Something Else! sneak peek: Jason Newsted, “Soldierhead” (2013)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAqdCUkxHJ4&w=500&h=305]

A few weeks ago former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, who has been fairly quiet since his departure from Voivod, suddenly popped up with a new website and some teasers to new music coming.

Metal, a four-song EP due in January, promises by the name alone a return to the heavier style that he often said he favored while Metallica was recording less metallic albums, and the first taste of that EP, “Soldierhead,” seems to back that up.

This track is a slab of pure 1980s classic thrash. In the early going, there are some definite nods to Kill Em All-era Metallica. When Newsted’s vocals kick in, he reminds me a lot of Testament’s Chuck Billy, and the song takes on a flavor of that band’s early work. You’ll also hear some hints of Newsted’s first band Flotsam and Jetsam, as well as maybe a trace of Voivod here and there. It’s a song that pretty much wraps up most of the stuff that Newsted has done (at least in the metal arena) in a nice little retro package.

I’ll admit that I always thought Newsted got a bit of a bad deal in Metallica, having to fill the shoes of revered bassist Cliff Burton. There was a certain contingent of fans that never truly embraced him, and if we’re to believe the band’s own soap opera-like documentary, they really never did either.

Of course, Newsted hasn’t really helped himself since leaving the band with some of the choices that he’s made (Rock Star Supernova, anyone?) But he’s done some writing with Flotsam and Jetsam for their upcoming album Ugly Noise, and this song is really good. He’s got my attention again. Let’s hope he holds it with Metal.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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