Newsted – Heavy Metal Music
2013, Chophouse Records
Buy the album
1. “Heroic Dose”
3. “…As the Crow Flies”
5. “Long Time Dead”
6. “Above All”
7. “King of the Underdogs”
9. “Twisted Tail of the Comet”
Jason Newsted − Vocals, Bass
Jessie Farnsworth − Guitar
Mike Mushok − Guitar
Jesus Mendez Jr. − Drums
Producer: Jason Newsted
Former Metallica/Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted returns with a new metal outfit. The simple album title is indicative of what you’ll find on this release — heavy metal music. That’s it. This isn’t “modern” metal, this isn’t alternative metal. It’s meat and potatoes heavy metal influenced by the likes of Black Label Society, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and, yes, Metallica.
Newsted does a fine job on vocals as he snottily growls on vocals in a style similar to James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine and it’s good to have him back front-and-center with his own band. He was underutilized in Metallica and with this new band I hope he’ll be much more visible in the metal scene than he has been for the last decade or so.
Heavy Metal Music is not unique and does not set out to reinvent the metal wheel. It’s quite down-to-earth and basic but that’s okay. That’s all you need sometimes and Newsted has come up with a handful of memorable songs such as “Heroic Dose”, “Soldierhead” (which sounds like it could’ve come from Death Magnetic), “Above All” and “Nocturnus” (Iommi riffing). It’s good to know there are still those out there dedicated to providing an old school sound but they don’t try to pretend it’s still 1985. This is new music rooted rooted in 1970s & 1980s metal.
Highlights: “Heroic Dose”, “Soldierhead”, “Above All”, “King of the Underdogs”, “Nocturnus”
Quite some time ago I took a look at Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums, took the best tracks and laid out what I thought one single album should’ve looked like (never mind there is a UYI compilation… mine is better). Well, I’m here to do that again.
The subject? Metallica. The albums? Load and ReLoad.
The original plan was for Load to be a double album but with some songs coming along slower than others, this idea was scrapped. The 14-track Load was released in June 1996 while the band continued to work on the remaining songs and released them as ReLoad (13-tracks and essentially “Disc 2” of Load) in November 1997.
Both albums are completely filled with, er, um… filler. Too many tracks, too many long tracks. Load is nearly 79 minutes. ReLoad is 76 minutes. Both albums are WAY TOO LONG.
I know it’s fashionable online to bash anything and everything this band has done since 1991 (even 1988 if you’re particularly grouchy) but mid/late ’90s Metallica wasn’t too bad. Were they card carrying members of the Metal Militia anymore? Absolutely not but that doesn’t mean they weren’t able to spit out a few good hard rock numbers… even if those songs did have a southern rock and/or alternative vibe. Corrosion of Conformity, anyone? What is too bad is that Metallica thought they were onto something so special that they felt they needed 2 albums, 27 tracks and 2.5 hours to tell their tale.
I give you the “Metal Excess Cut”:
Loaded: The Very Best of Load & ReLoad
Ain’t My Bitch
The Unforgiven II
The Memory Remains
Hero of the Day
Until It Sleeps
Of course I profess no great skill when it comes to sequencing the tracks, so you mileage may vary, but I will not budge on “Fixxxer” being the closer.
So there you have it. I think these 11 tracks are really the only ones worth listening to from Load & ReLoad and with a running time of a little over 60 minutes, it may still be a tad lengthy but certainly better than nearly 80 minutes!
Who Cares (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) – Out Of My Mind / Holy Water (2011, earMUSIC/Eagle Rock Records)
1. “Out of My Mind” … 5:19
2. “Holy Water” … 7:00
Ian Gillan – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Linde Lindstrom – Guitar
Jason Newsted – Bass
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards
How’s THIS for a super group: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Iron Maiden’s Nick McBrain, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, ex-Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and HIM’s Linde Lindstrom! Well, um, nothing against Lindstrom but, wow, he feels a bit out of place doesn’t he? I think his connection is he’s either dating or married to Iommi’s daughter.
Who Cares was initially a project put together by Gillan & Iommi to help benefit the rebuilding of a music school in Armenia but there was always the vague promise that Gillan & Iommi would continue to work together on some new material. I imagine with a reunited Black Sabbath that won’t be happening… ever (Sabbath will probably take up the next few years and these guys are old enough already). Shame. I’d much rather hear a Iommi & Gillan record (Geezer can tag along too) than a new Sabbath album with Ozzy.
Initially released as a digital single, the album has been made available on 7″ vinyl (limited to only 1,000 copies) and as a deluxe CD single featuring a video clip and a 30 minute documentary.
Despite being a one-off super-group that implied Tony & Ian might continue to work together, Who Cares went a bit under the radar, I think. Yes, it was done for charity so it’s not like there was any huge label or promotion backing this but given the talent involved I would have expected more buzz from the rock/metal community. The songs are just phenomenal and while I haven’t heard any of Gillan’s recent work with Deep Purple, the guy can still sing and scream like a rock ‘n’ roll god (even if his voice is a tad bit weathered, but at 66 years old, I’ll give him a break).
“Out of My Mind” is just plain heavy. Not Born Again heavy, but still heavy nonetheless, stomping along and sounding Black Sabbath & Deep Purple put in a blender: Iommi pulling out a great riff and solo, Gillan singing with venom and Jon Lord doing what he does best. Musically, it’s really not too far off from what we might’ve heard from Heaven & Hell.
“Holy Water” is a bit more majestic in scope with a taste of the Middle East. I’m not all that well-versed on Deep Purple with Steve Morse but from what I have heard, this sounds like the type of song you might hear from them as Jon Lord’s keyboard factors heavily into this track and Gillan is a bit more subdued.
Who Cares was put together for a great cause and features great music so it’s definitely worth buying. It also shows us what a great pairing Gillan & Iommi can still be and hopefully we can get some more music of out this duo in the future.
Metallica – Reload (1997, Elektra Records)
1. “Fuel” – 4:29
2. “The Memory Remains” – 4:39
3. “Devil’s Dance” – 5:18
4. “The Unforgiven II” – 6:36
5. “Better Than You” – 5:21
6. “Slither” – 5:13
7. “Carpe Diem Baby” – 6:12
8. “Bad Seed” – 4:05
9. “Where the Wild Things Are” – 6:52
10. “Prince Charming” – 6:04
11. “Low Man’s Lyric” – 7:36
12. “Attitude” – 5:16
13. “Fixxxer” – 8:15
James Hetfield – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Kirk Hammet – Lead Guitar
Jason Newsted – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums
Bernardo Bigalli – Violin (“Low Man’s Lyric”)
Marianne Faithfull – Backing vocals (“The Memory Remains”)
Jim McGillveray – Percussion
David Miles – Hurdy gurdy (“Low Man’s Lyric”)
Produced by: Bob Rock, James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich
Is it Reload or ReLoad? Many places list it as one or the other. I call it Reload. Anyway, I’m not one of those Metallica fans who claims to hate Metallica. How does that even make sense? Sure, this album and its predecessor, Load (and the Black Album for that matter), are huge departures from their original thrash sound, but so what? If you took Load and Reload and trimmed the fat from both, you’d have a really good album, even if it’s not Master of Puppets 2: Electric Boogaloo.
That said, there’s just way too much filler here for my ears. The songs are too slow and long and all the great intensity and energy “Fuel” opened the album with is totally lost by the end of the album. Where Metallica used to come charging full force on their 80s classics, they just kinda ploddingly stomp around on Reload.
Highlights: “Fuel”, “The Memory Remains”, “Devil’s Dance”, “The Unforgiven II”, “Slither”, “Fixxxer”