Let’s be brutally honest, Flotsam and Jetsam – a band who once held so much promise – haven’t really delivered a knock-out album since their sophomore classic No Place For Disgrace shellshocked thrash fans way back in 1988. When The Storm Comes Down (1990) had its moments but was hampered by a woeful production, 1992’s Cuatro was a minor success but remains under-valued, 1995 ‘s Drift ironically drifted away from thrash and into groove metal territory and the slump continued unabated from there; the band only moderately restoring faith when they embraced their thrash roots on 2005’s progressive thrash concept album, Dreams Of Death.
So we come come back to their last truly great album, No Place For Disgrace (original version, not 2014’s re-recording) which has rightfully gone down in history as a thrash classic – alongside their infamous Jason Newsted-led debut Doomsday For The Deceiver – and has never been matched, never mind bettered….until now!
Flotsam and Jetsam is a revelation, the band seemingly reborn and lending credence to the often ill-advised self titled album so late into a career. This is definitely a new start for these veterans, a high water mark and hopefully the beginning of a new chapter in the book of Flotsam and Jetsam, one laced with power/speed/thrash gems as found here.
Eric A.K’s voice has noticeably aged but is still stronger and more versatile than 99% of thrash singers out there while the songwriting consistency on display is the richest since the aforementioned No Place For Disgrace. No mis-fires, no weak links, just track after track of modern thrash/speed metal mayhem powered by outstanding across-the-board performances and a multitude of stunning ideas. The undeniable groove is still evident (“Verge Of Tragedy”), the power-thrashing still precise and laced with melody (“Seventh Seal”) and even their blatant nod to thrash’s forefathers (the blistering homage “Iron Maiden”) hits with a force and intensity long since thought unachievable.
Not really a comeback – they never really went away – Flotsam and Jetsam is nevertheless an overwhelming and surprising success, rejuvenating the career of a band seemingly lost in the wilderness who’ve finally found their way home! 8/10