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Flotsam & Jetsam: The End Of Chaos

I must admit that I’d kind of given up on Flotsam & Jetsam, the promise of the band’s first two albums as distant in the memory as the decade that saw them arrive - the 80s. Since then a few decent efforts have come and gone as the band went through the usual and reasonably frequent line-up reshuffles. That was however, until 2016’s self titled effort landed in my inbox and quickly set about knocking my laptop to the floor with the sheer weight of the metal it contained. Sticking the album on disc had a similar effect; the proud pummel and pincer sharp riffs that tumbled forth reminding of days gone by, while finding the band, along with the resurgent Metal Church, right back at the head of the thrash-pack. With all of the big four either mutated out of recognition or fighting off other demons, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that both F&J and MC have released the best albums in this style for quite some time.

For the fourth album in succession, the Phoenix Arizona outfit have a new drummer, Jason Bittner moving on to those other underrated thrashers Overkill. In his place comes a man of real pedigree, one-time Alice Cooper drummer Ken Mary proving once more just how versatile he is and in a setting that’s possibly more aggressive than we’re used to hearing him, he’s something of a revelation. The rest of the band remain the same from the self-titled hammer smash to now, original pairing Eric AK Knutson and Michael Gilbert still the rip roaring voice and guitar heart of the band. Ably bolstered by second guitarist Steve Conley and bruising bassist Michael Spencer, who is in his second stint with F&J, the quintet are offering The End Of Chaos. Do you believe them? Well, with the sheer heavy metal mayhem of the near title track, “Prepare For Chaos” I’d suggest that nothing could be further from the truth. With AK in quite stunning form, the words are spat out with such force that they almost make you duck. Doing so would be pointless, for the low swinging rumble of a bass line that takes no prisoners simply comes along and swipes the feet from you.

It’s a theme throughout, the potency of “Architects Of Hate” veering from mid-paced double kick explosion to spat and snarled riff fuelled monster, whereas “Unwelcome Surprise” sits atop a consistent gallop that is augmented by a guitar solo that sears to the bone. Everywhere you turn the frets howl, the bass booms and the vocals cut in deep. With the guitars simply never letting up, it’s one hell of a concoction from start to finish. So much so in fact that if there’s one issue here, it’s that at no point across the twelve tracks laid out is there even the slightest deviation from course and while each and every aggressive agitation is completely convincing, just the merest hint of light across an utterly dark and heavy album would have been welcome.

That said, I like my thrash full on and unapologetic. The End Of Chaos is both of those things and so much more.

Track Listing
1. Prisoner Of Time
2. Control
3. Recover
4. Prepare For Chaos
5. Slowly Insane
6. Architects Of Hate
7. Demolition Man
8. Unwelcome Surprise
9. Snake Eye
10. Survive
11. Good Or Bad
12. The End

Added: February 3rd 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Flotsam & Jetsam online
Hits: 1316
Language: english

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