I am waaaaaay late to the Flotsam And Jetsam party. And I’m not talking about my initial introduction when I was younger watching them on Headbanger’s Ball as “that band that the new bassist from Metallica used to be in” while they were promoting Cuatro and the very ’90’s video treatment for “Wading Through The Darkness” (Which you can get nostalgic for yourself by heading here). I’m talking about their more recent output which, starting with 2019’s The End of Chaos, has taken the Arizona thrashers to the next level of Heavy.
Blood In The Water continues that trend and, similar to some recent output from contemporaries (Sacred Reich, Armored Saint, and Testament to name a few) and like a fine wine, proves that some things just get better with age. Because friends, what we have here is some serious killer Metal from an outfit almost forty years in that’s making music that goes toe-to-toe with today’s modern heavyweights in the field.
But I digress.
The title track opening up Flotsam And Jetsam’s latest Metal monster is legendary. Easing in with a foreboding atmosphere, “Blood In The Water” soon starts with screaming, wailing guitars from Steve Conley and Michael Gilbert that still retain an inherent anthem-like quality with Eric “AK” Knutson towering over all like an elder statesman or maniacal maestro with his vocal approach which switches between gruff, furious barks and an almost Dickinsonian-style wail. “Burn The Sky” serves as the flip side of the title track and is equally fierce, showing off drummer Ken K Mary’s pummeling power which segues nicely into the goddamn rager that is “Brace For Impact” which has a fun old school vibe and some serious shredding from Gilbert and Conley with Bill Bodily bringing the low end fury on bass.
“The Walls” is pure classic Thrash with a rhythmic rumbling from Bodily and Mary and some truly bad ass solos from Conley and Gilbert and then “Cry For The Dead” begins like that token ballad that all Metal records of the ’80’s and ’90’s seemingly had to have before the heavy takes over and Knutson’s voice cries out in commanding, biting tones. “The Wicked Hour” borders on Power Metal especially when we get to that anthemic chorus, “Too Many Lives” is another rhythmic onslaught with a bombastic bass, divine drumming, and Knutson’s voice absolutely soaring, and later on “Grey Dragon” is modern Thrash at its finest. Until “Reaggression” emerges next, that is.
“Undone” is an electric and spine-tingling thumper leading into the trailblazing finale of “Seven Seconds ‘Til The End Of The World” which is a sweeping ode to Metal that’s both beautiful and boisterous and a fitting final statement from this fulfilling new collection of Flotsam And Jetsam marvels.
Blood In The Water is out through AFM Records on June 4th. Pre-orders are up now and a variety of formats can be checked out when you head here. For the latest on Flotsam And Jetsam, follow them on their socials by clicking here, here, or here.