Flotsam & Jetsam 1985
Heavy metal from Phoenix, AZ, USA!

Doomsday for the Deceiver Flotsam & Jetsam - Doomsday For The Deceiver [20th Anniversary Special Edition] (Metal Blade) 1986/2006

[Doomsday For The Deceiver original mix]
1.   Hammerhead (6:16)
2.   Iron Tears (3:52)
3.   Desecrator (3:49)
4.   Fade To Black (2:05)
5.   Doomsday For The Deceiver (9:12)
6.   Metalshock (8:17)
7.   She Took An Axe (5:15)
8.   U.L.S.W. (4:22)
9.   Der Führer (5:46)
10. Flotzilla [instrumental] (6:12)
11. Iron Tears [Iron Tears demo] (4:06)
12. I Live You Die [Iron Tears demo] (6:07)
[Doomsday For The Deceiver re-mixed]
1.   Hammerhead (6:13)
2.   Iron Tears (3:50)
3.   Desecrator (3:48)
4.   Fade To Black (2:04)
5.   Doomsday For The Deceiver (9:08)
6.   Metalshock (8:16)
7.   She Took An Axe (5:16)
8.   U.L.S.W. (4:19)
9.   Der Führer (5:44)
10. Flotzilla [instrumental] (6:09)

11. Hammerhead [Metal Shock demo] (6:34)
12. The Evil Sheik [Metal Shock demo] (5:27)
13. I Live You Die [Metal Shock demo] (6:26)
14. The Beast Within [Metal Shock demo] (4:09)
[Bonus DVD]
1.   Interview part 1 [1983-84]
2.   Iron Tears [Live at Palace West, New Years 1984]
3.   Interview part 2 [1983-84]
4.   Hammerhead video [Live in Jason's apartment 1985]
5.   She Took An Axe [Live at The Pony Express 1985]
6.   Iron Tears [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
7.   Fade To Black [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
8.   Metal Shock [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
9.   She Took An Axe [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
10. Children Of The Night [unreleased] [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
11. The Executioner [unreleased] [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
12. Those Who Defy [unreleased] [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
13. On The Attack [unreleased] [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
14. I Live You Die [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
15. Hammerhead [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
16. The Beast Within [Live at Bootleggers 1985]
17. Photo History/Slideshow

"Doomsday for the Deceiver" is the debut album from Phoenix, Arizona heavy metal band Flotsam and Jetsam. Released in 1986 and produced by heavy metal guru producer Brian Slagel, it is the only album by Flotsam and Jetsam which features Jason Newsted before his departure for Metallica. Newsted penned much of the lyrics as well as some of the music. (So, what happened to Jason when he went to Metallica? Seems to me he was stifled. )

Flotsam & Jetsam, though commonly referred to as a thrash metal band, rode a fence between early speed metal and traditional heavy metal. Back in '86 we never referred to Flots as thrash metal. Rather, they were just heavy metal. In hindsight, "Doomsday for the Deceiver" is a blueprint for raging American power metal, somewhat along the lines of early Metal Church. "Doomsday" had everything we were looking for in a metal band in the 80's; thrashing aggression ("Desecrator," "Iron Tears", "She Took An Axe"), long epic songs ("Metalshock," "Doomsday"), a bit of humor ("Hammerhead") and a cleverly titled instrumental ("Flotzilla"). The was all accented by Eric AK's killer vocals throughout.

"Doomsday" is a bit rough in the production department, but growing up with this album, it just sits in my mind as a classic album. There are certain bands and albums where the raw recording and production adds to the overall appeal. Early albums by Venom, Raven, Metallica, etc. were roughly recorded, but are classics. "Doomsday" would fit in with those classics. Besides, in 1986 it wasn't about pristine production, it was about energy, attitude, shredding guitar solos, crunchy riffs, screaming vocals, etc. All those things are present here in abundance. For those who are just the right age, "Doomsday" was one of the soundtracks to our youth.

In 2006, Metal Blade Records celebrated the 20th anniversary of "Doomsday for the Deceiver" by releasing a special 3-disc box set. Disc one is a remastered version of the original mix and includes two bonus demo tracks. "I Live You Die" showed up again on the band's follow-up release "No Place for Disgrace". Disc two contains the entire "Doomsday for the Deceiver" remixed and newly mastered as well as four bonus demo tracks. The remixed tracks sound surprisingly different from the original mix. The drums are more brilliant, the bass is more prominent and the guitars are fuller and have more body. Little riffs and bass runs that were hidden in the old mix are now heard in this new mix. It's almost as if the band went into the studio and re-recorded the album. It sounds that fresh.

