Flotsam and Jetsam - The End Of Chaos - (9/10)
Published on March 18, 2019
The comeback of the decade continues! I don’t intend to disparage the more experimental works like My God or Unnatural Selection (because I love them too), but Flotsam & Jetsam’s self-titled album, released in 2016, was a hugely successful statement. That year, the Arizonan thrashers proved their relevance and desire to stoke our fires with raging melodic thrash metal the way only they know how. And now, with the launch of 2019’s The End Of Chaos, I truly believe this to be F&J’s prime. Sure, 1988’s No Place For Disgrace is legendary, but I think Doomsday… is a little overrated (there, I said it, hate on a postcard to…). Since 2010, the USA’s most overlooked thrash band have been churning out more rapid-fire fun than ever.
It takes approximately zero seconds to understand what I’m getting at once you start spinning this disc. Opening track “Prisoner Of Time” strikes like a bolt of lightning with blazing speed and catchy vocal lines. The perfect way to remind us of the staying power of F&J without throwing too much at the listener. But once follow-up track “Control” knocks you on your ass with a thousand tons of Flotsam (couldn’t resist), god help your neck! Michael Gilbert is throwing out all his best riffs on this album – and “Control”, along with “Slowly Insane” and “Demolition Man”, is one of his all-time highs. That quickly becomes the focal point of this record. Upon the commencement of each song, I was excited just to hear what the next riff sounded like. They are at once creative, accessible and fit into that F&J niche sound – showing how much of an identity these underrated thrashers really have.
The other focal point, of course, is Eric’s voice. Man, this guy is unstoppable! He doesn’t just stay healthy well into his 50s, he sounds more aggressive and more hungry than ever. Check out his fiery performance in the chorus of “Control”, or his near-screams in “Architect Of Hate”. Impressively gruff, sure, but then his milky tones in the album’s more melodic moments like “Recover” are equally as irresistible. The addition of Fifth Angel drummer Ken Mary has also injected this record with vibrancy. Luckily, the drums are right at the forefront of the mix and really drive the whole momentum – along with the beautifully metallic bass tone. Check out the intro to “Unwelcome Surprise” – that’s how you show off the guitar, bass and drum sounds individually while crafting a captivating introduction (though I wish it kept at a more groovy pace rather than thrashing straight off). Also, the relation between the lyrics and the irregular time signature in the chorus is clever as fuck.
The End Of Chaos is the definition of ‘all killer, no filler’. No fannying about. Just twelve rip-roaring thrash anthems without any discernible dip in quality or energy. Sure, this is nothing special lyrically, but just scream some shit about Flotzilla being ‘the real muthafuckin’ deal’ and I’m happy. Also, that artwork is pretty terrible, but in a way that makes me grin with affection. I can’t finish without mentioning the jewel in the crown: track 4 – “Prepare For Chaos”. Eric’s most feral performance yet, an incredible chorus that I cannot stop thinking about, and an utterly hammering opening riff which will affect your ability to move your neck. My new favourite F&J song for sure. In fact, this is my new favourite F&J album. It’s been about two months since its release so it’s had time to sink in, and the amount of joyous evil fun this album exudes keeps me coming back for more. Here’s to another victory lap!
Prepare for the chaos!
Prepare to die!