Newsted – Metal

Let’s face it, we’re all curious about this one for various reasons; but mostly it’s to see what the former Metallica bassist’s solo project sounds like. When you look at it for what it is, we’re simply giving into the nepotism that surrounds this project. I can’t really pretend to be beyond it, I’ll be 100% honest, it’s purely due to his associations that I’m checking out this project.  Do I think that Jason Newsted is trying to escape his past and trudge this one out on his own? If this was an acid jazz album, I could agree. But he hasn’t shaved his head, he hasn’t started playing the sitar and renamed himself VishnaBaBu. Jason Newsted is aware of the klout his name draws and is using it to his advantage. I’d even go off on a branch and wager that most, if not all the people that purchase this album did so to hear if it’s at all possible for Newsted to be anything but straight Metallica rip-off. Luckily, it seems as it can.

When the album starts “Soldierhead” immediately takes you back to some familiar places. At first, it may not be apparent where it is, but then it sinks in that you’re hearing a sound influenced by Death Magnetic. There’s no escaping the fact that the loose sound of the open string galloping sounds exactly like Metallica‘s 2008 endeavour. While it could have been a coincidence, it’s more likely  that Metallica is still very much an influence on his life. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. Either way, the chops are definitely delivered on this track. And while Newsted does have its obvious influences, you do hear little hints of what is to become their own sound.

And while I initially started out this article determined not to mention Metallica, I now realize it’s completely impossible.  While you would think a band would take their influences of Metallica from albums like …and Justice for All and Master of Puppets, Newsted actually draws half of the album’s influences from Load and ReLoad era material, having more of a groove metal feel to the tracks as opposed to a full on thrash metal assault. While it doesn’t entirely take away from the album “Godsnake” and “King of the Underdogs” are not as strongly written as the other tracks. But, with some reworking the aforementioned tracks will be absolute killers.

One of the great surprises of Metal is the Soundgarden style intro of “King of the Underdogs” demonstrating that Newsted is indeed a full on group effort instead of the brainchild of front man Jason Newsted. And while the track itself is not without its charms, it is slightly repetitive. However, the post chorus riffs that slow the song down are satisfyingly crunchy. The later parts of the track seem to sound a lot like Lights, Camera, Revolution era Suicidal Tendencies, which is great, but I’m referring to the slow and melodic interludes. But luckily the entire band seems into that formula. The singing style of “King of the Underdogs” seems to indicate the direction that the band will head in, though there is no way to be certain.

But, if anything is certain, the band is still figuring out their sound, as is apparent with “Skyscraper”. If I have to mention which band Newsted is ripping off with their intro riff, you are required to hand in your heavy metal membership card. For shame. That being said, it’s nice to see that Newsted is not going to be a straight up, cookie cutter metal band, but in fact, a well versed , and confident band that is sure in their approach and execution of their material. If Metal is any indication of what is to come, it’s clear that the future is bright.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]

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I remember staying up past my bedtime when I was a kid, I had been flipping through radio stations aimlessly until my finger just stopped on Q107. I was instantly hooked by the drums, guitar and sheer heavyness of the song. I really didn’t know what music could be that heavy. Ever since then I’ve been hooked and attended shows in the seediest of dives to the most expensive arenas, met my share of rock stars, even won a few awesome pieces of memorabilia. But I’ll never forget the time an 8 year old me thrashed out on my bed at 2am to “Master of Puppets”.