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April 15, 2024

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Papa Wheelie
Live Lycanthropy (Chophouse Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

Jason Newsted was known for making fairly heavy music in a band called Flotsam & Jetsam several years ago, themselves, a step beneath the popularized Thrash Metal of the time from the reigning "Big 4," and fast forward some eighteen or twenty years later, Newsted's about two years removed from the mighty Metallica -- one of those Big 4 originals, hard to imagine as it is today -- and what ya got here is a decade old keg that's finally been tapped. Not only is he making some of the most eclectically extreme heavy music going, he's flying all over the map here. Anyone who missed the IR8 vs. Sexoturica project released a few months ago, missed out on some brutally heavy shit that threw back to yesterday's vintage Thrash scene and today's more Death-core moments. Papa Wheelie sounds something like a rumbling battle tank, blown speakers, and prisoners on parade-- and that only goes for what's listenable. If you are familiar with the former project, you also know that Mr. Newsted's first job wasn't behind the mic. His is a perfectly normal speaking voice that gurgles blood once you plug him in, and we're talking on the far side of warbled where "death" vox are concerned, though relief can be found on two of the album's ten tracks. Newsted's joined by two guys named Ledesma and Wiig, forming an impromptu trio that by their own admission, just "turn up the amps and let it rip." "Live Lycanthropy" is just that, a live in the studio jam session that reaches nearly dysfunctional proportions, which only add to its sincerity. The music's off in so many directions with Newsted going apeshit on the guitar neck and running riffs and scales like he'd either been doing 'em all his life or never picked up a guitar before! So what we got are ten (stay tuned) Stoner, Doom, and Death cuts that reach back once and again to the adversarial aggression of crusty Punk and Hard Core, and fit no particular parameters except with respect to distortion and raw. Track five, "The Telephone Song" and its "electric funeralized" style of slo-burn takes top honors here along with its antsy Kyuss-like follow up "Fireface" and the Punk fueled burner, "Sink Like Stone" that's so damned good it'll probably turn up on the next Motorhead record! Papa Wheelie was conceived to be a spur of the moment act of shred and spontaneity recorded for a one time only jam session and apparent special gift for the eight or twelve in witness. The end result can be heard stretching the limits of audibility to its very last fibers and if you can imagine a combination of early Clutch, Goatsnake, Soilent Green, and Hellhammer's "Apocalyptic Raids," you'll dig the indignant dynamics presented here while waiting for the final blow to come.
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