Record Reviews

Album review: Flotsam and Jetsam “Blood in the Water”

Flotsam and Jetsam gives us the best kind of American thrash metal on its 14th album.

American thrash metal band Flotsam and Jetsam was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in the early 1980s and the band released its debut album “Doomsday for the Deceiver” in 1986. It was also that year that I discovered them. What could have been a devastating and fatal blow to the band – Metallica recruiting Flotsam bass player Jason Newsted just as things were starting to take off – actually meant that tens of thousands of metalheads around the world discovered Flotsam. 35 years later and Flotsam is better than ever. The Flotsam boys are in fine form on the new album. They are not messing around and they are not taking no for an answer. They are here to perform for you, whether you like it or not. But if you listen to this album’s twelve tracks, you will discover a terrific thrash metal album. Over the years they have developed their own brand of thrash metal. The foundation is thrash but there are smoking speed metal guitars here and there, plenty of traditional heavy metal influences and great melodies that get stuck in your head. At times throughout their career, they have had a somewhat progressive experimental side to them. We get some of that on the terrific album closer “Seven Seconds ‘til the End of the World”. “Blood in the Water” is the band’s fourteenth album and it is one of its best. The catchy single “Burn the Sky” is terrific as is the whole album. “Brace for Impact” and “Reaggression” are both gloriously fast in an in-your-face thrash metal way but with tempo changes used for dramatic effect. “Cry for the Dead” is a terrifically emotional rollercoaster of a song. “The Walls” is straight-up heavy metal and has exquisite guitar work while “The Wicked Hour” is the album’s finest piece which combines old-school thrash elements with a modern feel and a catchy chorus. The current line-up of the band consists of Eric “AK” Knutson (vocals), Steve Conley (guitar), Michael Gilbert (guitar), Bill Bodily (bass) and Ken K Mary (drums).

Flotsam and Jetsam’s new album “Blood in the Water” is out now via AFM Records.