BravePicks 2021 - FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's Blood In The Water #1
December 31, 2021, 3 weeks ago
Are you bracing for impact?! Here it is. Is it the world's worst kept secret? Maybe, because when we first heard the album earlier this year, we immediately thought "nothing will come close to Blood In The Water." And all the BraveWords scribes agreed. So let us present the BravePick #1 for 2021: Flotsam And Jetsam's Blood In The Water, which was released this past June.
Since 2016's self-titled monster, Flotsam And Jetsam have regrouped and been rejunivated. A band firing on all cylinders nearly 40 years into their career! About the follow-up to 2019's The End Of Chaos, frontman Eric "A.K." Knutson, told BraveWords scribe Carl Begai quite simply:
"Well, it's metal (laughs). It's kind of a cross between the mood that the world is in now because of the pandemic, and just wanting to make a metal record. Back when ...And Justice For All (Metallica) came out, or Holy Diver (Dio), I just remember being excited for a month just playing those songs over and over and over again. We really miss that feeling, so that's kind of what we went for with these songs."
"We feel like our whole career has been rehearsal for where we are now," Knutson added. "We never got to that spot where other bands that are the same age and same genre have gotten. We've been constantly going for 40 years. Not only are we still hungry - maybe even hungrier now than ever - it feels like it's our turn. We're really working our asses off to get that push. Every one of us. Over the course of our career we've had that rock star thing going on sometimes: 'The album is out, now it's the label's problem. And if they don't do a good job it's not our fault.' Well, it's also our fault if we don't help. It's my band. I've got to do everything I can to get this album to as many people as I can."
Read the entire BraveWords feature with "A.K." here.
So what is next? Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! Watch for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2022? and Metal Predictions For 2022. All will be rolled as we are greeted by 2022!
BraveWords wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year!
1) FLOTSAM AND JETSAM – Blood In The Water (AFM)
“Metal” Tim Henderson praised the album in his review:
It’s quite inconceivable to imagine that Flotsam And Jetsam have created yet another work of art, that sees them continue with the same playbook, as displayed by the way Blood In The Water kicks off with the title track’s epic introduction, until drummer Ken Mary takes matters into his own hands with a dizzying hands and feet display. “Burn The Sky” and “Brace For Impact” follow with the same ferocity and breathtaking emotion, the latter, one of the band’s shining moments of catchy glory, as Gilbert and Conley duel it out. Are you ready to “brace for impact”? You better. But this is the world these Arizonians thrive in. Upbeat, borderline speed metal with searing harmonious leads and a set of lungs that is one of the greatest in heavy metal history. Hell, rock history; A.K. is that much of an (un)holy grail when it comes to voices.
Despite the fact that this album is aggressive, there are two well-positioned breathing spaces, that will most definitely turn heads. “Walls” purposely takes a stab at rhythmic riffery, Ozzy’s glorious but sadly overshadowed Jake E. Lee-era springs to mind (“Waiting For Darkness” and “Shot In The Dark” moments echo wildly), possibly the most commercial Flotsam track in ages. And this is where you can feel A.K. is in the zone, totally thrives on those uplifting chorus lines that strike like a powerful gust of wind hitting a ship’s sail. Emotions in motion.
“Cry For The Dead” is an epic that ranks with some of the band’s finest, easily nodding at the Doomsday/No Place era for comfort, complete with the chorus “I can’t live without the ones I love/need”, particularly striking given the current lockdown measures the entire world has been facing. The song is a fine example of how Flots have truly honed the gift of creating memorable music that will dance in your head for days.
BravePicks 2021 Top 30
1) FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - Blood In The Water (AFM)
2) CANNIBAL CORPSE - Violence Unimagined (Metal Blade)
3) HYPOCRISY - Worship (Nuclear Blast)
4) DIRTY HONEY - Dirty Honey (Dirt)
5) AT THE GATES - The Nightmare Of Being (Century Media)
6) ACCEPT - Too Mean To Die (Nuclear Blast)
7) CARCASS - Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast)
8) HELLOWEEN - Helloween (Nuclear Blast)
9) MASTODON - Hushed And Grim (Reprise)
10) BEWITCHER - Cursed Be Thy Kingdom (Century Media)
11) TRIBULATION - Where The Gloom Becomes Sound (Metal Blade)
12) SABER - Without Warning (Church Recordings)
13) EXODUS - Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast)
14) BAEST - Necro Sapiens (Century Media)
15 EINHERJER - North Star (Napalm)
16) BUCKCHERRY - Hellbound (Round Hill)
17) KHEMMIS - Deceiver (Nuclear Blast)
18) DEE SNIDER - Leave A Scar (Napalm)
19) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - Doom Crew Inc. (eOne)
20) GOJIRA - Fortitude (Roadrunner)
21) BLAZE BAYLEY - War Within Me (Blaze Bayley Recordings)
22) KONQUEST - The Night Goes On (Iron Oxide)
23) IRON MAIDEN - Senjutsu (Parlophone)
24) CRADLE OF FILTH - Existence Of Futile (Nuclear Blast)
25) DANKO JONES - Power Trio (Bad Taste)
26) DARKTHRONE - Eternal Hails (Peaceville)
27) SMITH/KOTZEN – Smith/Kotzen (BMG)
28) TODD LA TORRE - Rejoice In The Suffering (Rat Pak)
29) KK’S PRIEST – Sermons Of The Sinner (EX1)
30) ASPHYX - Necroceros (Century Media)