Newsted: Heavy Metal Music

Solo debut from former Metallica bass ace

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When Jason Newsted walked out of his favourite band in 2001, he did so with his head held high, his integrity intact and a paucity of songwriting credits that verged on the insulting. Ironically, following a decade spent playing with everyone from Voivod to DJ Shadow, it was Newsted’s old comrades who inspired the bassist to make his first official solo album, with his nightly guest spots at Metallica’s 30th-anniversary shows in San Francisco reigniting the 50-year-old’s love of old-school metal.

Even more ironically, the album is better than anything Metallica have recorded since his departure. The metal community has always held considerable reserves of goodwill for Newsted, not least because of the shabby treatment he received from his former colleagues, but his return requires no sympathy votes.

Heavy Metal Music – and what a fabulously unequivocal title that is – is a clenched fist of a record: 11 tightly wound songs that thump and pummel to devastating effect. From the rolling Clutch-meets-Baroness grooves of Ampossible to the snarling defiance of King Of The Underdogs – a track James Hetfield would surely kill to sing – this is precision-tooled metal for the head, heart and soul. Welcome back, New Kid.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.