Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Newsted: Metal

It has been a popular source of debate among fans that Metallica may have sounded differently had they allowed bassist Jason Newsted more creative input when he joined the band.  ...And Justice for All worked out fine, other than the fact that the bass could not be heard very well.  But from that point on, Metallica began a full-court press towards mainstream popularity.  Newsted received a few songwriting credits here and there, but overall did not have a lot of input.  That was a large reason behind his eventual leaving of the band.  He then joined Voivod for a couple of albums then just bounced around a bit with his own projects.

Well here we have Jason Newsted's new band, oddly enough called Newsted.  On this short EP, Newsted, the person not the band, performs the vocals and bass work.  He has brought in a couple of other individuals to play guitar and drums.  Newsted also writes all of the songs.

This is undoubtedly heavier than much of Metallica's recent output, sounding closest to a mix between later era Pantera and Death Magnetic-era Metallica.  It is not quite what fans debated that Metallica could have sounded like if Newsted had more control.  It is not a full-blown thrash metal EP.  Instead it settles somewhere on the border between groove and thrash metal with mostly mid-paced, crunching riffs.

Newsted's bass is of course very apparent throughout the EP.  His vocals are decent, but not really anything to get very excited about.  I always liked him fairly well as a backup vocalist and that is probably where his vocals would be best-served.  The only real issue I have with this EP is that the songs are somewhat lengthy. This has been a problem for Metallica in recent years as well, so it is not horribly shocking that three of the four songs are more than five minutes in length.

It is impossible to talk about this EP without a lengthy discussion of Metallica as well.  I do think this is a pretty decent starting point for Newsted to become recognized more for his own individual talents than his work as part of a cohesive unit.  There is some decent stuff here.  I look forward to more.

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