Flash forward to 2013! Speaking of, this is my first review from 2013. Let's move forward. After Jason left Metallica, he bounced around and was basically semi-retired. After the Metallica 30th Anniversary concerts, he decided it was time to get the ball rolling again and that brings us to the "Metal EP" by Newsted, exclusively on iTunes.
I suppose I should point out that this is literally the first time I've purchased an "album" on MP3..I don't like it. At least iTunes allows me to always have this in case my iPhone or PC blows up.
Their first release is a four song EP, simply called Metal Ep. I'm delighted to say that Jason's vocals have greatly improved from the Live Shit: Binge and Purge boxed set in the early nineties. He has developed a very nice metal growl, but not cookie monster. There's some very nice emotion being conveyed here. He also has a bit more vocal range than it may seem like. Imagine a Fear Factory type vocal dimension, but not nearly to the same extremes.
This power trio is very tight on these songs. There are some very nice stutter step riffs. As the bass player is the leader of the project, one could hazard a guess that the bass is the man instrument in the riffs. The bass playing is very strong. It's really been a long time since I've heard Jason really jam it out. I had forgotten how much I loved his playing. Since he's singing, it's easier to gloss over his playing than I would like it to be, but I really think he's one of the best players with a pick in the world.
Jessie Farnsworth kicks out some nice lead breaks that are emotive and well phrased without shredding. Nice bluesy solos. The drums are locked into the bass and this whole enterprise is heavy. Ten pound hammer heavy.
At only $4 for this EP on iTunes, how can you really go wrong? It's great to have Jason Newsted back in the metal world and "The Metal EP" is a great introduction to his new band. There really isn't anything here to complain about other than the fact I couldn't buy an actual CD.
UPDATE 1/15/13: The Metal EP is no longer an iTunes Exclusive and can be purchased HERE.
Run time: 22:08
3) King of the Underdogs