The 2006 20th Anniversary edition also includes a DVD with a ton of footage of the band's early years and a full show recorded at Bootleggers in 1985. The high school interview footage is amusing. I was so enamored with this release I even sat through the entire photo history slide show. There is also a 16 page booklet with lyrics and vintage photos. Overall, this is a stellar re-issue and well worth the money spent purchasing this album for a third time. (First time on vinyl in 1986, then on CD years later.)

No Place for Disgrace Flotsam & Jetsam - No Place For Disgrace (Elektra) 1988

1. No Place for Disgrace (6:11)
2. Dreams of Death (5:40)
3. N.E. Terror (5:57)
4. Escape from Within (6:47)
5. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (4:00)
6. "Hard on You (4:51)
7. I Live, You Die (5:50)
8. Misguided Fortune (5:29)
9. P.A.A.B. (5:33)
10. The Jones [instrumental] (3:57)

After Jason Newsted left Flotsam to join Metallica, Flotsam replaced him with bassist Troy Gregory and forged ahead. "No Place for Disgrace" was the band's major label debut. With Newsted gone, guitarist Michael Gilbert takes over the reigns and guides the band through a blitzkrieg of supersonic speed metal. Though Newsted was gone, his presence is still felt as he had a hand in writing three of the ten songs, including the old Flots classic "I Live, You Die". The song had previously been recorded as a demo and was also released on Metal Blade's "Metal Massacre VII. It's easily one of my favorite cuts on the album. "Escape from Within" is another of the albums standout cuts. The track slowly builds from a melodic intro into full-throttle thrasher. Many people will remember that this is the Flots album with the Elton John cover on it. Being that this was the band's major label debut, I can only imagine that the idea for this song came from the label. The song sticks out on the album like a sore thumb and really doesn't work all that well with the flow of the album. Surprise, surprise, it was released as a single by Elektra. The lyrical themes range from dying in a coma ("Escape from Within"), to the P.M.R.C. ("Hard on You"), to suicide ("No Place for Disgrace.") Flots 'till death!

When The Storm Comes Down Flotsam & Jetsam - When the Storm Comes Down (MCA) 1990

1.   The Master Sleeps (4:35)
2.   Burned Device (6:26)
3.   Deviation (3:04)
4.   October Thorns (5:33)
5.   No More Fun (3:45)
6.   Suffer the Masses (6:05)
7.   6, Six, VI (5:05)
8.   Greed (4:24)
9.   E.M.T.E.K. (5:49)
10. Scars (4:14)
11. K.A.B. (0:25)

"When the Storm Comes Down" is the third studio album by Flotsam and Jetsam on their third record company. When the album was released in 1990 I was initially disappointed and basically didn't give the album the time of day. While the intensity and heaviness was still present and Eric A.K.was still giving a stellar vocal performance, the songwriting didn't grab me by the jugular. "When the Storm Comes Down" just didn't have the immediate hooks that "Doomsday for the Deceiver" had. It's also unfortunate that the production isn't up to snuff. There was something enjoyable about the raw production on the previous albums but on "When the Storm Comes Down" the guitar tone lacks the necessary crunch and the snare drum and vocals are out front in the mix. Still, being a bit of a Flots fanatic, I have given this album repeated listens over the years and it has grown on me considerably. There are some excellent songs, though the entire album isn't as solid as either of it's predecessors.

The album opens on a solid note. "The Master Sleeps" is a thrasher that sounds like classic Flots. When I first heard the song I described it as a cross between Anthrax and Metal Church. That description still seems to hold up, though in no way am I saying that Flots are a clone of any band. The song deals with sanity (or insanity) and an inner struggle with God, or perhaps the existence of God. The lyrics are purposely ambiguous, allowing for personal interpretation, but that is my take on it. Another standout track is "E.M.T.E.K.", which apparently is the first letter in each name of the "Storm" line up (Edward, Michael, Troy, Erik, Kelly). The song is dynamic and progressive, blending from melodic passages to heavier riffs. The song explores the topic of the government testing medication on humans. "My peeling skin turns green but at least I can pay my rent!" Perhaps my favorite track on the album is "Suffer the Masses", a chugging, mid-paced, heavy metal song with a heavy message of freedom and bondage. At the time the band was writing for this album, 1989, the world was full of political and social unrest. Among other things, there was the Tianimen Square protests and massacre in China, the USSR split and the Berlin Wall coming down. The song opens with a dizzying mix of news reports before the ultra-heavy riff kicks in. It is definitely one of Flotsam & Jetsam's finer songs and unfortunately gets lost on an unpopular record.

