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Even Your God finds this forgettable - 47%

autothrall, March 19th, 2012

Of all the ten Flotsam and Jetsam full-lengths to date, My God is easily my least favorite, because even if you strapped me onto a gurney, grafted earphones to my flesh and subjected me to some Pavlovian therapy of rewards for repeated listens, I doubt I could remember a damned thing about it come the following day. It's just that underwhelming, which is sad considering that it features what must be the best production on one of their albums since arguably the debut. Musically, this is a fraction more 'thrash' than Unnatural Selection, but otherwise quite similar with its incorporation of more modern groove metal elements and attempts at a melodic, accessible balance of its elements that might mainstream it. Most notably, there are a lot of clean guitar sequences that sound like wimpy 90s duds circa something like Queensrÿche that disperse the heavier build-ups.

My God frontloads its better content with the solid, mute-strewn melodic thrasher "Dig Me Up to Bury Me", which if nothing else highlights just how much cleaner the record is than any of those to come before, and Eric A.K. Knutson's vocals sound quite good here. However, despite its level of aggression and suitable complexity, there are zero money shot riffs, and the bouncy groove bisecting the tune is quite weak in of itself. "Keep Breathing" is another number that features a few stronger guitar sequences, but the grooves and clean segments don't do the spikes of inspiration much of a service. And then, with both of the following tracks you get more of these proggy cleans that feel all too wimpy for Flotsam; just as numbing as any of the more ballad directed pieces on, say Drift or Cuatro. The leads here are admittedly superior to those found on Unnatural Selection: songs like "Camera Eye" have a sense of excitement to the solos that feels more engaging anything else in their environs, and clearly the addition of Mark Simpson to replace former guitarist Michael Gilbert wasn't a detriment.

Alas, My God suffers heavily from lack of memorable songwriting and more of those everyman, uninteresting lyrics in which they try to craft these clever lines like 'I'd show you all my self esteem/but I lost it somewhere down the road' or 'I don't know if I'm down in the dumps/But it sure smells like trash to me'. While I can somewhat agree with the sentiment of the subject, I really don't think Islam, even that practiced by extremists, is quite so easy to pigeonhole as they do in the title track. "Trash" in general is a pretty dumb prog metal song, and the acoustic/blues version included as a hidden track is even more regrettable. At best, this is painfully average and fizzles out considerably after the first few tracks, never to restore itself or compel the listener to give a damn. Like Unnatural Selection, it seemed a bit out of touch with everything else going on around it, and the best I can say is that this would be the last album to feature that shitty logo they started using on High. Perhaps it isn't completely terrible, but My God is best avoided unless you really, REALLY loved Unnatural Selection, Drift and Cuatro.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Bringing Thrash Into the 21st Century - 89%

pinpals, June 26th, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam, best known as former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted's original band, never seemed to be able to pull themselves together enough to put together a truly classic album. Oh sure, their first two albums were quite good, but were hampered by vocalist A.K.'s sub-par screechy yelps and the metal-lite production that makes many riffs hard to differentiate. The following years were filled with mostly mediocrity (or worse), punctuated by moments of brilliance.

Things certainly weren't looking promising with the release of "My God" in 2001, especially considering that their previous album was "Unnatural Selection." Flotsam and Jetsam have again changed their sound and have come with a 21st century hybrid of what modern thrash could sound like. Included with the heavy riffing are melodic breaks with clean guitars that add atmosphere while still sounding relatively sinister (Mercyful Fate this is not...). A.K., who has been using a more mid-ranged Hetfield-esque tone since "Cuatro" finally nails his performance. The choruses stick like rubber cement and he manages to sound tough, yet passionate at the same time. The lyrics manage to be solid and even clever at times. "Weather To Do" describes a madman's thoughts by personifying weather. The only negative aspect of A.K.'s performance is the rapping that occurs in a couple of songs, but even then it isn't too bad and there's definitely worse out there.

