Though he made his biggest splash during his tenure as the bassist for Metallica, Jason Newsted has been a ubiquitous metal sideman, playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne and Voivod. At the helm of Newsted, his eponymous solo project, he finally gets to take center stage with his aptly titled full-length debut, Heavy Metal Music. Armed with a massive collection of riffs and a growl that sounds a bit like former bandmate James Hetfield, Newsted comes bursting out of the gate with an album that makes good on the simple premise put forward by its title with a collection of songs that feels like classic meat-and-potatoes heavy metal. There are no attempts here to reinvent the genre or reshape the way you look at music. Instead, the album just offers up a heaping pile of midtempo heaviness that harkens back to Metallica's middle years. The problem is, that era kind of represents the beginning of the end of his former band's reign as thrash's greatest champions, and Heavy Metal Music feels kind of tired as a result. While certainly heavy, the midtempo sound the band operates in isn't quite slow enough to be monolithic, and isn't fast enough to really dazzle, so while it is competently executed, it lacks any kind of visceral punch. This makes the album's title of Heavy Metal Music a bit of a double-edged sword, because while it definitely delivers metal, it feels like a generic placeholder while the band waits for something better to come along.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney