Flotsam and Jetsam – “Flotsam and Jetsam” (AFM Records)
With legendary albums such as “Doomsday For The Deceiver” and “No Place For Disgrace”, not to mention band members like Jason Newsted, Arizona’s Flotsam and Jetsam have been continually active in one form or another since their inception in the mid 80s. With much of their career spent preserving their legacy, in January 2015 original members Eric AK (vocals) and guitarist Michael Gilbert – along with the latest line up of the Flots in Michael Spencer (bass), Steve Conley (guitars) and Jason Bittner (drums) – decided to make a break to start writing new material in what was effectively a new band while acknowledging their 30 year history, as emphasized in this self titled 12th release. Well nothing has really changed! This is still the power thrashing band that old fans like me respected back in the day from Eric’s wailing vocals to Mikey’s driving riffola and blistering solos – guess some of the old hands decided to call it quits after a lifetime of thrashing and new blood was needed – well, the new crew certainly does the job from Conley being a respectable replacement for Ed Carlson in rapid fire chainsaw riffing to match Gilbert, not to mention Spencer’s heavy plucked bass a la Newstead and closing off with Jason Bittner’s pummeling drum work. Best of all, the Flots are still writing catchy if neck breaky songs like ‘Taser’, which certainly takes me back to those OTT 80s days as Eric screams ‘…50,000 volts of death..power he will gain..!’ while the band now sound even heavier on the likes of ‘Smoking Gun’ with its monster, chundering riffs. The epic closer of ‘Forbidden Territories’ brings it all together climatically with wild, virtuosic guitars, that goddamn bass again and massive, heavy drums courtesy of Chris Collier’s (Prong/KXM) sterling production. Yep, the Flots are back for a new beginning!