Review: Flotsam And Jetsam – The End Of Chaos

AFM Records (January 18th 2019)

Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

In many ways Flotsam and Jetsam are not only one of the heavyweights of the Thrash Metal, a band during 90’s for me far ahead of their time but also one that has so often been underrated in the genre. Something that has perhaps become quite a common thread in reviews I write, but something that could again hold back an album like this is the current need for immediacy in music, and perhaps to a certain extent the older generation that see’s their free time reduced and therefore the ability to sit and properly listen to music is no longer there, this again is an album you need to live with a bit.

What we have grown to expect from this band is a more mature often melodic style of Thrash, well written songs and it’s always most importantly tight as hell and Metal. The band have always had one of the more original sounding vocalists in Erik A.K, and that is still true today. To have existed as a band for 38 years is no easy feat in itself, and there has been a fair share of ups and downs, but to continue to make albums of this quality is a great sign of the hard work they continue to put in. Having listened to the album a lot over the last few weeks it just continues to grow on me, the songs stay fresh and I haven’t wanted to put it down, it’s on constant rotation as I travel around the City and that is never a bad sign.

Of the eleven tracks on offer here you will be grabbed by the power of ‘Control‘ which is just class, everything in proportion, pounding drums, screaming guitars and a layering that just drives it all home, there’s a nice anger in Erik’s vocal delivery on this one too that fits perfectly to the tune. Alongside this we’ve got other highlights including ‘Demolition Man‘ which a really nice bass line, spitting guitars, it’s another no holds barred track and ‘Unwelcome Surprise‘ which just smashes you right in the face and keeps going, pacey, crunchy goodness. Going to be really interesting what they pick from this album to their live set as there are many options.

This is another excellent release from a band that never really went away but appear to have become totally reinvigorated in recent years, there’s power, control and just some really excellent tracks that have translated brilliantly in the live environment. F&J will be hitting the UK in March with Overkill and again in July for the Amplified Festival. Do yourself a favour and get this one, if you are a fan of Thrash, heavy music or just good music, this is one that is sure to satisfy a lot more than just old school fans. Top stuff from a band all too often referred to as the one Jason Newsted left to go to Metallica, they have continued to be relevant in a scene where so many of their peers lost the creative spark many years ago. 2019 sees a band with a great lineup that seems to be working so well together, creatively and live, plenty more to come from this band.

Flotsam And Jetsam release their blistering new album The End Of Chaos‘ on 18th January on AFM Records.

They’ve just released their last teaser before the album comes out, and you can check out the Lyric Video for ‘Control

Pre-order The End Of Chaos here: http://smarturl.it/TheEndOfChaos

Flotsam And Jetsam – The End Of Chaos Biography
Hell no!“, Flotsam And Jetsam’s master behind the microphone Eric “A.K.” Knutson exclaimed when asked if this was the band’s final swing of the axe! ‘The End Of Chaos‘ certainly could be construed that way title-wise. But what do you do when you unleash arguably the finest hour in your 30-plus year career (2016’s genius Flotsam And Jetsam)? You head back to the dark n’ dusty garage to keep that momentum going. Let’s get one thing straight. Flotsam And Jetsam are a true anomaly in the annals of heavy metal history. The most under-rated entity in heavy metal history. Period.

True fighters, the Phoenix-based five-piece led by originals A.K. and guitarist Michael Gilbert (along with longtime bassist Michael Spencer, guitarist Steve Conley and drummer Ken Mary) have been doing battle in the trenches since the early ’80s. And although people point to their first album (1986’s Doomsday For The Deceiver ) as a game-changer, the band didn’t need the first (and only) 6K rating in Kerrang!’s history to gain accolades. There was much more to come, a helluva lot more. And without the ghost of Jason Newsted hovering – he jumped onto the Metallica freight-train just after the debut was released – Flotsam And Jetsam were off and running.

A.K.’s vocals are what makes our band and who we are,” Michael Gilbert hits the nail on the metal-head. “He’s very unique, there is nobody else like him. He’s a fantastic singer. But the dude gets better and better.” So, no, The End Of Chaos is far, far from the end. Flotsam and Jetsam – the album – saw a band firing on all cylinders, writing/performing years younger than a band with three decades of power and glory notched on their bullet belts.

The End Of Chaos is loaded with 12 crushing songs that clock in at nearly 50 minutes, so for traditional thrashers there is plenty bone to chew on. Like a prize-fighter that refuses to kneel down, Flotsam And Jetsam tread onward with black eyes and bloody noses. It’s the youthful exuberance and a certain ‘we don’t give a flying fuck about age or time’ mentality. And the kinetic energy that they exude on stage is quite contrary to their street persona.

