In 2019 Flotsam And Jetsam released The End Of Chaos, which caused a question, if the name of the album means the end of the band. Eric Knutson answered shortly and concisely then: “hell no!” And now, to prove their commitment Flotsam And Jetsam release their new longplay, Blood In The Water.
In Blood In The Water musicians decided to take a few more steps towards Heavy, Speed and even Power Metal. Everything is ok with Thrash, it didn’t go anywhere and it’s plenty of it on a new album, it sounds rough and aggressive. Nevertheless, you can hear some distinct Heavy and Speed in some songs beside catchy choruses and melodic hooks, which are inherent to this band.
There are some changes in line-up too: bassist Bill Bodily changed Michael Spencer who worked on the previous album. However it didn’t affect the music at all: rhythm section here still stunning (Ken K Mary’s drumming is off the charts). Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley’s guitar solos are technical, melodic and interwoven greatly, while they are really contrasting. Last but not least, Eric ‘AK’ Knutson still able to surprise listeners with his voice. But first things first.
So, the album opens with quite dark intro of titled “Blood In The Water” with powerful drums and atmospheric keyboards, which changes with fast-paced Thrash Metal riffs. However, music gains melody in chorus significantly, which leads it to Heavy or Speed Metal. At the same time, the chorus is catchy and memorable – Flotsam And Jetsam were always good in it. The same happens in “Burn The Sky”, where Eric impressively hits the high notes, “A Place To Die” (sometimes there can be heard a real tragedy in the vocals) and “Reagression”, where short melodic chorus dilutes the strong wave of speed and aggression. Hurricane “Dragon” also needs to be mentioned: it really catches your attention with its heaviness. And “Brace For Impact” is pure Thrash Metal, almost not melodic, fast-paced and aggressive as well; the only melody here is only in the end of the song.
“Walls” and “Wicked Hour” are pronounced American Heavy Metal. First one has memorable chorus and in the second Eric shows all the power of his voice and Ken K Mary shines here another time.
“Cry For The Dead” starts as s ballad, with clean guitar and keyboards. Other instruments join gradually, the pace increases and the songs sounds more and more heavy until it all fades out to become a ballad once again just to gain tempo and heaviness one more time. Eric gives here everything he got, awesomely transmitting his emotions. However, you can’t sing lines “I can’t live without the ones I love. I am nothing without them” in another way.
“Undone” is probably the most outstanding song in the album: started with Groove, it continues with emphasized melody in verses and aggressive choruses. Guitar solo combines Groove and melody greatly.
The album ends with “7 Seconds”: Heavy (or I’d dare to say, Power) Metal can be heard in intro, distinct Thrash Metal riffs in verse and some epicness with a great tragedy in chorus. A tragedy here also in Eric’s voice: you can easily believe to his words “Seven seconds ’till the end of the world”.
Flotsam And Jetsam were always considered as an underrated band: they had lots of difficulties and tough times but the fact they are not giving up and continue to play the music is more than worthy to respect. The End Of Chaos changed this a little bit: people started to talk about the band and many, who weren’t familiar with them, listened and appreciated. Blood In The Water should strengthen the band’s positions.
Blood In The Water was released on June, 4th via AFM Records.
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