NEWST3D – Metal EP (2013)

Newstead-metal-ep-coverJason Newsted is the longest-serving bassist with Metallica – from 1986 before 1987’s the $5.98 EP until 2001 resigning just before the band entered the studio to record what would become St. Anger.

In addition to Metallica, he was also previously a member of Voivod, Flotsam & Jetsam and Echobrain amongst others before taking a seemingly indefinite break. Last month he announced his return to the music scene.

Apparently his desire to return to the music stage was ignited by his appearances performing with Metallica at their 30th Anniversary shows in late 2011. It is reported the reaction of fans and the buzz he felt caused him to go on to form the band Newsted (or stylistically NEWST3D) with Jesus Mendez Jr. and Jesse Farnsworth on drums and guitar. A few days ago the band released their first music, the Metal EP.

Featuring Jason on lead vocals, the four track EP is way better than I could have hoped. First track and single, ‘Soldierhead’ is an out-and-out rocker. True metal. A heavy and crashing intro starts the song off before it rams its way through the full four and a bit minutes.

Does it sound like Metallica? No. If anything, if I had to compare then I’d say Testament or even Megadeth(!?); the vocal definitely has slight tinges of Dave Mustaine in some parts. A great opening track.

Of course there are moments across the EP where it does sound like Metallica. It is only natural that his tenure influenced the Metallica releases between those years in addition to it also influencing what is recorded here. It’s hard not to draw comparisons with Metallica, but thankfully those comparisons are all positive.

There are moments of straight-ahead thrash metal a la Master of Puppets or …And Justice for All. And the laugh at the end of (current favourite track) ‘King of the Underdogs’ is very reminiscent of the end of ‘Master of Puppets’. Also around the four-minute mark ‘Godsnake’ has Load / Reload vibe in the trailing guitar style. But none of this is a bad thing at all.

I loved Jason in Metallica, and …And Justice for All is my favourite Metallica album. Sure, some argue you can’t hear his bass in the recording. But today, listening to this EP, it’s clear you can hear his input.

Across the EP the vocals are superb. There are some heavy parts but for the most part strong and clear. What doesn’t appear is the growl Jason had when singing ‘Whiplash’ live.

The real star though is the music itself. A welcome introduction to a new and original “classic” heavy metal band. Not pure thrash, not radio-friendly AOR-Rock, just the best heavy metal I’ve heard in a long time. The fact this comes from a new band excites me, especially given the pedigree of its creation. If this EP is just the start then I cannot wait for the album and tour / festival slots.

Buy this. Seriously, buy this!

Gareth Fraser
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