Heavy Metal Music
05 August 2013
by Tomas Doyle
“Former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted”. “Ex ‘tallica bass man Jason Newsted”. “Newsted, the band formed by one time Metallica five-stringer…” Apparently, Jason Newsted used to be in another band. More specifically for those just getting into metal or the less observant amongst you, he used to be in The Biggest Heavy Band Of All Time.
It’s a big deal in anyone’s book, of course, not least Jase’s (let’s not forget that he was a fan of the band before he joined their ranks) but there does seems to be a infuriating insistence from fans and the press at large to continue to frame everything he does through the filter of Metallica. Will that high profile past be a perpetual albatross around his neck in the future or can Heavy Metal Music, the first official album under his own steam, help him move beyond such continual comparison?
Perhaps he isn’t doing himself any favours in some ways. The accompanying press release we received with this record talks about the possibility of Mr Newsted jamming some Metallica material with Dave Mustaine on the latest round of the Gigantour “I’m willing to throw down Phantom Lord – actually, whatever he calls out, I’m gonna throw down!” he apparently exclaimed. No doubt that would be an exciting prospect to a lot of people but there is also a sense in which if you expect everyone to be looking ahead to your new work, you yourself can’t be looking back.
That sense is heightened because Heavy Metal Music is a fine record, all weighty riffs and snorted vocals and fist-pumping rhythm. There’s an energy on show here too which is at the heart of what the philosophy of metal is all about. No fucking about and no fucks given. Sure, it’s not perfect – as some of these tunes rumble along it’s apparent that it maybe lacks some of the pizazz which would make it a real head turner. Lyrically, for example, it feel a little awkward at times and at least a couple of tracks need to be half as long or twice as interesting. But for the most part its a solidly reliable album of, well, heavy metal music.
Newsted is in a fine place to stamp his very own mark on metal’s hairy hide. He was probably the only person to come out of the Some Kind Of Monster débâcle with his head held high and now with Heavy Metal Music he has demonstrated that he is crafting records that at the very least deserve to be considered on their own merit. Is it as good as Ride The Lightning? Is it better than Lulu? Who gives a shit. Jason Newsted didn’t make those albums, but he did make this one. Here’s to looking forward.
Sounds Like: Jason Newstead. Nothing more, nothing less.
Standout Tracks: Ampossible, Soldierhead