They had everything, riffs aplenty, a banging sound and a great singer, but it just didn’t get the same traction of other bands , no one could quite put their finger on it, I guess it was just one of those things.
Their first album, Doomsday for the Deceiver was right up there with all the great albums of 1986, Master of Puppets, Peace Sells & Reign in Blood but after that despite flashes of brilliance things never quite clicked.
Fast forward to 2015 when I interviewed Michael Gilbert & Jason Bittner from the band in Glasgow, there was a new found grit & determination and dare I say glint in their eye at the prospect of their new album, they were talking it up even then and in their self titled album Flotsam and Jetsam they have delivered a masterpiece that is long overdue.
The mix on the album is exceptional and from the album’s opener ”Seventh Seal” to the closer “Forbidden Territories” your ears are gently brutalised by riff after riff.
I’m not going to run through every track individually, pulling it apart, but listen to the amazingly tight drumming of Jason Bittner on “Life is a Mess”, its one of the reasons why the album works so well, his addition is one of the little X factors why the album is what it is and has raised the band to another level.
Erik AK’s voice hasn’t changed over the years and if anything has developed way more depth than has been previously heard, giving you more bang for your buck.
It has been touted as a return to their roots but I think it’s a bit more than that, there’s a lot more complexity to the songs and the album works on many levels, even to the flow of the tracks. Some albums you wonder why a band/record company put them in the order they appeared, with the F&J record, even the track order seems perfect and there’s a great flow to the whole thing.
Some albums are what you call a slow burner, taking a dozen listens to get into but this album is not, it grabs you by the nuts and pulls you along from the first listen.
My personal favourite tracks are “Life is a Mess”, “Smoking Gun” and “Taser” but to be honest, it could be any of them. Quite simply, they’ve played a blinder!
Album Score – 9.5/10
Flotsam & Jetsam is out on May 20th