If you can get past some idiotic song titles (‘Futureality’or ‘Kindevillusion’… umm, cool story Jase) you get exactly what’s scratched into the tin. Mid-paced, brews ‘n’ burgers heavy metal. It would stir attention for opening slots yet it’s nowhere near enough to propel them into mega Metalli-stardom.

Long-suffering in the name of metal, Jason Newsted is heavy metal’s understudy. Stepping into Cliff Burton’s (RIP) near-unfillable void in 1986, he’s been a second choice for slapping sure and steady low-end ever since. He’s done stints for Ozzy Osbourne, for Canadian weirdo-thrashers Voivod and supergroup WhoCares. Despite sharing stages with the top tier, he’s wound up a B-lister in listeners’, and the industry’s, minds.

‘Heroic Dose’throbs with stomping Bay Area thrash, Newsted’s voice the raspy product of tutelage under James Hetfield. As is expected, the bass towers over all. It takes the helm in ‘Soldierhead’, another thrasher punched out by a Metallica-shaped mould. ‘…As The Crow Flies’ throttles past like bitumen burning road hogs, stirring up And Justice For All memories. It gets a bit tired at this point.

Inexplicably Jason and co. head down South for the insipidly-titled ‘Ampossible’,stringing bluesy, chicken-fried licks across metallic thump like Zakk Wylde or Rich Ward just might. ‘Nocturnus’heralds the return of an all-conquering Black Sabbathy doom riff joined by plaintive Osbourne-style wail. Newsted tries his hand at desert rock on ‘Above All’, a rocker Dave Mustaine might’ve Risked. ‘King Of The Underdogs’unremarkably captures the spirit of ’80s arena thrash, prior to channelling classic Blackmore/Gillan heavy blues, buzzing in ‘Twisted Tail Of The Comet’.

2.5/5 stars


Heavy Metal Music is out now through Sony Music.

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