Even though the excellent opener "Dig Me Up To Bury Me" hints that this will be a full-on thrash album, the rest of the album expands the idea of what thrash can be (sounding like a blueprint for what some modern thrashers like Lazarus A.D. would come up with 8 years later). They do this without taking the easy way out of using stale groove riffs and breakdowns. Certainly there's nothing groundbreaking to be found, but this album manages to be different, yet still highly enjoyable. This album also marks the return of guitar solos. There are six in the opener and the solo in "Weather To Do" is fantastic. The title track combines everything that is right about this album into a succinct, 5:00+ song.

It's a shame that this band disassociates itself from this album and largely ignores it in their live sets, because this is one of the best things that Flotsam and Jetsam have done as a band. Fortunately for you, the buyer, this can easily be found at a relatively cheap price. I would love to go see the band perform these songs live, because I'm sure that they kill, but I won't hold my breath. Considering how lackluster the following album is, this appears to be a one-and-done deal. Too bad...

Not nearly as good as their 80’s material - 68%

Metalwontdie, June 25th, 2009

In 1986 Flotsam & Jetsam released their most accomplished work “Doomsday for the Deceiver” one of the best Thrash Metal albums of 1986 the best year for thrash. My God sounds so much different than Doomsday and No Place for Disgrace (Their sophomore Album) that you could say it is played by a completely different band, which is partially true since Eric A.K. is the only original member still left in the band. My God sounds like a cross between Groove Metal and Classic Metal with a very melodic sound and thrashing moments hear and there.

My God has many weak moments throughout and is certainly no nearly as high quality as the above mentioned albums. First off Eric A.K.’s voice isn’t what it used to be, he used to be able to pull off very high notes in a much more classic metal vibe. Now all he does is sing in a much lower tone in a more grunge style. Secondly most of the material on My God is just down right boring and forgettable. I.A.M.H. is easily the worst song on the album it’s just over thirteen and half minutes, a big part of the song is when the band stops playing but the song is still recording, I hate when bands do that, and to top that off the song ends with acoustic version of Trash what a pointless song. Finally the overall length is just over an hour way too long for this album.

My God overall is a decent album at best with a great amount of filler and many boring moments. My God could have been better if they trimmed off about twenty minutes and 4 songs. Best songs Dig Me Up to Bury Me, Camera Eye, My God, and Frustrate. I recommend this album only to the die-hard Flotsam & Jetsam fan only

-10 points Eric A.K.’s vocal performance is sub par compared with his earlier recordings
-10 points My God has too many songs and its length is too long
-12 points Most of the songs are filler and have very little replay value

Solid Thrash with some prog elements - 85%

Nietzschean, June 16th, 2009

If it’s one thing that I cannot stand, it’s shitty Thrash metal. It is quite painful to see such an absolutely amazing genre perverted by incredibly poor vocals, lazy guitar work, etc. As I was going through my collection of Thrash metal albums earlier I have come across several albums plagued by these very defects. I came to “My god”, by the band Flotsam and Jetsam on my list and for some reason I had it marked as 1 star across the board. I decided to give them one more listen before deleting them and I am damned lucky I had done so.

The album is riddled with impressive guitar work that is technical in spots and heavy in others. If you were to omit the vocals from the album, it would still be worth the listen simply due to the absolutely powerful guitar work throughout this album. Combining the elements that have made the band popular among the Thrash metal crowd, with the progressive attributes sought after by most people getting into metal post-2000, Flotsam and Jetsam ushers in a significantly more attuned sound than the average Thrash band.

The first track of the album is an incredibly enigmatic song riddled with thought-provoking vocals (dig me up and bury me makes you think about the prospect of such an act literally occurring) and lightning fast guitar playing. The solos in the song are honestly worth the effort of attaining this album by themselves. The following two songs continue the tradition of thrashing your face off whilst offering an incredibly gloomy atmosphere through the less-than-sunny vocals.

