Watching Jason Newsted return to the world of heavy metal over the last few months has been unfeasibly heartening for those who thrilled to his relentless passion during his lengthy tenure in Metallica.
The title of his new band’s debut certainly tells us all we need to know about his intentions, but it is the sheer quality, not to mention intensity, of Heavy Metal Music that ensures that this comeback oozes credibility. Cramming four decades of balls-out heaviness into their sound, Newsted are making music for the diehards: uncompromising, intelligent and frequently electrifying.
The spirit of Metallica is tangible throughout, but the real reference points here are prime Ozzy-era Sabbath and, not entirely surprisingly, classic Voivod (the oddball thrash pioneers that Newsted helped to revive back in 2002). On the fiery likes of Soldierhead and King Of The Underdogs, huge, instantly memorable riffs collide with stirring vocal refrains and numerous moments of rhythmic trickery and shrewdly placed dissonance, resulting in an incendiary cocktail of muscular grooves, designed to delight and thrill the metallic faithful.
You either grasp what makes this music great or you don’t. Jason Newsted has metal flowing through his veins. Welcome back, captain.