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flotsamjetsam bloodinthewater
Artist: Flotsam & Jetsam
Title: Blood In The Water
Genre: Heavy Metal / Speed Metal / Thrash Metal
Release Date: 4th June 2021
Label: AFM Records


Album Review

Originally famous for being the band that gave JASON NEWSTED his break prior to him joining METALLICA in 1986 following on from the release of their debut ‘Doomsday for the Deceiver’, FLOTSAM & JETSAM have always had a battle in being able to carve out their own identity. Fast forward 35 years later, with multiple line-up changes (vocalist Erik “A.K” Knutson & guitarist Michael Gilbert being the only original members remaining) and their 14th album ‘Blood In The Water’ launched, it’s firmly been cemented.

Opening title track ‘Blood In The Water’ sets the apocalyptic theme for what is to come and is a perfect blend of North American Thrash with a European Metal melody being sang over the top of it. ‘Burn the Sky’ follows straight on from this and paints the image of thousands of Metal heads singing this at Bloodstock, Wacken or Hellfest just as the sun is setting for the night. Fast, furious and straight to the point, one thing that is unusual for a Thrash record by an old school band that’s been going on & off for 40 years, is all of the songs being under five minutes which makes them ideal for radio airplay (I was fortunate enough to be sent a few of these for my weekly ‘Birmingham Steel Supershow’, prior to the LP’s release).

Track three ‘Brace For Impact’ whilst a great effort in its own right with a number of arrangements & MEGADETH style intricacy, also shows how slick the sound & mixing of this album is (which has been completely self-produced by the band themselves which makes this even more impressive) with none of the members overpowering each other. ‘A Place To Die’ has a delightful 80s Heavy Metal gallop with the twin guitars of Steve Conley & Michael Gilbert complimenting each other extremely well. ‘Walls’ whilst being completely original sounds like a blast from the past which wouldn’t sound out of place on a BRUCE DICKINSON solo album. The first half of the album is completed by ‘Cry For The Dead’ a slightly slower number, where bassist Bill Bodily gets to show his playing and vocalist Erik “A.K” Knutson gets to give it is all with double tracked vocals.

Part two of ‘Blood In The Water’ kicks off with ‘Wicked Hour’ where the Speed & Thrash is cranked back to full pelt. With the first half of the album describing an impending apocalypse, the 2nd half, notably with ‘Too Many Lives’ begins to describe the happenings and the body count. ‘Grey Dragon’ takes us back into the realm of Fantasy & European Metal and something that late 80s / early 90s era BLIND GUARDIAN would be proud of. Onto the final trio of songs ‘Reagression’ drops the melody & is a more aggressive TESTAMENT style, piece of old school piece of Thrash, where again the excellent arrangements of both guitarist’s & bass player trade lead parts, all of which are complimented by Ken K Mary’s drumming who hasn’t missed beat during the entire record. ‘Blood In The Water’ is completed by the ANTHRAX-esque ‘Undone’ and then ‘7 Seconds’ which lyrically sounds like the end scene to an apocalyptic movie, the end of the world and is a fine way to finish this LP.

If there’s one criticism I could gave to the album (and I’m nit-picking here) it’s that a bit more diversity wouldn’t have gone amiss. But in terms of what this album has set out to achieve, it’s smashed all its targets and is an absolute delight to listen to. FFO of ANTHRAX, early BLIND GUARDIAN, ICED EARTH, ONSLAUGHT, & TESTAMENT, this is old school Heavy, Speed, Thrash Metal at its absolute finest.


Tracklist

01. Blood In The Water
02. Burn The Sky
03. Brace For Impact
04. A Place To Die
05. The Walls
06. Cry For The Dead
07. The Wicked Hour
08. Too Many Lives
09. Grey Dragon
10. Reaggression
11. Undone
12. Seven Seconds ‘Til The End Of The World


Line-up

Erik “AK” Knutson – Vocals
Steve Conley – Guitar
Bill Bodily – Bass
Michael Gilbert – Guitar
Ken K Mary – Drums


Website

https://www.flotsam-and-jetsam.com


Cover Picture

flotsamjetsam bloodinthewater


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10




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