Sunday, May 22, 2016

Flotsam & Jetsam : " S/t"

It's been a good year so far for the legends of metal, both Anthrax and Metal Church returned with strong albums lets see if Arizona's thrash lords can do the same. Granted their first three albums were their best, they did not have as long of a prolific run as Anthrax. Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner is on the throne for this one, but three of the original members are still intact. Eric AK's voice has taken some wear and tear. It's still powerful, but gone are the yodels that once rivaled King Diamond's upper range. King Diamond still has it so I expect to hear him attempt one. They can still thrash with authority on the opener and don't slow down for better or for worse on 'Life's A Mess". There are some strong melodies on "Taser" which much like Anthrax finds the best of both worlds when the hit the balance of modern sounds breathing new life into their brand of thrash from the 80s.

"Iron Maiden" might as well be called "Irony Maiden" since it ironically sounds like it's namesake. Then they have a more modern metal guitar attack on "Verge of Tragedy". This results in the song sounding more like Nevermore. Despite it's terrible lyrics "Creeper" pretty much kicks ass with Eric's voice getting up there with out going into falsetto. The brand of thrashing they launch into on "L.O.T.D" might not be the most original, but it does sound like what the band does best. The vocal going into the chorus has both punch and a infectous way of staying with you. After an interlude that felt like it should just have been "Monkey Wrenches" intro they lock onto the kind of catchy thrash that has been their trademark. They are convincing in the thrashing chug of " Time to Go", it is not the most inspired song writing of the album, yet not a fast forward classic either.

The tight riffing of "Smoking Gun" is heavy, but the vocals take a back seat to where the emphasis is being placed. Even when the riff shifts into what would be a more mosh inducing transition it doesn't incite you physically like this kind of metal should. The guitar playing in pretty impressive, but file that under cool riffs alone don't make a good song. They have not forgotten what made them great and are in hot pursuit of that flame on " Forbidden Territories" which finds the bass driving the song ahead like we are back to "No Place For Disgrace". If you are waiting for them to be able to touch "No Place For Disgrace" you might be waiting for sometime. Eric avoids going up high which is a shame, since he was one of the few singer's who could do that and retain the aggression in his approach. I'll give this a 8.5 for now, the have a lot to live up to, but even though there is a lack of yodels and the lyrics are pretty run of the mill metal, this is better than expected.

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