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Flotsam and Jetsam
Flotsam and Jetsam

The Arizona thrashers are back with another impressive release of well-crafted tunes, proving once again why this band is still worth listening to. I will point out quickly though, that this is their 13th studio recording and it actually holds up better than Ugly Noise and No Place for Disgrace – 2014 (the band’s previous two releases).

What really strikes me from the get go is how energetic and refreshed they sound here – especially on the opening number “Seventh Seal”. This is a solid thrasher that will get your blood pumping quickly, setting up for the next headbanging effort with “Life is a Mess”. Again, the thrash is front and center and the tempo is jettisoned to the forefront without sounding boring. This renewed interest in their power/thrash sound continues with another head snapper called “Taser”. I love the aggression on this track, in particular Eric A.K.’s throaty vocal range and the riffs cut deep to the quick.

When you get to a track like “Iron Maiden” the tempo remains up-beat and Eric’s vocals continue to forge ahead, pushing his range like it was 1986 all over again. You can tell the vocalist struggles a bit these days hitting the high notes, but when called upon the man can still let it rip with the best of them. He continues to push the pipes with “Verge of Tragedy” and it vaguely reminds me of mid period Nevermore, but I dig the riffs and heavy bass filling out the song. You get an Anthrax-like chug going through “Creeper” that is pleasing to these ears and just might be one of the better tracks on this release.

The catchy number “L.O.T.D.” brings back the old thrash vibe and I must say guitarists Michael Gilbert and newcomer Steve Conley (P5) shine on this little ditty, while the short instrumental “The Incantation” is a nice break from the full throttle activity. Then this sets you up for arguably my favorite track “Monkey Wrench” and they just let it rip loud and fast. The main riff is infectious and I guarantee it will have you headbanging in the mosh pit! “Time to Go” strives hard to kick you in the gut with the galloping tempo and ominous lyrics, demanding you stay in the pit and thrash it out.

Flotsam and Jetsam
Flotsam and Jetsam
(AFM Records)
Written by: Kenneth Gallant
8.5 out of 10

The remaining two tracks continue on in the same vein. Dark melodies run through “Smoking Gun”, coupled with a meaty selection of riffs and some inspiring bass playing from Michael Spencer. The last song on the disc “Forbidden Territories” is the longest track on the album and soars along the thrash pattern, pushing hard with that galloping tempo throughout and complimented with Eric A.K.’s steady vocal range. This might be the most complete song on the album and perhaps closest (in style) to what the band achieved on Doomsday for the Deceiver.

My thoughts overall are quite positive. What really strikes my fancy is how the band has decided to embrace their roots, providing heaping amounts of thrash and striving for more up-tempo songs. This is a far cry from a band that put out the uninspiring Ugly Noise in 2012 and obviously they are compelled to inject some energy and youthful thrash attitude that once upon a time made this band great. I don’t know if this album will be bring the long hairs from the thrashing days of the late 80’s back into the fold, but it surely has kept me being a fan.

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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