Release Date: Aug 6, 2013
Record label: Collective Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal
Definitely a big miss on the album title, given that Jason Newsted isn't fronting an ESL trad metal band from 1984. Oh well, he makes up for it: the ex-Metallica and ex-Voivod bassist returns to metal in a big way with this one, Heavy Metal Music presenting an oddly stiff yet fully enjoyable take on no-frills heavy sounds. "As the Crow Flies" and "Ampossible" are great songs, the former inspirational and Voivod-ian, with some surprisingly moving lyrics, the latter featuring some killer Southern metal riffing.
Twenty years ago, Jason Newsted was a member of Metallica and enjoying the kind of preposterous success most musicians can only dream about. Listening to Heavy Metal Music, the 50-year-old's thunderous return to the genre after over a decade of low-key collaborations, it is hard to avoid the feeling that his 2001 departure from the biggest metal band of all time may be the main reason they now seem unable to tap into the feral spirit that once defined them. Proudly rooted in the old-school fury of his former band but infused with the lumbering thud of Black Sabbath and the dissonance and rhythmic quirks of Voivod, the Canadian thrash oddballs whom Newsted helped to revive in 2005, his new band's debut bristles with vitality, aggression and subtly adventurous songwriting.
Heavy metal is back where it started: in the underground, repressed by the ever-changing tastes of the majority. Nevertheless, the genre continues to move forward, branching out into a web of subgenres and offshoots. It’s sonically boundless, artists always trying to one-up themselves and one another in a quest to innovate. This progressive diversity is what makes metal so alluring, amorphous, and thought-provoking.
Though he made his biggest splash during his tenure as the bassist for Metallica, Jason Newsted has been a ubiquitous metal sideman, playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne and Voivod. At the helm of Newsted, his eponymous solo project, he finally gets to take center stage with his aptly titled full-length debut, Heavy Metal Music. Armed with a massive collection of riffs and a growl that sounds a bit like former bandmate James Hetfield, Newsted comes bursting out of the gate with an album that makes good on the simple premise put forward by its title with a collection of songs that feels like classic meat-and-potatoes heavy metal.
A second-rate collection of hard rock jams from the ex-Metallica man... Look, Jason Newsted was teased (and paid) enough over the years by Metallica for the distinction of not being Cliff Burton, so we don’t really need to put the boot in, but we’ve got a few bones to pick here. While Jase and his former mates were busy playing gargantuan stadiums over the last few decades, metal twisted and evolved into a many splendoured thing.