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The 5 Essential FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Albums

These vanguards of American thrash need no introduction and with 14 studio albums (no, we’re not including No Place For Disgrace 2014) over an incredible 40 year career to choose from, we had a hard time whittling ’em down to, what we believe to be, Flotsam And Jetsam‘s 5 essential albums….

5. Dreams Of Death (2005)

This one will undoubtedly prove controversial but we maintain that 2005’s Dreams Of Death is an essential Flotz album….so in it goes!

Heavier, gloomier, doomier even (at least in tone) than virtually any other album in their arsenal, Flotsam And Jetsam were evidently in a maudlin mood back in 2005. Admittedly, it’s not entirely clear who they were aiming for – and this album no doubt split fans down the middle upon release – but we firmly believe Dreams Of Death has grown in stature over the years and while we are huge fans of Cuatro, Drift, The Cold etc, it’s this album we find ourselves returning to more.

Why? The tunes man, the tunes!

“Bleed” was the big ball-busting semi-ballad that ably avoided overt saccharine via a palatable sentimentality that worked in its favour while “Look In His Eyes” hit the chug muthaload. On the other hand, “Childhood Hero” may have started slow but it sure as hell builds into another often unsung Flotz classic that channelled Marillion and Queensrÿche before “Out Of Mind” (out of body?) rather ironically hit like a Forbidden cut but certainly ends the album with an epic bang!

4. Blood In The Water (2021)

Bracing for the impact of these bruising, high-energy, thrash/speed freak-outs was pointless as Flotsam and Jetsam were 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 completed one hell of a latter day trilogy. 

Just like the recent output from Overkill, this album proved you CAN do what you did 35 years ago and still have it sound fresh and frantic! There was 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 had the band sounded as vibrant as they did on Blood In The Water’s opening 4 tracks. The title track removed teeth just for fun, “Burn The Sky” should already have been familiar as the first single released and has lost none of its appeal and both “Brace for Impact” and “A Place To Die” maintained both the ferocity and the 100 % hit rate. 


3. The End Of Chaos (2019)

Kicking off with the high energy double-whammy of “Prisoner Of Time” and “Control”, it quickly became apparent that Erik A.K and the boys were not messing about on album number 13 and if delivering ballsy, melodic thrash of the highest order was their intention, they most certainly succeeded! It was also pretty damn clear that the guys had a ball making this album because, despite the sometimes morose nature of the lyrics, a life affirming energy coursed through the veins of this album that was practically second to none.

It’s worth noting that guitarists Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley were in particularly fine form throughout, unleashing a maelstrom of high-tempo thrash riffs and a flurry of intricate solos with gleeful abandon. In particular, songs such as the fiendishly catchy “Recover”, the energetic gallop of “Demolition Man” and the soaring crunch of “Survive” are designed to get neck muscles snapping and those horns raised high.

As indicated by its placing here, we’re not saying that The End Of Chaos is quite on the same level as 80’s milestones Doomsday For The Deceiver and No Place For Disgrace but, as modern thrash albums from a veteran band goes, this is exactly what you expect from musicians of this calibre!

2. Doomsday For The Deceiver (1986)

Flotsam And Jetsam – Doomsday For The Deceiver (2018, Cannabis Green  Marbled vinyl, Vinyl) - Discogs

One of the greatest thrash debuts known to man, Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Doomsday For The Deceiver led the world to believe that a new thrash superpower had arrived (not quite, unfortunately) with a collection of tunes both overwhelmingly powerful and expertly performed.

Taking the very best bits of speed metal, power metal and thrash metal and perfecting them amongst a flurry of cranking bass, warp-speed riffs and Erik A.K’s formidable pipes, the likes of the feral “Hammerhead”, the intense “Iron Tears” and the epic ability of the exquisite title track mark out Doomsday For The Deceiver as an undisputed all-time thrash classic.

Many will recall the rarely used 6K mark awarded by Kerrang back in ’86 but that does this legendary release a disservice…this one truly does go up to 11!

No Place For Disgrace (1988)

No Place for Disgrace by Flotsam and Jetsam on Apple Music

Following up debut album and instant classic Doomsday For The Deceiver was never going to be an easy task for the then Jason Newsted-less Flotsam and Jetsam. So what did they do? They knocked it out of the fucking park, that’s what they did!

Embracing a sound that was ever more melodic but still laced with grit and crunch, Flotsam and Jetsam didn’t try to one-up their corrosive debut, instead they simply finessed their sound and emerged as a more confident band; one with a shit ton of quality songs in their arsenal. Seeking to push thrash away from mindless violence into ever more expansive realms, Flotsam’s welcome addition of more melodic riffs – alongside Eric A.K. Knutson’s falsetto screams and altogether more varied range – resulted in an album that was epic in scope while still hitting that thrash sweet spot.

While a few harder cuts – such as “Hard On You” and “I Live, You Die” – had the ability to nail you to the wall, it was Flotsam’s more considered and balanced moments that left a long and lasting impression. Check out the magisterial beauty of No Place For Disgrace‘s title track (particularly from the 3 minute mark) if you need convincing that Flotsam and Jetsam‘s second album was melodic thrash at its absolute finest! 

Flotsam And Jetsam discography:

Doomsday For The Deceiver / No Place for Disgrace / When the Storm Comes Down / Cuatro / Drift / High / Unnatural Selection / My God / Dreams of Death / The Cold / Ugly Noise / Flotsam And Jetsam / The End Of Chaos / Blood In The Water

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The 5 Essential MEGADETH Albums

The 5 Essential OVERKILL Albums

The 5 Essential PESTILENCE Albums

The 5 Essential PROTECTOR Albums

The 5 Essential SAXON Albums

The 5 Essential SLAYER Albums

The 5 Essential TESTAMENT Albums

The 5 Essential TANKARD Albums

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About Chris Jennings (1985 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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