CD reviews: New from Sam Concepcion, Jason Newsted
Actor-singer Sam Concepcion displays two sides of his thespian ability on his newest album. The front cover sees the hunk in him ready for fun and games. On the back cover, Concepcion poses in a formal get-up fit for a ball or a gala performance.
A dual personality also performs on “Infinite” which is a 10-song collection of dance-friendly tunes and ballads. An added dimension is the periodic raps that color both fast and slow songs in the present tense.
There’s nothing really earth-shaking about the album. What it essentially does is puncture his teenybopper image and present a mature Concepcion armed with enough smarts to act his age.
“Infinite” opens with “No Limitations” where Concepcion does fine, working out a familiar rhythm flow associated with the house of Jennifer Lopez. The stutter in the remake of FYC’s “She Drives Me Crazy” is a cool, if loony quirk and there’s a Gloc-9 efficiency to the rap on “Di Ka Nag-iisa” providing a neat counterpoint to Concepcion’s ode to friendship. The prog-pop ambience of “”Rescue You” is likewise a delightful turn.
The title may sound like a shameless praise to the talents of Sam Concepcion. As a musical package however, the record shows he can be more than a two-trick pony.
"Heavy Metal Music"
Jason Newsted left Metallica 15 years ago and it’s a complete puzzle why it has taken him that long to produce his solo debut.
Granted, while with Metallica, Newsted played behind his more celebrated associates, but as someone who stuck with his mates through lean and boom times, he must have built up the inner courage to strike out on his own a lot sooner than one-and-a-half decades later.
He could have learned from the exploits of Dave Mustaine who bolted Metallica in the mid-'80s then went off on his own and hit instant paydirt.
On his debut album, Newsted stands at the crossroads of punk and metal, a hard rock mutation that first stalked the margins of rock in the waning years of ‘80s new wave.
His "heavy metal" agenda starts off to a frantic “Heroic Dose,” which ties in the double kick drum blast of hardcore with the chugging locomotive of blues-derived hard rock. “Soldierhead” won’t be out of place in the death-defying thrash of "Ride The Lightning," while “Skyscraper” plays footsie with the darker aspects of Finnish metal.
With "Heavy Metal Music," Newsted shouldn’t expect a quick payoff. His name alone won’t carry much cred among today’s kids and the album title would hardly stand out in a scene that celebrates death and decay in extreme metal or violence and war in metal punk.
The music is competently heavy as the album title proclaims. What’s missing is the promise of the “new” in the group’s namesake.
"The NextWave Sessions"
Recent Manila visitors release a prelude EP to their fourth proper album and the four-man Brit pop band gives their electro-pop fixation some rest. The jagged guitars and frenetic backbeat are still on the latest record but the overall trajectory appears to be extending their basic sound to other spheres of indie rock.
A first for the band is a gentle-sounding ballad in “Obscene.” Despite its chill-out almost placid atmosphere, shoe-gazey synths and Okereke’s unconventional singing place a sense of dread to the session. “Montreal” is another slow starter though it hardly goes for volume or lo-fi stupor in the end.
Bloc Party are surely dropping hints of surprises to come in a forthcoming blockbuster.