When I was 18 years old I was just getting a taste of how awesome it was to sneak into bars to watch live music while growing up in the cowboys and Indians territory of Phoenix, Arizona. This particular episode of tomfoolery, I was going the check out some random glam band wanting to be Poison, but hey, I wasn’t picky back then; there were hot chicks and beer inside. I remember checking out the marquee before going around back to sneak in and I noticed that Flotsam and Jetsam had played the night before.
Looking back, this bums me out a little because that was when Jason Newsted was handling bass duties for them. It would be only a few months later that he would join the biggest metal band on the planet… I never saw Newsted play with Flotsam and Jetsam but I have seen them about a dozen times with various line-ups and they NEVER fail to disappoint. Some 30 years later they have released the self-titled, Flotsam and Jetsam and I’ll use one word to describe it. Reinvigorated. Hands down, this album is a throwback to the Flotsam and Jetsam during their early years.
The current line-up is 3/5’s of 1988’s No Place for Disgrace with Erik “AK” Knutson, Mike Gilbert and Michael Spencer in the fold and guess what? Flotsam and Jetsam has that same feel. The compositions are sharp with machine gun precision riffing and drumming and, typical for Flotsam and Jetsam, the bass is its own instrument and not buried underneath guitars. This goes without saying but Erik AK’s voice is the key signature of the Flotsam and Jetsam sound. His super-high, piercing screams that were once his trademark on the first few albums are long gone, but his voice is just as powerful and carries a Flotzilla’s worth of conviction nonetheless.
Songs such as “Forbidden Territories” and “Smoking Gun” are prime examples of how this band have been reborn; they follow that early Flotsam and Jetsam blueprint of thrash riffing whereas “L.O.T.D.” sounds like it was lifted straight off No Place for Disgrace. If there’s anything I could be critical of, it would be the song entitled, “Iron Maiden”. I get it that it’s about the mid-evil torture device, but the only thing that keeps popping up in my head is “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden. It’s like your buddy’s girlfriend, you just leave that shit alone. All things considered though, this album kicks ass. Flotz till Death!
Flotsam and Jetsam Track Listing:
01. Seventh Seal
02. Life Is a Mess
04. Iron Maiden
05. Verge of Tragedy
08. The Incantation
09. Monkey Wrench
10. Time to Go
11. Smoking Gun
12. Forbidden Territories
Run Time: 55:32
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Check out the song “Life is a Mess”