Damn, Flotsam and Jetsam are on a hot streak! These Arizonian thrash / power /speed metal veterans have been releasing consistent and high quality material since 2016’s self-titled 12th album reawakened them from their apparent slumber….and they’ve not looked back since!
Bracing for the impact of these bruising, high-energy, thrash/speed freak-outs is pointless as Flotsam and Jetsam are operating at kill-level intensity here and if you enjoyed Flotsam and Jetsam (2016) and The End Of Chaos (2019) – and if you didn’t, you’re in dire need of immediate medical attention – Blood In The Water completes one hell of a latter day trilogy.
Just like Overkill, this album proves you CAN do what you did 35 years ago and still have it sound fresh and frantic! There’s certainly no useless or discarded objects to be found bobbing around Blood In The Water’s 53 min run time, with the album proving to be a distillation of 35+ years of hard graft and experience into one ass-kicking album.
In fact, not since 1988’s No Place For Disgrace have the band sounded as vibrant as they do on Blood In The Water’s opening 4 tracks. The title track removes teeth just for fun, “Burn The Sky” should already be familiar as the first single released and has lost none of its appeal and both “Brace for Impact” and “A Place To Die” maintain both the ferocity and the 100 % hit rate. Left breathless, you’ll be wondering how these old-timers (sorry) are maintaining the pace and fortunately (for them and us), respite is offered via “Walls” and “Cry For The Dead”, tracks that are as old-school Iron Maiden as they come (not a complaint, Iron Maiden would collectively give their left nut for these cracking tracks). Making jokes at the expense of Flotsam and Jetsam’s combined age is, of course, disrespectful and it’s abundantly clear that this is a band with plenty left in the tank and the songs to maintain the momentum.
While the quality tails off a little at just past the midway point – “The Wicked Hour” and “Too Many Lives” aren’t quite up to muster – but “7 Seconds” is an apocalyptic closer which heralds the end of days and finishes the album on a cataclysmic note – you can practically feel the fires raging as Flotsam and Jetsam threaten to go thermo-nuclear with a performance that, again, defies their years.
These undisputed masters of soaring, chest-beating, power-thrash are showing no signs of slowing down and it’s a thrill to hear a band this deep into their career still sound so vital and so clinically effective. So, go ahead and file Blood In The Water next to Artillery’s X in your ‘must-hear power/thrash collection of 2021’, as these stalwarts of the scene have both delivered supreme slices of high-class, high-calibre, highly melodic entertainment for old and new fans alike.
Flotz ‘till fuckin’ death indeed! 8/10