The End Of Chaos‘ lead-off track ‘Prisoner Of Time’ blasts out of the gate with a frenzied rhythm section filled with a hearty dose of Mary-mastery double-bass, as A.K. screams with passion “Live your life without regret, don’t be a prisoner of time.” And time has been very kind to these legends, despite the roller coaster highs and lows.
This album kills!” says Ken Mary. “It’s all five guys with the gas pedal pushed to the floor for the entire album!”

The End Of Chaos‘ is “our heaviest release yet and can’t wait to share the chaos across the globe,” Michael Gilbert says with complete and utter confidence. And his riffs are his bragging rights. There is not one moment to take a deep breath as closer “The End” sees Flotsam And Jetsam at the top of their game once again. Each member feeding off each other’s undying emotions, and collectively they are unstoppable. “I can see the end is taking over and it always brings me down,” A.K. recites with majestic grace. Yes, it’s bleak, but have you taken a look outside lately? But that’s the beauty. The angst and anger is an outlet. And for those with Flots ‘Til Death tattooed on their headbanging forehead, we welcome the discomforting comfort.

“We’ve been through a lot of crap,” A.K. closes. “For a while I had a lineup with me that was just together to go out on vacations then have the promoters pay for it. And it’s a little different now, we are back to a real band making a stab at growing and becoming a bigger entity in the music industry. Our goal in writing a record, is to put out the coolest music we
can. The End Of Chaos hits the mark
.”

Line up:

Eric “AK” Knutson (Vocals)

Steve Conley (Guitar)

Michael Gilbert (Guitar)

Michael Spencer (Bass)

Ken Mary (Drums)

 

Flotsam And Jetsam release their new single and official video for ‘Demolition Man‘,the second track taken from their new album ‘The End Of Chaos‘ which is set for release 18th January.

‘The End of Chaos‘ will be released by AFM Records on January 18th, 2019 and is the fourteenth album in their more than 30-year of band history.

This album kills! It’s all five guys with the gas pedal pushed to the floor for the entire album!” states Ken Mary
“It was cool to have a new element of influence on this album with having Ken’s drum parts to partner with and play in and around his playing that also do with the guitars and vocals. Glad to have had Jacob Hansen bringing this album to the overall sound and energy it has, Jacob really highlights AK’s vocal melodies, as well as Steve and Michael’s songwriting, while the power of the rhythm section drives the songs.”  Michael Spencer

The album will be available as Digipak, clear orange, gatefold vinyl (ltd. to 450 units), black gatefold vinyl (ltd. To 450 units), ltd. picture vinyl (ltd. to 500 units), gold black splatter gatefold vinyl and limited boxset’s with T-shirts which is available here

Tracklist:
01 Prisoner Of Time
02 Control
03 Recover
04 Prepare For Chaos
05 Slowly Insane
06 Architects Of Hate
07 Demolition Man
08 Unwelcome Surprise
09 Snake Eye
10 Survive
11 Good Or Bad
12 The End

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AFM Records are excited to present the new video single ‘Recover‘ from the mighty Thrash Metal veterans Flotsam And Jetsam.

‘The End of Chaos‘ will be released by AFM Records on January 18th, 2019 and is the fourteenth album in their more than 30-year of band history.

This album kills! It’s all five guys with the gas pedal pushed to the floor for the entire album!” states Ken Mary
“It was cool to have a new element of influence on this album with having Ken’s drum parts to partner with and play in and around his playing that also do with the guitars and vocals. Glad to have had Jacob Hansen bringing this album to the overall sound and energy it has, Jacob really highlights AK’s vocal melodies, as well as Steve and Michael’s songwriting, while the power of the rhythm section drives the songs.”  Michael Spencer

The album will be available as Digipak, clear orange, gatefold vinyl (ltd. to 450 units), black gatefold vinyl (ltd. To 450 units), ltd. picture vinyl (ltd. to 500 units), gold black splatter gatefold vinyl and limited boxset’s with T-shirts which is available here

Tracklist
01 Prisoner Of Time
02 Control
03 Recover
04 Prepare For Chaos
05 Slowly Insane
06 Architects Of Hate
07 Demolition Man
08 Unwelcome Surprise
09 Snake Eye
10 Survive
11 Good Or Bad
12 The End

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helstar

Texas old-school metallers Helstar have announced they’re to tour USA this November/December with Flotsam and Jetsam and Hatchet. The tour is presented by Bravewords.comHelstar released their new album ‘Vampiro‘ on August 26 via David Ellefson‘s EMP Label Group.

James Rivera says: “So as the world turns. Here you go my friends. The kind of tour I have been waiting for a life time for! Funny thing is it couldn’t get any closer to home since I once filled in and sang with Flotsam myself. Wow! This is going to be one hell of a full on metal show. So for all of you who are into the real shit! This is the tour you do not want to miss! Vampiro is very happy and looking forward to transforming as many souls possible!!!