The rest of the album isn't bad, but certainly isn't on par with the band's debut and their sophomore follow-up. The lengthy "Burned Device" seems to drag on pointlessly. Flots also seem to be searching for a sound, or perhaps experimenting with styles. "No More Fun" for example is an attempt at funk-metal complete with slap bass opening. This style was growing in popularity at the time. Fellow Arizona thrashers Sacred Reich experimented with this sound around the same time as well. "K.A.B" is one of those short thrash joke songs that S.O.D. made popular amongst thrashers. ("K.A.B." stands for Kill All Bastards.) Still, this is not the travesty that many fans make it out to be. It's also unfortunate that the horrendous cover art magnifies the album's poor reputation.

After "When the Storm Comes Down", bassist Troy Gregory jumped ship to join Prong.

Cuatro Flotsam & Jetsam - Cuatro (MCA) 1992

1. Natural Enemies (3:35)
2. Swatting at Flies (4:03)
3. The Message (4:32)
4. Cradle Me No" (4:04)
5. Wading Through the Darkness (6:06)
6. Double Zero (3:43)
7. Never to Reveal (4:16)
8. Forget About Heaven (4:47)
9. Secret Square (5:21)
10.Hypodermic Midnight Snack (3:46)
11.Are You Willing " (4:00)
12.(Ain't Nothing Gonna)
Save This World" (3:45)

After the somewhat disappointing "When the Storm Comes Down", Flotsam & Jetsam obviously needed a change. As well, the musical landscape by 1992 was moving away from speed metal and thrash metal. As such, "Cuatro" is a bit different than the previous three albums. The songs are shorter, the tempos more varied and the production is more modern. Sentinel Steel Magazine described the album as "alternative rock." That is a completely inaccurate description. The problem is that many metal fans were trying to force Flotsam into the thrash metal mold, when they were never a pure thrash metal band to being with. Flotsam & Jetsam were a heavy metal band and "Cuatro" is still metal. Album opener "Natural Enemies" is a speedy power metal track. "Swatting At Flies" is a heavy, mid-paced romp with a big Metallica vibe and is easily one of Flotsam's best songs. "The Message" is a mid-paced song with a dark gothic vibe., "Are You Willing" is a up-tempo speed metal track and "Hypodermic Midnight" is a punk-infused rocker. So, Flotsam mixes things up a bit but they certainly didn't lose their identity. "Cuatro" is not the commercial sellout to alternative or grunge that some reviewers would have you believe. Rather it's a natural progression for one of metal's most underrated bands.

Flotsam & Jetsam - Swatting At Flies (MCA) 1992

1. Swatting At Flies (4:03)
2. Date With Hate (4:12)

"Swatting At Flies" was released as a limited edition, red, 7" vinyl single. Featured the non-album track "Date With Hate". The vinyl has no printed cover and came in a clear vinyl cover.

Drift Flotsam & Jetsam - Drift (MCA) 1995

1. "Me" (3:18)
2. "Empty Air" (3:50)
3. "Pick A Widow" (3:47)
4. "12 Year Old with a Gun" (3:29)
5. "Missing" (5:57)
6. "Blindside" (3:35)
7. "Remember" (3:46)
8. "Destructive Signs" (4:54)
9. "Smoked Out" (6:08)
10. "Poet's Tail" (3:57)

It must suck to constantly have your new projects compared to old albums, but it is inevitable. "Drift" is a good metal album, although I still don't think it stands up to the first few albums. There are some really good songs on "Drift", especially the last few which really stand out. "Destructive Signs" is a very cool song, although unusual for Flots because it is an acoustic number. The song offers a bit of diversity and shows the spectrum of their talent. I especially dig the skillfully played acoustic leads throughout the song. "Smoke Out" is an aggressive song that sounds as if it were written with a whole lot of anger. I don't know, perhaps I have just associated too much nostalgia with the first few discs and nothing Flotsam does will ever top those discs. Or, may be those first few albums were just that great.

Blindside Flotsam & Jetsam - Blindside (MCA) 1995

1. "Blindside" [radio edit] (3:25)
2. "Blindside" [album version] (3:34)
3. "Faries Wear Boots" (5:58)

A promotional single from the "Drift" CD that contains two version of the single, plus an excellent cover of Black Sabbath's "Faries Wear Boots". This single is worth owning for that one song alone. The single has an insert in the jewel case but does not have a front insert.

