HEAVY METAL MUSIC
This review is being written at the request of a longtime Pitriff reader, who hit me up this week and reminded me that I had not yet reviewed this release from former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. Being honest, I'm not sure how that happened exactly. Since he came out with his 4 song EP METAL, and right through to today, the new solo music from the project called Newsted has not been away from my iPod for more than a day or two. It doesn't feature anything overly special or anything. Jason Newsted is not the best vocalist in the world. The music isn't the best or more cutting edge heavy metal ever created. In essence, it's a fairly average offering with one mighty exception - attitude. That undying, undeniable metal attitude literally forces HEAVY METAL MUSIC to be loved in the ears of most metalheads. A release full of piss and vinegar without a shred of apology for any of it, HEAVY METAL MUSIC is one of the most enjoyable metal albums of 2013.
That attitude starts with Newsted himself. Already an established legend himself, the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Famer seemed determined to put out the most metal album he or any of his friends and former bandmates in Metallica have done in 20 years. Mission accomplished. HEAVY METAL MUSIC is a seething release full of songs that just sound like "metal". There's a lot of cool stuff to please just about anyone that likes hard, driving old school metal ranging from early thrash like Metallica through bands like Metal Church or Newsted's other ex-band Flotsam & Jetsam. There's some cheesiness to this release, with song names such as "Ampossible" and "Futureality", or even the under-creative disc title HEAVY METAL MUSIC. That said though, the music really speaks for itself. The aforementioned "Ampossible" is a driving, midtempo asskicker where Newsted's bass thumps violently while guitarists Jesse Farnsworth and Mike Mushok hammer it home around Newsted. The band features a rock solid foundation on each and every song with Newsted teaming with drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. to create a thick bottom end. Songs like "King Of The Underground", "Long Time Dead" and "Nocturnus" all are driven from below the vocals and guitar, which is about as old school as it gets. It's also about as appealing as it can be.
As for Newsted, I think even he would admit he's not the best vocalist in the world. He's fairly monotonous throughout; a single tone that offers literally nothing in range. That said though, the music he's creating doesn't call for much more than that, so it works. He spits and snarls lyrics on songs like "Soldierhead", and you never really feel like you are missing anything with his vocal inadequacies. In a lot of ways, Newsted has taken a queue from another legendary bassist, Lemmy from Motorhead. Much like Lemmy rarely changes it up vocally, Newsted follows suit. The band instead opt for the change-ups to come in song structure. The lone time where there's a slight change vocally comes on a song that's also diffenent in tempo and sound, "Above All". Whatever the criticisms though, HEAVY METAL MUSIC is the kind of album that just forces you to grip your face hard, bang your head, and remember when metal was good and not trendy metalcore garbage.
PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - Jason Newsted is one of the coolest cats in all of metal. Just about anyone that's ever met him is generally surprised not only by how down to earth he is, but how truly entrenched his attitude is to the world of old school heavy metal. His attitude has spilled through the amplifiers to the 1s and 0s of a digital recording. HEAVY METAL MUSIC just flat out rocks. .