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Flotsam and jetsam - Blood In The Water

Label: AFM
Format: Download
Released: 2021
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 10/10

Ok, I thought there was already blood in the water five years ago when Flotsam released the self titled album, and "The End of Chaos" in 2019? Well, guess third time is a charm because this album lives up to the past two, and then some. Singer Eric "A.K." Knutson, and guitarist Michael Gilbert joined by Steve Conley (guitar), Bill Bodily on bass, and second album for Ken Mary (Fifth Angel, ex House of Lords, Impellitteri) on drums. Fourteenth studio album for Flotsam since the classic debut "Doomsday for the Deceiver" in 1986.
So if you have been sleeping under a rock the past few years and didn't check out the previous two albums, and anything since say "Cuatro" in 1992,... why not? Yes the new music, and their middle period from 1995-2012, is also of value, and at times high value. Here is another case in a band from the 80s who is unfortunately always measured by their classic albums, with newer, brand new music that can be as good.


The title track attacks with savagery of the dragon from the album art without any loss of sense of structure or melody in the music or vocals. I mean it even has a classic mid pace power metal melodic hook with thrashy verses. Great twin guitar, and bass, during "Burn the Sky", and how catchy is that riff in "Brace for Impact". Fourth track in, 'A Place to Die", maintains the intensity, and boy is Mary killing it behind the kit. And Eric's voice is strong and melodic as ever, and those twin guitars play off each other and fit like a new pair of socks and sneakers.
"The Walls" pulls back on the speed for a steady mid pace with more room for the chorus, setting up for a Maiden-ish melodic epic begun "Cry For the Dead" where Eric even sings with an almost Dickinson type tone at times. "The Wicked Hour" and "Too Many Lives" drive in a more modern Nevermore, Arch Enemy type riff. "Grey Dragon" is back to more classic 80s Flotsam aesthetic with the guitar and bass interplay, while closer "Seven Seconds 'til the End of the World" balances between touches of black metal guitars and orchestra accents with the melodic elements.
All killer, no filler!, and wow, could there be more shredding on this album?

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