Flotsam And Jetsam - Flotsam And Jetsam

Flotsam And Jetsam cover
Flotsam And Jetsam
Flotsam And Jetsam
AFM Records
One has to give it to Flotsam & Jetsam for still doing what they do, a dozen albums in a well more than thirty-year career that seemed to peak too early and then get tangled in an almost endless stream of less than ideal successive albums that really didn’t manage to take the band onto the next level, despite their obvious talents. They have tried hard especially this side of the millennium but probably only “My God” and “The Cold” did measure up somewhat to the glory-days of their sophomore “classic” releases…
Given the exit of founding members Kelly David-Smith and Edward Carlson in 2014 and the return of Michael Spencer, an alumnus from the early days, who was preceded by an also returning Michael Gilbert a few years ago and the hiring of guitarist Steve Conley and drummer Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall and Toxik) to make up the numbers, the band might have enough “old” members to go on without too much of a doubt about what to call themselves, but a healthy amount of skepticism would have easily been due, since the band also decided to re-make their classic “No Place For Disgrace” a couple of years ago, a move that wouldn’t necessary bestow much faith about how inspired they might have been as of late…
Well Eric AK and his latest company seem to be on a relative roll on this one, with the band sounding quite rejuvenated after a somewhat “bad” patch. While Erik is not a youngster anymore and his voice has suffered a bit, the attitude is there, which is a quite important thing. Conley and Spencer have a good synergy, both melodic but edgy at the same time and Bittner has probably given the band more variation and attack on the drumming department… somewhat reminiscent of the somewhat forgotten but quite good “Dreams of Death from the mid-00s, which saw the band returning to a thrash foundation after their failed attempts at “groovy” metal that was “foreign” to them, this eponymous effort seems like a good summation of what the band is all about probably a healthy mix of Anthrax and mid “Judgment” era Metallica… I’d say…
“Seventh Seal” is a nice and ballsy opener that sets the right tone, while, “Life is a Mess” is a bit more streetwise, but not too bad, either.
“Taser” is also harder edged, but saved by the nice riffs and melodies that carry it…
“Iron Maiden” is not a cover, but sounds a bit like the Brits, if they were thrashing… haha. I guess a little like Iced Earth back when they were good.
“Verge of Tragedy” carries that over, but adds a touch of Metallica to the proceeding, however doesn’t get things 100% right.
“Creeper” is mostly rhythmical, but doesn’t quite do it for me.
“L.O.T.D.” is not dissimilar, but the riffs and melodies this time are more to the point and make it work.
“The Incantation” is an mystical sounding instrumental to “Monkey Wrench”, which is also not a cover, but someone should tell the band that their titles are not exactly the most inspired… it’s another muscular mid-tempo that works probably rather well, even if it’s a bit on the silly and repetitive side of things.
“Time to Go” is significantly better and reminiscent of the band’s past mixed with a bit of Annihilator, I guess, which works well for me…
“Smoking Gun” is also carried over by its nice riffs more than anything else… and last but not least “Forbidden Territories”, despite being the longest song on the album, manages to avoid repetition or boredom setting in, since it manages to vary things significantly.
Without being “excellent”, this eponymous effort is one of F&J’s most valiant and focused attempts in years and well worth checking out if you liked the band in the past.