Friday, September 27, 2013

Heavy Metal Music


Attention all old school metal fans!  Last month Chris and Aaron devoted an episode to thrash metal posing the question who would be a part of the "Big 5" if there were such a thing.  This prompted me to re-visit some of my musical collection and directed me to Metallica's former bass player Jason Newsted and his latest effort released in early August.  I already had the album in my collection, but somehow it became rather overlooked until this prompted my re-visit.  Since then Newsted's Heavy Metal Music has been in regular rotation on my mp3 player.

Like a sucker punch to the gut, robbing you of the ability to intake a breath, Newsted’s Heavy Metal Music serves up exactly what the title suggests.  Jason Newsted has nothing to hide and is keeping things plain and simple this time around.  His new band is called Newsted, the original EP was called Metal, the full length début is entitled Heavy Metal Music and all are as advertised, delivering a “Heroic Dose” of old school metal music.

Becoming interested in music in his youth at around the age of fourteen, Jason Newsted soon discovered Metallica who quickly rose through the ranks and became one of his favourite bands.  Four years later saw the Battle Creek, Michigan born bassist strike out from then home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan bound for California, loaded with dreams of starting a band.  Landing in Phoenix, Arizona he formed Flotsam & Jetsam, taking on the creative role of songwriter for the début album, Doomsday for the Deceiver, as well as the bass guitar.  With the tragedy of Cliff Burton’s death creating a vacant spot in Metallica in 1986, Newsted left the promising Flotsam & Jetsam behind to join his music heroes.  Jason went on to spend some fifteen years with the “Big 4” band, appearing on some of the best selling albums of their career, before departing in 2001.

Post Metallica saw him concentrating on his own project, Echobrain.  Arising out of a Superbowl party at Newsted’s where they met in 1995, the trio of Newsted, Brian Sagrafina and Dylan Donkin finally came to fruition as a band in 2000.  After one Echobrain record Newsted went on to join Canadian thrash metal outfit Voivod, recording three albums with the Canucks, 2003's Voivod, Katorz in 2006 and 2009's Infini.  You may have also seen Newsted on the reality television program Rock Star’s second season where he joined forces with Gilby Clarke and Tommy Lee in the search for a lead singer.  With Lukas Rossi being chosen as the new front man for the super group they recorded one album, released in 2006 entitled Rock Star Supernova.

By late 2012, Jason Newsted had formed a new band simply going under the moniker Newsted.  The band, comprised of Newsted on bass and vocals, drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. and guitarist Jessie Farnsworth, recorded an EP entitled Metal in early January 2013.  The compositions were written and produced by Newsted and the EP was released on his own Chophouse Records label.  With the addition of Staind guitarist Mike Mushok in March they were set to record the full length album.  Heavy Metal Music was unleashed in early August 2013 featuring two tracks from the Metal EP and nine new compositions.  "Soldierhead" and “King of the Underdogs” are the two EP tracks, the former getting the video treatment prior to the release of the Heavy Metal Music album.  The video for "Above All" also preceded the album's release and links to both videos appear below.

Blasting off with “Heroic Dose”, a straightforward old school rocker, the record gets its hooks into you early hitting full steam right away and never easing up on the throttle!  Some stand out cuts include the aforementioned “Heroic Dose”, “…As The Crow Flies” (probably my favourite on the CD), “Above All” and “Kindevillusion”, but there’s not a bad track found here.  Jason Newsted and company are a band to watch out for in the future.

Photo by The Meister @ Sweden Rock
The 'Ole Meister even had the chance to catch Newsted live back in June.  I was fortunate enough to be able to trek from the Great White North of Toronto Canada and head out to Sweden to take part in the Sweden Rock Festival in June featuring 83 bands.  Yep, that’s what I said…..83 bands!  At the time I had only spun Metal once or twice, acquiring it only a few days before my departure to Scandinavia, so I was not overly familiar with the Newsted tunes, but I assumed that there would be some Metallica in the mix and planned to catch their set on Friday June 7th.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it I suppose) I was absolutely smacked-in-the-face overloaded with rock at June’s Sweden Rock Festival and let’s face it, rather well lubricated with beverages.  As a result I only caught a short portion of the Newsted set taking in the two songs "Long Time Dead" and "King of the Underdogs".  I now wish I’d paid more attention to Newsted’s show, especially after hearing the new full length album, Heavy Metal Music and will make it a point to take in their live show at my earliest opportunity.

The Meister

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Agreed, Newsted EP is flawless and the new LP (how come "Extended Plays" are shorter than "Long Plays"??) also rocks. Love em both. This also made me break out my Voivods with "Jasonic". Great stuff.

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