with a slow intro and builds into a balls to the wall rocker. Twisted Tail of the Comet is dedicated to former Voivod band mate, guitarist Denis D'Amour, who died in 2005 from colon cancer. Newsted’s most heartfelt lyrics on the album with a fitting performance to match.

With a band as good as this, and an album of material with this quality, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for Newstead. – ‘Underdogs Rise!’


Categories: Album Reviews

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