Sound — 7
Jason Newsted is no stranger to heavy metal. Throughout his thirty year career in the music industry, Jason has delivered the bass backbone for a number of prestigious groups including Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Echobrain, and the charity supergroup WhoCares featuring Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan. He has also dabbled in the art industry, following his shoulder injury back in 2006. Jason is now moving into brand new territory with his own group, appropriately titled Newsted. This heavy metal band has Jason not only manning the bass guitar but also the lead microphone, with Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, former Metallica drum tech Jesus Mendez Jr., and guitarist Jessie Farnsworth filling in the lineup. Newsted delivered their first ever studio release last year, in the form on a four-song EP simply titled "Metal." One year later, Newsted are releasing their debut studio album, which bears some significant resemblance to Jason's previous collaborations yet also some unique characteristics. The new album, this one titled "Heavy Metal Music," stays true to the style previously shown on the band's EP: crunching distortion-soaked guitar riffs, high-in-the-mix percussion work, and rage-infused lead vocals. Songs such as "Heroic Dose" show Newsted taking on a sound similar to that of early Megadeth and Kreator, and "Above All" has the band dropping the hammer on the pace and embracing some unignorable Motorhead influences. Just in case you didn't pick up the band's original EP, Newsted revisits two of the songs on that four song release, "Soldierhead" and "King of the Underdogs," and runs through them again with recently appointed guitarist Mike Mushok. The album title could not be a more proper and accurate representation of what's in store, and after listening to the entire album I have to say that Newsted continuously give a satisfying performance.
Lyrics — 8
I was admittedly a bit skeptical on how Jason Newsted's performance as a lead vocalist would carry out. Out of all the heavy metal groups that Jason has played in, we have never gotten the chance to hear his vocals. Up until this point fans have only been accustomed to his bass playing, which makes this an unknown factor. However after listening to Jason's work on "Heavy Metal Music," I am happily surprised. He is in all honesty a very good vocalist, and delivers enough snarl to his lyrical delivery to resemble that of Dave Mustaine, and at times Lemmy Kilmister. In fact it is Jason's vocal performance on this album that truly drives it over the top and beyond my preset expectations.
Overall Impression — 8
Newsted give a refreshingly enjoyable performance with "Heavy Metal Music"; a proud collection of eleven heart pounding guitar-driven metal anthems that should please any fan of front man Jason Newsted's earlier collaborations. Jason's lyrical delivery and overall sound is what truly drives this release above what I had previously expected. This is an album that comes highly recommended to any heavy metal listener, particularly fans of early Megadeth.