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Flotsam and Jetsam
Released: 1999, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Most of our favorite thrash bands from the '80's have either changed their style excessively, broken up, or simply disappeared. Yet a few still hold true to all that is metal…bands like Slayer, Overkill, and Flotsam & Jetsam. Yeah, you might say that these bands have not progressed, but progression is not necessary if a band still makes interesting music, right? But it is surprising however that Flotsam & Jetsam have kept things going for such a long time now, seeing that no one seems to give a shit about them anymore…which is sad, because they are so much better than a lot of the other crap on the market today.
So what can be expected of album number seven? Well Flotsam's new material basically follows the same course that "Drift" and "High" carved, with some brief detours towards "Quattro". Unfortunately however, "Unnatural Selection" is not as catchy as earlier albums. The songs are basically straightforward, slow to mid-paced metal songs, with plenty of double bass, and very little acoustic guitars. The performances of the musicians are excellent as usual. Don't be distressed by the departures of Kelly Smith and Mike Gilbert either. New drummer Craig Nielsen does an excellent job…he's very tight and fluent with his kit. New guitarist Mark Simpson is rock solid too. Good ol' Eric delivers a killer vocal performance once again, and even throws in some new approaches. The album was produced by James Lockyer, and lemme tell ya…I've never heard a more robust bass drum sound! Check the volume knob when you put this disc on. If you're not careful, the opening double bass will make your heart skip a few beats! You can also hear the bass guitar in parts, which is a plus. On the downside, one disappointment I have with the album is the lack of guitar leads.
Highlights: "Promise Keepers" has some cool atmospheric vocals and harmony guitar. "Welcome to the Bottom" is the only track with acoustic guitars, reminiscent of "Drift", and is a great album closer. All in all, this album is a thick-ass slab of heavy metal. Although not groundbreaking, I recommend this to any Flotsam metalhead who appreciated their last two albums.
And for you collectors/completists…the Japanese version of this CD contains an awesome bonus track called "Mr. Ridiculous". It's fast and has great double bass and guitar riffs. I am pretty sure it's an original song, but it sounds rather different for Flotsam.
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