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They did the impossible with this follow up - 92%

Xeogred, July 12th, 2008

And that's simply managing to punch out another album that ranks up to their debut, not an easy task at all. Flots & Jets will forever be one of my top favorite thrash bands simply for the fact that they were one of the bands that cemented my passion for thrash when I first dove into the genre, along with such bands like Heathen, Artillery, Whiplash, Overkill's debut, etc. Also just like the previous bands mentioned (aside from Overkill, even though they were ahead of their time), Flots & Jets were one that really took their own spin on the whole thrash thing. This isn't more Exodus Bay Area stuff and it's certainly not influenced by Kreator or anything from the German side of things, it's speedy, incredibly melodic at times, and just all around its own entity. While their debut was something more comparable to speed metal layered with thrash and traditional elements that all fit perfectly, the focus is definitely more geared towards the violent thrashing here.

Just like its predecessor, the overall "tone" to this album is just downright evil at times and rather dark. Maybe not quite like Slayer's stuff or whatever (just an example), but this is definitely pretty damn "metal" and often gives off somewhat of a frightening vibe. Though the production is a little murky and might take time getting used too. It's not like the issue is that it's "thin", that's definitely not the case and you'll be able to see that right off the bat with the monstrous riffs on the first track. The main issue is that everything kind of sounds like it's twisting around in a small blender, but it probably won't bother most. Essentially I'd love to see this get the treatment that their debut got, with a 20th anniversary remaster that patches up these slight issues.

Eric "A.K." Knutson might be the antagonist here for some. Basically, just like their debut his vocals are very melodic and crystal clear, but he again displays that even these kinds of vocalists can still unleash fury and aggression themselves (and to be honest he sounds even more evil here than on the debut). Some thrash fans might not like it, but I can't imagine Flots & Jets first two albums any other way. Personally I'd say Knutson was one of the finest melodic singers in thrash, beating out Toxic's Mike Sanders, Realm's Mark Antoni, and so forth. A big reason being because he had a more dynamic approach to the vocals, so they're changed up quite a bit. Simply put if you enjoy the classic 80's screaming vocalist with the ability to send out soaring epic shrieks, or just totally loved Knutson on the debut, you'll once again enjoy the vocals here.

Yet again the band displays themselves as a single indestructible force. As the songwriting here is really incredible and every member is far from your average joe. The more infamous Jason Newsted isn't around anymore, but what better replacement than Troy Gregory. Flots & Jets gives the bass its rightful mix and does an incredible job at balancing everything around it, if you wanted to hear some awesome bass work Flots & Jets were always one of those bands you needed to check out right away. Kelly David Smith is back on drums and gives off a powerfully dynamic performance, speed and complex structures were no obstacle for him. Finally there's guitarists Michael Gilbert and Edward Carlson, when it came to leads you just didn't mess with these guys. There's also a lot of moments on this album with those rare middle eastern styled rhythms and leads, towards the end of the solo's on NE Terror and then there's I Live You Die which almost sounds like something Artillery would've written for By Inheritance. Why were these kinds of guitars hard to come by (and still pretty much are)? They're totally unforgettable and just kick countless amounts of ass. The entire album is riddled with tons of solo's and leads and at times, some of the songs sound like they're completely lead driven which is always more than impressive.

The album itself is absolutely killer through and through, right off the bat you've got some of the coolest leads I've ever heard with the intro for No Place For Disgrace, some that'd make even the mighty Conan shiver in his boots. This song is just an utter monster, a train wreck of riffs, with a slower segment that showcases Knutson's skills. The tank continues its onslaught with the infamous Dreams of Death (becoming the title of one of their newer albums), this song along with the previous one and even the next song also slows down a bit towards the end, allowing for an insanely cool buildup and crazy shredding. NE Terror is an incredibly varied song and one that'll probably stick after the first time hearing it, the slower droggy segments make it out to be one of the darkest tracks on the list here. The next two tracks Escape From Within and the Elton John cover Saturday Night Alright for Fighting slow things down a bit and in my opinion, I'm not sure what to think of the Elton John cover. Maybe I'd appreciate it more if they placed it at the end of the album, I don't know but it does sound a little odd in the middle of the road. After this it's back to relentless thrashing with I Live You Die quite possibly being my favorite pick here, as I stated before this one has some strong middle eastern styled influences to it that makes it really memorable. Only to be followed up by yet another classic track, Misguided Fortune containing one of the best slower parts on the entire album, with some insanely majestic and soothing leads that'll take you out of this world.

The whole album is just a beast and I also apologize for making so many connections to the debut in this review but basically, if you like this album or their debut and haven't heard the other, it's absolutely essential to check out the one you're missing right away. Both are thrash classics and truly an interesting milestone in the whole genre, as there just wasn't a whole lot out there quite like them. Thrash with quite a melodic focus didn't get much better than this.