Class is eternal!
Released through AFM Records on 20 May 2016 and persevered through iron tears by Stephen ‘I’m rock hard, me’ Brophy
Upon first hearing the strains of Tommy Vance on The Friday Rock Show, which was broadcast on BBC Radio, over a crackly medium wave signal, was to hear him introduce a relatively new band with a track from their debut album Doomsday For The Deceiver: the year was 1986, the band in question was Flotsam And Jetsam, the track was the awesome ‘Iron Tears’.
Over a thirty year history, the band has had many ups and downs and line-up changes galore but at the same time has managed to release some bloody good thrash metal. Eric A. ‘A.K.’ Knutson has been the one true constant throughout the whole journey and it’s to his eternal credit that the band is still relevant in 2016. This self-titled release, the bands twelfth studio album, comes flying out of the starting gates with ‘Seventh Seal’, which is just a classic Flotsam And Jetsam song. Eric has always had one of the most recognisable voices in metal, a gift that works so well with the style of music they have created throughout their career. The riffs are as crunchy and crisp as always and with the addition of Jason Bittner (of Shadows Fall) as the bands new drummer in 204 has added more bite and power, particularly to some of the faster tracks. This is quite possibly the best sounding Flotsam And Jetsam album since No Place For Disgrace, it’s steeped in old school while sounding fresh and modern in sound.
Having always thought of Flotsam And Jetsam as a more thinking man’s thrash Band and to me this shines through again in spades on the track ‘Iron Maiden’, not simply dragging out a cover of an influential band to them, but creating a new song as a tribute, and it’s a great mix of their own style with some Maiden licks thrown in there too. There a highlights all over this album, from the cranking powerhouse of ‘Verge Of Tragedy’ through ‘L.O.T.D.’ – a track straight out of the 80’s and a screaming riff-fest – one thing is for sure, they have lost nothing of what made them such a significant band in the late 80’s scene. And there’s a reason they have not been forgotten: class is eternal.
Over recent years we have seen a lot of thrash bands move closer to melodic death metal, but even with the addition of some more aggressive and faster drum patterns, there’s absolutely no doubt that this album is thrash, and the same type of intelligent, well-written music that has stamped their name on our history. ‘Smoking Gun’ is definitely a more modern style for the guys, but it still works, and the magnificent closer ‘Forbidden Territories’ is a near seven minute slab of power, driving drums and screaming solos abound and as always Eric’s vocal delivery is spot on start to finish.
To think that thirty years after the release of their first album the band still not only has the ability but also the hunger to create an album of this quality is a wonderful thing, Having always felt they have been a very underrated band and through whatever it was, whether bad luck, bad timing or errors on their part or those they worked with, let’s hope that 2016 is the year of Flotsam And Jetsam. Cannot wait to catch them live on Tour with Destruction in October.
9 out of 10
- Seventh Seal
- Life Is A Mess
- Iron Maiden
- Verge Of Tragedy
- The Incantation
- Monkey Wrench
- Time To Go
- Smoking Gun
- Forbidden Territories