High Flotsam & Jetsam - High (Metal Blade) 1997

. "Final Step" (6:40)
2. "Hallucinational" (3:16)
3. "It's One Me" (3:24)
4. "High-Noon" (5:19)
5. "Your Hands" (3:28)
6. "Monster" (3:41)
7. "Lucky Day" (4:53)
8. "Toast" (2:56)
9. "High" (3:31)
10. "Everything" (6:02)
11. "Fork-Boy" (3:54)

Flots are one of those bands that I have followed since their debut. To me those first two albums are heavy metal classics, and everything that has followed pales in comparison. When "High" first came out I didn't really like it and thought perhaps that the band was a bit too high, and released a stinker. I didn't finally pick up my own CD copy until after purchasing "Unnatural Selection." In retrospect, I have grown to like this disc quite a bit. What "High" is made of is 100% pure heavy metal. The hooks are in the music, but are just not the kind that come right out and grab you from the first listen. After repeated listens, this disc is now one of my favorites. As usual for Flots, there are lots of dynamics in the music, excellent solos, and Eric A.K.'s smooth, yet aggressive vox. Thanks to Metal Blade for signing one of America's finest power metal bands. No thanks to the big labels who did nothing for this great band. If anyone from Flotsam & Jetsam ever reads this, keep flying your metal freak flag!

Unnatural Selection Flotsam & Jetsam - Unnatural Selection (Metal Blade) 1999

1."Dream Scrape" (4:10)
2."Chemical Noose" (4:12)
3."Promise Keepers" (4:33)
4."Liquid Noose" (3:59)
5."Falling" (3:39)
6."F**kers" (5:59)
7."Brain Dead" (4:32)
8."Way to Go" (4:26)
9."Win, Lose or Dead" (4:27)
10."Welcome to the Bottom" (5:14)

Far better than some of their past discs. Some of Flot's 90's releases took some time for me to really appreciate it. On some of those album Flots were experimenting with their sound and probably trying to fit into a changing music scene. With "Unnatural Selection" Flotsam & Jetsam return to their thrash and speed metal roots, which is good. I guess all things come around, even record labels, as Flots have returned home to Metal Blade. This is probably where they should have stayed as I have read that they were jacked around by MCA and Elektra. In any case, "F**kers" is STUPID. "Hey look at us, we can cuss." "Promise Keepers" takes a bit of a stab at the Christian movement by the same name by relating it to battered, abused, or oppressed women. (Whatever, this is just not true. Promise Keepers promotes putting your wife as FIRST importance, not the opposite as people would have you believe.) Anyhow, lyrics aside, the music is enjoyable although that bass drum is really loud and clicky.

My God Flotsam & Jetsam - My God (Metal Blade) 2001

1. "Dig Me Up to Bury Me" (5:46)
2. "Keep Breathing" (5:08)
3. "Nothing to Say" (5:18)
4. "Weather to Do" (5:21)
5. "Camera Eye" (3:47)
6. "Trash" (4:34)
7. "Praise" (2:01)
8. "My God" (5:23)
9. "Learn to Dance" (4:26)
10. "Frustrate" (3:27)
11. "Killing Time" (5:27)
12. "I.A.M.H." (13:41)

Man, anyone who has dismissed this band since their 80's releases has not heard this album. 'My God' is simply the best Flots cd in a long time. 'My God' starts off with one of the heaviest songs the band has done in a while; "Dig Me Up to Bury Me" is fast and furious recalling the glory days of thrash metal. "Keep Breathing" slows things down a bit mixing up heavy, doomy riffs with clean, mellower verses. Erik A.K. sounds as good as he ever has, if not better. The rest of the disc follows in like manner with the band creating layers of sound, mixing heavy thrash riffs with clean guitar parts. "Nothing To Say" is another good example of this. The song starts off with a clean, mellow guitar part before bursting into a thrash riff that will cave in your skull. "Frustrate" is yet another standout cut with it's fast and steady double bass and quick guitar picking. I was mesmerized from beginning to end of this disc at the first listen. Metal purists may sneer a bit as there are some more modern grooves here and there, but overall, Flots just pump out pure heavy metal. Rarely do I enjoy a disc this much on the very first listen. Sadly it seems this will be the bands last disc, although I hope this is not true. I had read that Erik A.K. had left the band, although Flots were continuing to tour for this disc with Helstar/Destiny's End vocalist James Rivera filling in. Now that I would like to see.