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'Flotsam And Jetsam'

Flotsam And Jetsam have released their first full video promo for the track ‘Life Is A Mess‘ off their new self-titled album.

Flotsam And Jetsam is a band from Phoenix, Arizona with a legacy that goes back well over 30 years.  Originally signed to Metal Blade records in the mid 80’s, the band released their highly acclaimed debut ‘Doomsday for The Deceiver‘ in July of 1986.   At this time the band consisted of Eric AK Knutson (Vox), guitarists Michael Gilbert and Edward Carlson, and founding members Kelly David Smith (Dr) and bassist Jason Newsted.  Soon after the release of DFTD, Newsted left the group to join Metallica shortly after the passing of their bassist Cliff Burton.   Shortly after, Flotsam hired bassist Michael Spencer (Sentinel Beast) and continued to tour and write for their next album, ‘No Place For Disgrace‘.

In May of 1988 NPFD was released on Elektra records, but not without member changes once again in the bass department.  Troy Gregory soon took over for Spencer who departed after a fall 1987 tour.  Spencer would return years later.  Even with the line-up changes, NPFD proved to be a thrash masterpiece that was embraced by fans around the globe. The band would even re-record this album a few decades later.
Flotsam’s next record ‘When the Storm Comes Down‘ followed in 1989 on MCA, and it’s exhausting tour schedule caused Gregory to depart by the end of the album cycle.

In 1992, the band released another landmark record in ‘Cuatro‘, along with new bassist Jason Ward.  This lineup finally solidified the band for a good 5 years and also became known to fans as the ‘Cuatro lineup‘.  Over the course of the next few years the band would release the albums ‘Drift‘ and ‘High‘ before drummer Smith and guitarist Gilbert decided to depart for personal reasons.

Over the course of the next decade Flotsam And Jetsam stayed the course with Eric AK and Ed Carlson being the only members from the “80’s era”, and released four more studio albums with drummer Craig Neilsen and guitarist Mark Simpson and Ward through the late 2000’s.

In 2011, Gilbert and Smith returned to the band along with the rumour that Newsted might rejoin as well.  Due to personal commitments, Newsted stayed out, Ward stayed in, and the ‘Cuatro lineup’ released ‘Ugly Noise‘ in December of 2012.  Shortly after touring for the record, Carlson left due to shoulder pain and was replaced by Steve Conley from the band F5.  Ward left shortly into the tour cycle only to be replaced by the returning Michael Spencer.  Throughout 2013 and 2014 the band did more touring to once again re-establish their career, and re-recorded and released the classic ‘No Place for Disgrace‘ album.   Shortly after touring for NPFD 2014 original drummer Kelly Smith left once again and was replaced by longtime friend Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall) in the winter of 2014.

In theory, the band Flotsam And Jetsam started in January 2015 when Eric AK, Mike Gilbert, Michael Spencer, Steve Conley and Jason Bittner got in a room together to start rehearsing for upcoming 2015 European tour dates, and to commence writing for the band’s next record.  Initially the band concentrated on the back catalogue and most recent setlists to make sure the touring obligations would be fulfilled, and the band was comfortable playing together.  Soon after, the band focused on it’s writing and started pre-production for the new songs that were taking shape.  After a 5 month initial writing process, the band completed 18 rough ideas to start having Bittner track drums to.  At first the band thought about a double release, but realized it would be better to concentrate on an album’s worth of killer material by what essentially is a new band with a 30-year history.

After picking the final songs, the band compiled some demos to start gathering label and producer interest.  Shortly following summer festivals, a short US tour, and another fall European headline tour, the band finally secured Chris Collier (Prong/KXM) to produce the band’s “return to form”, as well as AFM records to provide the much needed label support that the metal veterans required.

The end result is the self- titled effort Flotsam And Jetsam which is the culmination of a year of hard work which shows five very distinct personalities and influences come together for the common goal of creating another soon to be metal classic, as well as another pillar in the foundation of a band that has managed to stay alive and current amongst an ever-changing music scene.

Track list:

  1. Seventh Seal
  2. Life Is A Mess
  3. Taser
  4. Iron Maiden
  5. Verge Of Tragedy
  6. Creeper
  7. L.O.T.D.
  8. The Incantation
  9. Monkey Wrench
  10. Time To Go
  11. Smoking Gun
  12. Forbidden Territories

In addition to being available as a digipak CD, the album is also be available as a limited gatefold 2LP edition in black and gold, both limited to 500 copies.

A limited edition boxset (500 copies) will also be released and includes the digipak, a Flotsam And Jetsam flag (official tour backdrop design), patch, printed autograph card, and certificate of authenticity. Order details can be found at the AFM Records Shop.

Line up:

Eric “AK” Knutson – vocals
Steve Conley – guitars
Michael Gilbert – guitars
Michael Spencer – bass
Jason Bittner – drums

Flotsam And Jetsam

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