FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - Flotsam And Jetsam
May 19, 2016, 2 years ago
During one of our BW&BK 6-Pack Weekends years back in Cleveland, Ohio, I had the honour of introducing these thrash legends onto the stage saying that they were the most under-rated metal band on the planet. And it still rings true today. And call me their ultimate groupie, following every step of their journey with curiosity and of course being fulfilled by their catalog of over-the-top, emotionally powered heavy metal. And there is much more depth and history than their first two albums, which most gravitate to. But this, their 12th opus, ranks easily as one of their finest, seeing mainstays Eric “AK” Knutson (vocals) and Michael Gilbert (guitars) joined by former Shadows Fall skinsman Jason Bittner, relative newcomer Steve Conley (guitars) and returning bassist Michael Spencer.
We all know the very short list of singers that wear a treasured crown and AK easily fits into this elite grouping, his voice full of boisterous energy and concise delivery, even 30 years since Doomsday For The Deceiver!
Every Flots song is a fist-fight in a dark alley. Not that the band are ugly pugilists, but the punchy vibe that’s created is akin to a Rocky film. Flotsam And Jetsam is full of piss and vinegar, vivacious highs, stirring lows, like a good metal record should be! And no matter what their age is, they can literally pound the shit out of any competition, cuz Flotsam And Jetsam (the album) is that exceptional!
Just jump to “Forbidden Territories”, the top-notch track here, flowing epic-thrash genius taking you back to No Place For Disgrace, the logical follow-up to one of the band’s most treasured songs and albums. Bittner leads the charge with an insane drum-march and when Spencer kicks in with the bass intro I couldn’t help to think that Jason Newsted must be missing his old bandmates.
But this ain’t a repeat. It’s called growth, which most bands can’t relate to. Flotsam And Jetsam have that rare ability to grow with every record. And it’s a damn shame that many metalheads haven’t the ability or the stamina to live and breath with them. You lose. This is where you want/need to be if you love, live and die for for heavy music. So call Flotsam And Jetsam the convert record and get with the program.
Some say that a Flots records dies out after the first few songs, but be wary mutha-fucka, this monster refuses to let up. Prior to “Forbidden…,” we see a nasty three-piece of gems, namely “Monkey Wrench”, “Time To Go” and “Smoking Gun”, a gutsy trio of harmony, melody and speed metal genius.
And as stated, AK’s voice is just a beautiful addition to the metal community, balancing the most potent set of lungs with a far-reaching aggressiveness. And Bittner is a tough act to air-drum to, as he just beats the hell out of each song on the album.
“Life Is A Mess’ and “Taser” are so pit-friendly, cranium crunching and mesmerizing, the latter containing that Maiden-esque soccer chant we all know and love. Brilliant. And “Seventh Seal“ and “Creeper” are juggernauts of immense proportions, songs that won’t let go of your throat as you gasp for air, empty air that is! True Flots gems.
Closer “Verge Of Tragedy” hits a nerve given my recent loss of our mascot Hendrix, but this is the power of Flotsam And Jetsam, stirring up a bunch of emotions to aid the healing process of any life-change. And the band does not get enough credit for their lyrics, thought-provoking and utterly poetic. And with every moment, they are tight, tight, tight. That’s what a classy resume will get you and a ton of miles on the engine! Yeah, it’s only May, but this is the record to beat thus far in 2016. Lars, James are you paying attention to your former bassist’s former band? This is a record we’d all like Metallica to make.