Saturday, 31 August 2013

Newsted "Heavy Metal Music"

Earlier this year, former Metallica bassist Jason Newted’s new band, simply titled “Newsted” released their 4-track debut EP Metal. Earlier in the summer I wrote an article about it, not actually aware that Metal was so quickly going to be followed up by a full length album. Considering I’ve already written an article about the Metal EP, I suppose I can skip the whole history of the band and what not, besides I’m sure most of you already know who Jason Newsted is anyway.

In early August, the band released their first full length 11-track album, with another simple straight to the point title, Heavy Metal Music. This time the band includes a fourth member in the recording and live performing process, Staind guitarist Mike Mushok to add to their sound. The album is, as expected a continuation of the dominance that Metal had started, making music that doesn’t necessarily sound like anything else, but at the same time sounds like it belongs to a more golden age of metal such as when Metallica were releasing relevant metal music.

The album starts off with Heroic Dose, which, if you heard the Metal EP, starts off exactly where that EP left off. I mid-tempo track with a powerful galloping guitar riff starts off the song, while Jason chimes in with his still surprisingly fantastic metal vocals. In an album filled with songs that are for the most part over five-minutes, this song is no exception, clocking in at 5:25. The song puts its new dual-guitar capabilities to good use immediately on this tracks guitar solo. I enjoy how the guitar solo is not showy; they are not competing to melt faces.

The album does feature two of the four songs from the Metal EP. The EP’s opening track Soldierhead is this albums second track, while King of the Underdogs. If I had to choose which songs from the EP to include on this album, I probably would have chosen these two tracks as well. Soldierhead was the fastest and heaviest song on the EP while King of the Underdogs, if you read my article on Metal, is the highlight of the EP for its diversity.

The band continues to expand their sound with ...As The Crow Flies; another long song that takes influence from a more 80s sounding metal band such as Accept, with its simple yet very noticeable drum beat playing with chugging guitar riffs and spooky leads. Above All is another non-complex yet still in your face metal track.

There are a few songs on the album where Jason seems to be making up words that strangely make sense for their titles. Ampossible screams of Black Sabbath, with its doom metal backbeat and its killer guitar riffs. If Nocturnus doesn’t also make you think of Black Sabbath, then you simply don’t know Sabbath. Yes, Jason’s voice is no Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio, but “doom metal” music for the songs really shows where the influence lies. Kindevilussion, another of the made up titles, stems away from the Sabbath sound to a bit of a faster evil sounding metal song.

Jason still hasn’t lost his thrash metal roots, with songs like Long Time Dead. It is also well known that when thrash metal was initially started in the bay area of California, most of the bands listened to New Wave of British Heavy Metal Bands such as Saxon, Motörhead and Venom. Jason shows continued influence from those styles of music on Twisted Tail of the Comet, which has a very dark and horror-esque sound to it yet at the same time is very melodic where it needs to be.

The album ends with Futureality. While among the slower songs on the album, it doesn’t quite sound like a doom metal song. It reminds me more of something by Dio, more of a Holy Diver type of slower song (but it is NO Holy Diver). I’m not sure how I feel about this song being the one chosen to end the album. Compared to a lot of the songs on the album, which have the capability of catching their listener within a minute of the song, this song really neglects to have any sort of hook to truly make any listener really want to continue listening.

Jason Newsted continues to show that he is still very much relevant in the world of metal. As mentioned, he showed a world of promise with the Metal EP, and continued that dominance over the 11 tracks on this album, releasing an album that sounds like most metal albums today should sound. Of course Jason Newsted is no kid with a new band, he has been around for a few decades now, and even has his name in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so it is expected to him to release a highly intelligent heavy metal album such as this one. If there is one problem, it is while having only four songs on the EP didn't seem like enough, having 11 songs on this album may, to some, feel like too much.


Ampossible” –­ frankly, I’d still say King of the Underdogs is the highlight for this album as well as the EP. It truly is among the best written metal songs, I think, in recent years with its diversity of going back and forth between slow and gloomy to fast and fierce yet still sounding catchy. But to choose a different song from this album, I’d have to say Ampossible is the highlight. While there are faster songs on the album, there are also slower songs, making this song perfectly somewhere in the middle in terms of the pace of the album. I also feel Jason puts the most feeling behind his vocals on this track. Adding that with the riff-heavy guitars, I believe this to be a perfect song for first time listeners to check out.


8 (Out of 10)

Track List:

"Heroic Dose"  
"...As the Crow Flies"  
"Long Time Dead"  
"Above All"  
"King of the Underdogs"  
"Twisted Tail of the Comet"  

1 comment:

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