“Weather to Do” is definitely the most progressive song on the album. This song isn’t something that is revolutionary to the genre, nor is it a song that will go down as one of the best by the band but it is certainly worth mentioning and is a nice change of pace from the songs leading up to it (it effectively serves as a bridge for the album.)

The rest of the album alternates between progressive songs and incredibly fast Thrash songs, which is a nice dichotomy I haven’t really seen on albums like this. The only real weakness of the album is the last song which is incredibly lame. Every time I see a good album like this finish on such a weak note I wish I had a way of just hacking that song off the album like the benign tumor that it is as to preserve the robust work that this album is.

My God! - 91%

Agonymph, February 22nd, 2006

Never has there been an album title that described my feelings towards the album as good as Flotsam And Jetsam's 'My God'. That phrase was pretty much the first thing I thought when I heard it! Flotsam And Jetsam has made some decent records in the past (with 'No Place For Disgrace' and 'Drift' being my favorites), but what the band does on 'My God' is pretty much beyond what I could ever believe from the guys.

'High' and 'Unnatural Selection' in my opinion showed a band, which was still trying to hang on to what they did in the past, but lacked the conviction the band needed to have the right to survive. Flotsam And Jetsam seemed to be releasing that last bit of energy they still had inside them and even the addition of a new guitarist (Mark T. Simpson) and a new drummer (Craig Neilson) on 'Unnatural Selection' didn't seem to help to revive the band.

But that's all in the past now! 'My God' is an unbelievably fresh, heavy and modern effort which gives Flotsam And Jetsam the right to survive in the 21st century. Instead of trying to hang on to their Thrash/Speed Metal roots rather forced, there are plenty of more modern songs to give this album a powerful edge which is so hard to resist.

Don't expect Flotsam And Jetsam to have gone Nu-Metal with this album or anything! Everything but that. But there are just really heavy, slightly more rhythmical tracks like 'Keep Breathing' and the atmospherically constructed 'Nothing To Say', one of my personal favorites, which still contain the great elements of the best Flotsam And Jetsam songs: the great guitar riffs, cutting through everything, the stunning guitar solos and on top of that Eric A.K.'s flawless vocals, he just tries a slightly more rhythmical approach every now and then (just check out the verses to 'Nothing To Say'). Modern in the sense of, let's say, Nevermore and maybe Shadows Fall, but then better.

There are still plenty of Thrash/Speed Metal songs to keep the old school Flotsam-fan satisfied. Opener 'Dig Me Up To Bury Me' is a true kick in the face in that way. Lots of breathtaking guitar solos, fast rhythms, heavy guitar riffs...it's still undeniably Flotsam And Jetsam, it just sounds a lot more spontaneous than on the previous records. The same goes for 'Camera Eye'. "Is it 1988 again?" No, it's 2001, but the band just comes up with these amazingly thrashing riffs and the listener can't help but bang his head. Gotta love that amazing drumming by Craig Neilson! The title track is also a great Thrash song like it's supposed to sound, just with a more catchy chorus than what you might be used to. Can't help but love it.

Another stand-out track is the song 'Trash' (yes, that's the right spelling, there's no "h" forgotten). I'm sure Metal purists will really hate this song (as they might hate most of the album), but to me, it's a great, atmospheric track with Eric A.K. showing off what an magnificently talented singer he is. Nicely structured as well. Probably one of the best Flotsam And Jetsam songs ever written. The album also contains a hidden track after the beautiful closing instrumental 'I.A.M.H.', it's an acoustic version of 'Trash'. A lot of people hate it. I love it. It's almost as good as the original!

My final compliment goes out to the great lyrics. From what I understood, the band's manager Eric Braverman has vanished from the scene and Eric A.K. started writing his own lyrics again and to be honest, he should have done that earlier, it's a breath of fresh air that positively influenced the album.

All together, this makes 'My God' my personal favorite Flotsam And Jetsam album. It will be hard for the band to ever equal this album, but they have made a product they should be really, really proud of. If you like Metal, but would like to step outside of the prefabricated circle just a little bit, try this one out. I don't think you're going to regret it.