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FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Flotsam And Jetsam

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 @ 1:31 PM


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FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
Flotsam And Jetsam

2016 AFM Records




FLOTSAM AND JETSAM have always been underdogs in the American thrash metal scene. Many metalheads don’t even know this band. If you are a metalhead, you should know about this band, and not just that Jason Newsted was in the band at one time. They have been around for over 30 years; F&J is truly a band that has stood the test of time.

There have been some lineup changes since 2012’s Ugly Noise. (I do not count the unnecessary re-recording of No Place For Disgrace in 2014). So who’s in the band now? Remaining are Eric A.K. (vocals) and Michael Gilbert (guitar), who are joined by Michael Spencer, the original replacement for bassist Jason Newsted. He left the band in 1987 and was eventually replaced by Troy Gregory, but has now returned to the band. New members include Steve Conley (F5) on guitar and Jason Bittner (SHADOWS FALL) on drums.

“Seventh Seal” is a fantastic lead-off song. The crushing rhythm and lyrics based on the book of Revelation combine to render a classic F&J track. “Life Is A Mess” deals with stresses in life and… mosh pits. “One day we will all be in a better place, and the next we’ll all be dead.” “Taser” is another dose of aggression, and features a furious tempo. First single “Iron Maiden” is one of the best tracks on the album. Musically, the song is a total tribute to the band IRON MAIDEN, with galloping drums and harmony guitars and a fantastic solo section. Lyrically, it is about the torture device IRON MAIDEN got their name from. Zombie/undead-themed “L.O.T.D.” is another of the stronger songs on the album, and reminds me a little of the style of When The Storm Comes Down (1990). “Smoking Gun” feels like it has a little of the flavor of the album Drift (1995). Eric sings “I can feel it down in my bones, baby…it hurt me, I let it take me down” on this song. Some other favorites from this album are “Creeper” (featuring a killer groove), “Monkey Wrench” and “Time To Go”. There are 12 songs at a total time of about an hour.

One thing that sets F&J apart from the pack is the nearly palpable tension dripping from Eric’s vocals. Eric is the spark plug that drives this band, and when he’s on fire like he is here, the entire band benefits. Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley gel perfectly on guitar. This team has a good thing going, and there is a lot of nice shredding on the album. Michael Spencer’s bass work is amazing, and this is a nice contribution by him as well. The MVP award goes to Jason Bittner, whose drumming performance on this album is simply inspired. His drums are high in the mix, where they definitely deserve to be. The production and mix of the album is noteworthy as well; it sounds amazing.

I feel like this is the perfect time for F&J to release a self-titled album, because this album finds the band re-inventing themselves more or less. Now that they are on AFM Records, there will be higher expectations. No need to worry; with this new offering of twelve songs, F&J have created one of their strongest albums in their entire career. It doesn’t suffer from the inconsistencies that seemed to affect the last few F&J albums. Again, this album is incredibly good, and I am impressed and happy for FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. This album is among my favorites so far this year. Great work!

Flotsam And Jetsam will be released on May 20th via AFM Records and will be available as a digipak, limited gold and black vinyl, and limited edition box set.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

Pre-order your copy of Flotsam And Jetsam in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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