Wednesday, January 9, 2013
If you have not been living in a cave for the past 30 years, you will know who Jason Newsted is and his importance to Heavy Metal Music. Jason's beginnings were with a little thrash band called Flotsam & Jetsam. He has also played on multiple albums by Voivod as well as countless side projects ranging from sloppy (IR8) To just downright terrible (Echobrain).
Newsted's most important musical contributions came when he became the fan who joined his favorite band as their bass player. Jason joined Metallica shortly after the death of bassist Cliff Burton, staying on with the band through several albums for a career spanning 14 years with them. In 2002, Jason announced his departure from Metallica and for a while faded into obscurity. He worked on his various side projects, Echobrain being his most well known. He had bad blood with his former band mates and Metallica's fans found themselves in yet another split over who was a better bass player.
2013 finds Jason with a new band bearing his name and a new 4 song EP out today aptly titled Metal. There are many things that this collection will be, unfortunately, Vinyl is not one of them. This project was released directly to iTunes for 3.99. It is a worthwhile purchase.
The name of EP sums it up perfectly. It is metal, pure metal and nothing but metal. There is no Voivod, Flotsam & Jetsam or Metallica here. What you have is Jason on bass but fronting his own band with vocals. Jason's voice is good, his lyrics are a little difficult to digest on this album. They're not complex, they're just not exceptional. The songs on the EP average about 5-6 minutes each
4 songs is all we get to base our judgment of this band on. Ultimately this gets the nod from me.
The album opener Soldierhead starts out with a galloping speed riff followed immediately by rollling toms. The drumming on this track is primarily blast beats though played a little slower than you would think. A better drummer would be an asset to this band, but the timing is solid. Lyrically it's about a soldier in a war torn place looking back on his life trying to determine how he got to where he is.
Track 2, Godsnake begins with slow big riffs for the intro, settling with a slow sludgy chug chug riff. It's not bad. It's heavy and fun. Again, nothing groundbreaking here.
Track 3, King of the Underdogs starts off with a bass guitar intro that is mimicked immediately by a lead guitar. After the first 3 or 4 sung lines, the main riff takes off and the track shows itself for what it is. It is arguably the best song of the 4.
My least favorite is the 4th and final track, Skyscraper. The song has a bouncing bass guitar line that seems just a little too commercial and overdone, still, in the overall flow of the songs, it fits well.
So there it is, I've sat with this project all day and listened to it several times before judging it all. It's a solid project and I would definately want to hear more by them in the future. It's good to hear Jason singing and playing. It left a rift with some of Metallica's fans, however, I hope they find their way to 'Metal' and let this band be what it is and not overshadowed by the biggest metal band of all time, that he just happened to be part of for a time.