If you Google Flotsam And Jetsam the answer you get is “Useless or discarded objects” which is way off the mark as they return with heads held high for their thirteenth studio album The End Of Chaos. Released on January 18th 2019 on AFM Records with stunning artwork from Andy Pilkington at Very Metal Art, the veteran thrash metallers still have a point to prove since their formation in 1981 in Phoenix, Arizona.
An early highpoint was debut album Doomsday For The Deceiver receiving six KKKKKK’s out of a possible five from Kerrang as their reviewer raved over it. They have doggedly carried on with varying line ups, the latest being the addition of drummer Ken Mary who has given them a real shot in the arm, point proven by his kick drum dominated delivery for opener ‘Prisoner Of Time’. Original lead vocalist Eric ‘AK’ Knutson sings in a lower register nowadays but still impresses with a masterful display. The powerful riffing settles down into melodic thrash as powerful bass guitar runs from Michael Spencer precede raging twin lead guitar work from Steve Conley and second original member Michael Gilbert.
There is no let up as ‘Control’ twists and turns on insistent riffing around another furious drum assault. ‘Recover’ is the first full on slammer here with a slightly more melodic vocal but there is no loss of power. ‘Prepare For Chaos’ is aptly titled as the band lock in tight from the off into a breakneck gallop. ‘Slowly Insane’ turns the clock back to the ‘Doomsday’ era as they put the pedal to the floor for a dead cert pit opener as blistering lead guitar work blazed around my headphones. Metronomic kick drumming propels this hate fuelled track as Eric growls “I drink the blood of every man”. ‘Demolition Man’ pounds along vigorously with nods to ‘Hangar 18’ as it ends on a seismic drum outro.
There is nothing unwelcome about ‘Unwelcome Surprise’ as it careers along full pelt on relentless riffing and an in your face vocal tour de force. The buzzing riffs in ‘Snake Eye’ race neck and neck to the finish line alongside superhuman kick drumming. ‘Survive’ is a good track but a slight let down in quality, hence the four out of five review mark but they get back on track to close the album with two fast numbers. ‘Good Or Bad’ is captivating speed metal as its riffs fly by punctuated with virtuoso soloing and ‘The End’ hurtles along like a runaway train pausing only for the crushing choruses.
Flotsam And Jetsam band line up : –
Eric ‘AK’ Knutson – Vocals.
Steve Conley – Guitar.
Michael Gilbert – Guitar.
Michael Spencer – Bass guitar.
Ken Mary – Drums.