Flotsam and Jetsam - Dreams of Death (Crash Music, Inc.) 2005

1. "Requiescat" (:36)
2. "Straight to Hell" (2:52)
3. "Parapsychotic" (6:26)
4. "Bleed" (4:30)
5. "Look In His Eyes" (5:19)
6. "Childhood Hero" (6:20)
7. "Bathing In Red" (5:02)
8. "Nascentes Morimar" [instrumental] (4:24)
9. "Out of Mind" (11:51)
10. hidden track

Would it be trite to just say "I like it"? Really, when I listened to "Dreams of Death" the first few times that is exactly what I thought. I mean, if you like Flotsam, and you've enjoyed any of their more recent albums, this one should also please fans. Eric AK sounds as good as he ever did. The band is still mixing in those aggressive thrash riffs, with the more ethereal, stoner moments. "Straight to Hell" is one of the band's more aggressive numbers reminding me of "Doomsday" or "No Place". Likewise, "Parapsychotic" is a fast and furious song with an almost punk delivery. "Bleed" brings the band to the more dynamic, groove oriented material on "Drift". This song blends their more ethereal, melodic style with some heavier moments and some sweeping guitar solos. Excellent song and perhaps my favorite on the album. "Look In His Eyes" is another faster paced, straight forward metal song that recalls the classic sound of Flotsam. However, even this song blends some more melodic moments in with the faster, heavier, parts. "Childhood Here" starts off with an clean, acoustic opening and builds into a heavy, haunting, mid-paced number, and even breaks loose into a full on, double bass, speed metal section in the middle of the song before giving way into a melodic guitar solo. "Nascentes Morimar" is one of those eerie, stoner songs that Flotsom have been writing on recent albums. This one is slow and doomy and features a lot of melodic guitar solos. "Out of Mind" features a hidden track after about a minute of silence. While this trend was interesting a decade ago, now I just find it annoying. I would much rather have the CD tracked correctly. Otherwise "Out of Mind" is a fine song to finish off the CD. As I stated in the beginning of this review, fans of this band should be pleased with this album. It's Flotsam & Jetsam sounding as good as they ever have. Cover art by Travis Smith.

Unfortunately for now I only have a promo copy of this CD, so for now "Dreams of Death" stays on the want list.

Once in a Deathtime Flotsam & Jetsam - Once In A Deathtime (Driven Music) 2008

1.   Hammerhead (6:33)
2.   Me (3:17)
3.   The Master Sleeps (4:50)
4.   Swatting At Flies (4:16)
5.   No Place For Disgrace (6:20)
6.   Doomsday For the Deceiver (7:27)
7.   Hard On You (4:29)
8.   Fork Boy (4:09)
9.   Never To Reveal (4:38)
10. Escape From Within (6:22)
11. I Live You Die (7:10)
12. Smoked Out (5:10)

 "Once In A Deathtime" was recorded live at the 2008 Metalmania Festival is Spodek, Katowice on March 8th. The album features a good cluster of songs off the first three early Flots releases; two  from Doomsday For the Deceiver, three from No Place For Disgrace, and one from When the Storm Comes Down. All six tracks are prime speed metal with all the dual guitar harmonies and the high-pitched screams in place. The remaining five tracks are split between the bands 90's releases "Drift", "Cuatro" and "High". "Fork Boy" is the lone song from "High" and is a LARD cover. Though the cover has a bit of a punk/thrash vibe, the remaining tracks stand in stark contrast to the thrashier, more metallic songs of the early years.  

"Once in a Deathtime" is a warts and all live recording. I don't believe that the band went back to the studio to re-record anything. As such, there are points when Eric A.K.'s voice cracks, especially when he's attempting to nail those insane high screams. Stuff like that is part of the charm of a live performance. For the most part, however, the musicianship is tight and the performance is energetic.

One disappointing thing about this live CD is the lack of audience participation and in-between song banter. Sometimes the crowd's energy adds something to the sound while the in-between song banter just makes the performance seem more real and less like a compilation album. 

