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Flotsam And Jetsam - Flotsam And Jetsam review


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Band: Flotsam And Jetsam
Album: Flotsam And Jetsam
Style: Thrash metal
Release date: May 2016

01. Seventh Seal
02. Life Is A Mess
03. Taser
04. Iron Maiden
05. Verge Of Tragedy
06. Creeper
07. L.O.T.D.
08. The Incantation
09. Monkey Wrench
10. Time To Go
11. Smoking Gun
12. Forbidden Territories

If only this was released after No Place For Disgrace, history would be a lot different.

It's pretty much assumed that once you enter into the third decade of your career, there is nowhere to go except treading water or trampling on your legacy. As if to flip the finger to convention, Flotsam And Jetsam produce their best album since No Place For Disgrace, with Flotsam And Jetsam proving that if you're someone willing to write people off, prepare to have it thrown back in your face and then some.

Featuring some of the most vital and vibrant thrash metal not only from a band that had their heyday in the golden era for the genre in the 80's, but by any band across the whole decade of the 10's, Flotsam And Jetsam is a lightning strike moment. What the band lack in youth, they replace with maturity and experience; anyone can be a young up-and-comer but few can stick around long enough to become a veteran and use that accumulated wealth of experience to good use.

Sure, it is easy to say that much of the material on here is the best they have produced in decades as unfortunately Flotsam And Jetsam have long left fans wanting when it comes to new albums, but don't let that diminish the heights much of this album reaches; if the bar was a lot higher they could still clear it with ease. Even when measured against the classics of their past they hold their own admirably; if this album had replaced When The Storm Comes Down, I think the band's trajectory would have been far higher than it was.

Starting off with the restrained but no less powerful "Seventh Seal", you are lured in before noticing you are nearing the end of the album, such is the extent that you are engrossed by the material on offer. "Life Is A Mess", "Taser" and "L.O.T.D." give you your thrash fix, with the more experimental "Time To Go" and the lesson in class that is "Forbidden Territories" further elevating the record. The undisputed highlight however has to be "Iron Maiden", a song that will have you wailing like a cat when someone stands on its tail as you try to sing along to the infectious chorus.

Knutson may not have the same piercing wail of old, but he still has a voice that conveys emotion and power with ease. Rather than try to relive and fail to repeat what worked before, Knutson perfects what he has at his disposal, playing to his strengths rather than relying on nostalgia. Gilbert and Spencer must have been in suspended animation for the last few decades as they sound as strong as they were before; the tempos may not be as fast, but the intensity is still as strong. The quality of their playing serves to make each track a must listen, from the mid-paced banger "Monkey Wrench" (if you're disappointed it's not a Foo Fighters cover worry not, this is a killer track nonetheless) to the groovy "Smoking Gun" and "Creeper", the latter of which will have you doing a crap robot dance to its main riff.

Newcomer Bittner didn't last long; though he had a convincing CV before his brief stint with the band, he gets to add one hell of a commendation for his work on this album. His style and the brilliant little fills he peppers each song with add character and a twist to each track that will catch your ear and your admiration. The little triplets and rolls on "Smoking Gun", "Taser" and "L.O.T.D." go a long way in elevating these tracks.

The album isn't anything special when it comes to its production; it does what it needs to do, however, and just ensures everyone can be heard and has power behind them before letting the music do the talking. It isn't to say it is bad but it has no character to it; then again, with quality material like this, it renders that aspect redundant, as the music is more than capable of speaking for itself.

The only song that does drop the quality is "Verge Of Tragedy", which comes close to achieving what it sets out to do, being a slower but crushing track that adds variation and depth while tipping its hat to sounding like a mini epic. It isn't a bad song by any stretch and this type of song is a welcome addition, but one track had to be the weakest and it just falls on "Verge Of Tragedy" here.

To say this is recommended is an understatement; it should be mandatory listening for anyone interested in thrash metal in the 10's.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written on 06.08.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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