FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

"Flotsam and Jetsam" (AFM Records; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Every time I get a new Flotsam and Jetsam album I tend to set it aside, promising myself I'll get back to it and sometimes never doing so. The problem is all mine. For whatever reason, I lump Flotsam and Jetsam with other, to-remain-unnamed bands that are more pop metal than heavy metal and I often don't get excited about those releases.

Finally, however, I get around to listening to the album and I remember, goddamn, these guys are fast and heavy. Flotsam and Jetsam aren't a pop metal band, they're a kick-ass thrash band.

Once again, that's what happened with the band's new self-titled album. I popped in the CD, fully expecting eight tracks of radio-friendly metal and a couple of hard rock ballads. The instant the music started though -- with the track "Seventh Seal" -- I thought, "Oh, yeah, these guys," and turned the volume way up.

Flotsam and Jetsam have been through a bunch of personnel changes over the years but I'm not even going to address that here. I'm just going to tell you that "Flotsam and Jetsam," the album,  is fast, furious and everything you've come to expect from the band. The vocals are strong and amazing, the guitars just flying along, and the rhythm racing. The songwriting is tight and varied and there isn't a bad track on the CD.

There are a couple of tracks that bear mentioning: "L.O.T.D." is a driving pure-as-black-snow thrash tune, "Monkey Wrench" has a bouncy riff that draws you in from the first note, and the opening track, "Seventh Seal," sets the pace for the entire CD.

Particularly worth noting is the track "Iron Maiden," a tribute to the legendary metal band of the same name. It's not a cover song but a tune written and performed in the style of Iron Maiden. If someone played this for you at a party, and asked you to identify the band, the first thing you'd say would be "Iron Maiden," even though there are, obviously, some Flotsam and Jetsam attributes here, too. Very well-done indeed.

Overall, "Flotsam and Jetsam" is a reminder that good thrash is far from dead and, for me at least, that Flotsam and Jetsam aren't some silly pop metal band.

Flotsam and Jetsam Official Web Site: http://www.flotsam-and-jetsam.com.

"My God" (Metal Blade Records; 2001)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

"My God" is a pretty cool album.  It is traditional thrash metal coming from a band that has been around more than 15 years now.  The best bit of advice I can give is that it is much better than "Unnatural Selection" but is still nowhere near (not that you would expect it to be) their legendary "No Place for Disgrace." With the musical chair type lineup that is F&J, "My God" sounds like the present line-up has settled in and ended up with an album comfortably theirs.

Through and through "My God" is a solid thrash album.  The opening track "Dig Me Up to Bury Me" drives the idea that F&J have been around for a while - it was total old school thrash metal.  It could have easily been written and recorded like 15 years ago and I wouldn't have been any the wiser.

"Weather to Do" was an astounding track that has so much dimension and feeling to it musically that I could not help but put it on repeat.  As a matter of fact, when I now put the album in, that's usually the first track I skip to, followed by the melodic "I.A.M.H."

The power metal sound via blistering guitars was felt throughout the album most notably in title track "My God" and "Frustrate."

"My God" downright comes across as an intelligently written and performed album seasoned with experience and experimentation - everything that you would want in a band's eighth album.  If you are a F&J fan this album will delight you ...  if you are not, at the least it will help you to respect and appreciate how they have been able to endure and continue making solid music for close to a couple of decades. 

And, by the way, keep listening after the end of final track "I.A.M.H."- something extra comes in around the 8:35 mark.

Flotsam and Jetsam is: Eric A.K. (V), Mark Simpson (G), Jason Ward (B), Craig Neilsen (D), and Ed Carlson (G).

Flotsam and Jetsam Official Web Site: http://www.flotsam-and-jetsam.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 

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Copyright 2016 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Mar 2017 12:56:13 -0500 .