MARCH 27th 2013
NEWSTED: METAL

Review by Ruben Mosqueda

Jason Newsted has been laying low for a few years since his stint with Voivod came to an end in 2009. It’s hard to believe that Newsted is 50 years old—it’s even harder to believe that his new project Newsted is more ‘metal’ than the band that he quit in 2001—Metallica. Since his departure from the mighty Metallica Newsted has been under the radar at times but he has managed to issue music via bands; Echo Brain, IR8, and as mentioned Canadian progressive metal cult act Voivod. Newted in an ironic twist of fate wound up playing bass in Ozzy Osbourne’s band filling the slot left vacant by Robert Trujillo who took Newsted’s spot in Metallica. How’s that for incestuous? Newsted also took part in Whocares with Tony Iommi and Ian Gillian, which was a brilliant. On the other hands let’s not forget the titanic musical train wreck that was Rock Star Supernova. Newsted has been creatively prolific--albeit ‘spotty’ with his musical output

This brings us to Newsted’s new project simply titled ‘Newsted.’ Their newly issued EP is titled ‘Metal’ Newsted is very much a metal act. There are those that will complain that it’s not a completely ‘old school’ and that Jason Newsted doesn’t have a strong enough voice to handle lead vocals—both which are accurate.  In defense of Newsted-- his vocals are much improved from his days of laying down background vocals in Metallica. Can he carry a tune? Absolutely. No question. Can he stretch his vocal chords to Halford heights? No. However this music doesn’t require that kind of singer.

Newsted is a hybrid of doom, thrash and modern metal. The songs are groove oriented—no surprise since there Newsted is a bass player by trade.  The choruses are catchy, simple, they burrow their way into your psyche and once there you’re hooked. Newsted recorded ‘Metal’ as a three piece with Jason Newsted handling lead vocals, bass, guitars, Jesus Mendez Jr. playing drums and percussion and Jessie Farnsworth share bass and guitar duties with Jason. Newsted will be hitting the road soon and they have announced that they added Staind guitarist Mike Mushok for the tour. Who knows if this will gather momentum and grow into a bigger thing but if the tracks; “Soldierhead,” “Godsnake,” “King of the Underdogs,” and “Skyscraper” give an indication of what Jason Newsted and company are capable of watch out—the gauntlet has been thrown.