This show was also released as a DVD/CD combo, though the whole show was not included on the CD portion, while it is included on this single CD release. 

cold Flostam & Jetsam - The Cold (Driven) 2010

1.   Hypocrite (4:06)
2.   Take (4:19)
3.   The Cold (7:19)
4.   Black Cloud (4:41)
5.   Blackened Eyes Staring (4:38)
6.   Better Off Dead (5:43)
7.   Falling Short (5:13)
8.   Always (3:39)
9.   K.Y.A. (5:26)
10. Secret Life (7:03)

Flots haven't released a new album since 2005, many assuming the band were no more. Well despite the hiatus, the band has returned in 2010 with "The Cold". This release will be sure and cause division among the hordes of thrash fans who will no doubt be put off by the fact that this is not a straight forward thrash/speed metal album. The Cold sounds very modern and only occasionally touches on traditional metal. However, this is not paint-by-numbers modern metal. "The Cold" is Flots completely reinvigorated and ready to push the boundaries of their sound once again like they did with "Cuatro". There is still a thrash metal undercurrent, such as in "Black Cloud" but it's mixed with some experimentation and progression. "Blackened Eyes Staring" is an example as the song opens as a pure thrash metal number but switches modes into something much melodic for the verses, though no less heavy.

"The Cold" is chock full of riffs, some of which I would even say are the heaviest and most aggressive the band have recorded to date. However, there are plenty of more melodic and somber moments mixed in as well. Flotsom & Jetsam have rarely released an album that didn't have variety. Songs like the epic title track benefit greatly because of the diversity; from the fast, heavy passages to the mellower verses. These moments tend to make the heavier sections seem even heavier than they would have otherwise seemed.

Vocalist Eric A.K. (Eric  Knutson) still sounds great! The dynamic songwriting wouldn't work if the vocals weren't up to snuff. Eric belts out the lyrics like the pro that he is, sounding quite angry in parts ("K.Y.A.") while offering a more melodic touch when needed. His vocals bring songs like "Hyprocite" and "Better Off Dead" to life. Eric and the entire band sound rejuvenated, invigorated and inspired. As such, "The Cold" is the best thing Flostam & Jetsam have recorded in a long while, and I am one that has like nearly everything they have recorded.

Ugly Flotsam & Jetsam - Ugly Noise (independent) 2013

1.   Ugly Noise (4:10)
2.   Gitty Up (3:09)
3.   Run And Hide (5:28)
4.   Carry On (4:18)
5.   Rabbit's Foot (4:16)
6.   Play Your Part (5:28)
7.   Rage (3:24)
8.   Cross The Sky (4:44)
9.   Motherfuckery (3:07)
10. I Believe (2:53)
11. To Be Free (3:08)
12. Machine Gun (3:17)

"Ugly Noise" is the eleventh studio album from Arizona metal veterans Flotsam & Jetsam and was a successful campaign of PledgeMusic. The fans donated money to help the band record this independent album and in return the fans received different Flotsam memorabilia, CDs, etc. The minimum donation received a digital download of the music before it was available to the public. The digital download of "Ugly Noise" was released on 21st of December 2012 to those who helped fund the recording of "Ugly Noise" through PledgeMusic. However the CD proper wasn't released until January of 2013. I was one of those who helped finance the recording and received an autographed copy of the CD.  Recording this way allows the band to record free of record companies and producers and gives them complete control to do what they wish.

With "Ugly Noise" Flotsam & Jetsam move away from the pure speed and thrash metal of their last album "The Cold" and return to a sound not unlike "Cuatro" and especially "Drift". The songs are heavy and dark, but not necessarily fast, or even aggressive. The album opens with some ominous piano intro that echoes through the song. The song itself is heavy, dark and highly memorable and built around a mid-tempo, chugging riff. I can certainly understand why a fan of the thrashier side of this band might be disappointed by this opening track, but those who enjoy the bands darker, more groove-based sound should enjoy this (as I do). The follow-up track "Gitty Up" sounds more like classic Flots; up-tempo, heavy metal with some thrash metal leanings and a fantastic guitar lead. However, the next track returns to the slower tempos and more groove oriented sound. "Run and Hide" incorporates electronica and muted riffing to create an very grim, ominous vibe that is accentuated by Eric A.K. emotional vocal performance. It's a brilliant song, even if it is outside of the box for this band. "To Be Free" is definitely a return to the early days of Flots. Up-tempo, thrashing, heavy metal and even some speedy double bass drumming. This song could have been on "No Place for Disgrace" and features a nice dueling guitar solo between Michael Gilbert and Edward Carlson. "Machine Gun" follows up and is a simple up-tempo track to end the album.

"Ugly Noise" is a nice mix of Flots old and new. There are the fast parts that bring to mind the classic days of the band and some more melodic moments that can be chalked up to maturity, or even progression. Though it may not be breaking any new barriers in sound and style, "Ugly Noise" is a solid effort from Flotsam & Jetsam. It's dark, heavy and one of those albums that has drawn me in and begs for repeated listens.

Flotsam & Jetsam
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