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A Look Back Into The World of 1986 - 96%

MetalMegalomania, May 5th, 2019

Let’s take a dive back to 1986, where times were simpler and we didn’t have all the damn subgenres to worry about. Part of the second wave of American thrash metal, Flotsam and Jetsam are often washed up in the wake of Metallica and Slayer’s popularity. Here’s a dig at the band’s debut, with a close eye on all of the metal history going on in the background.

Here’s a little pertinent underground music history for everyone out there. As we all know and love, the “Big Four” of thrash metal (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) popularized thrash metal along their separate career paths during the ‘80s and early ‘90s. While achieving radio time and undergoing massive tours managed to gain them a steady fan following, a set of younger kids were also corrupted, of which would become a lot of aspiring musicians. This setup is where the aforementioned “second wave” term derives from, as well as its other variations. Metallica and other bands being the first wave, of course.

Essentially, all of the pimple-faced freaks listening to the Big Four’s early output were inspired, and wanted to top the efforts of their big brothers (collective big brother?). And for the most part, they did, at least in terms of overall quality. In terms of fame and fortune, not so much.

This situation offers an outright treasure trove for the music historians of today’s age. If you’re into lesser-known thrash music (along with speed metal, death/thrash, and other similar styles), there’s an overabundance of quality albums that released somewhere between 1986 and 1992, roughly. Flotsam and Jetsam’s Doomsday for the Deceiver is one of the shiny gold coins in the proverbial treasure trove at hand.

I’ll be the first one to admit that the band’s lure is in major part due to Jason Newsted’s contributions, and his legacy which would follow. For those out of the loop, Jason Newsted replaced Metallica’s legendary bassist Cliff Burton following his death during the band’s fatal bus crash in 1986. Burton was the only member to suffer fatal injuries, and Metallica made a split decision between retiring the band in his honour, or continuing within his legacy. They ultimately chose the latter of course, with the help of Newsted who served as Metallica’s bassist from 1986 to 2001.

I actually discovered Flotsam and Jetsam through this very inter-band link, and they will almost be held near and dear to my heart, as they were the first band I ever actually “discovered” on my own. With the story now told, we’ll dig into the album and why I believe it to be so good.

Doomsday for the Deceiver is embedded within teenage angst and sexual passion. Okay, that’s my way of saying that sexual themes are fairly prevalent here as the record was made by a bunch of boys during their coming of age. Wait! Don’t leave yet. The beauty of this release is that this unorthodox thematic presence is more-so found within the undertones of the music, and thus makes it relatable to the young adult writing this article. You’re probably spinning in your seat reading this, screaming at your computer about how the opening song is unashamedly about oral sex. However, barring this fun jam (which is one of the better songs on the record, I might add), the only other remotely-sexual songs are “U.L.S.W.” and “Desecrator,” of which none are really that overt.

We move on to my second point, which coincidentally ties in to my first point. The album is fairly mature for its time, especially considering that our fine feathered friends we’re probably just in it for the chicks (go back and look at some footage from their earlier concerts, none of them were getting any chicks – man, I miss ‘80s hairstyles). In terms of track setup, the nine songs included are strategically positioned, arguably within the best order (although this is certainly subjective). Opening with the tempo-setting “Hammerhead,” Flotsam and Jetsam follow to unload two more crushing thrash metal numbers, in the form of “Iron Tears” and “Desecrator.” Positioned dead-center, forming an immovable monolith of musical progression and tasteful sonics are the title track and “Metalshock,” both of which manifest within longer song formats, delivering the essence of Flotsam and Jetsam’s unchained sound. Finally, we have a couple of cooldown numbers, then “Der Führer” closes the album with its morbidly anthemic incorporations. I’ll elaborate in a discussion regarding this track Führer below, but more on that later.

In further quest to prove the album’s maturity, I’ll outline another commentary for you. Doomsday for the Deceiver is just so well done. Like I said, the tracklist is setup to deliver a thoroughly-enjoyable ride for the listener. There’s some fast rippers here, some slightly-longer jams, and two ultimate backbone tracks that really hold the thing together. In addition, the instrumentation found is borderline exquisite, as it blends speed metal anthems, thrash-driven guitars, and phenomenal lead guitar work perfectly.

The album is also relatable from a young person’s standpoint. Now I don’t quite think that the following argument includes the idea that older individuals won’t be able to appreciate this album, I just feel like it ties more easily to life’s newcomers. There was an interesting comment made about Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album, and how you could “hear the pimples on James Hetfield’s face.” This isn’t a proper quote of course, but I remember reading about someone’s recollection of another writer’s comment regarding this somewhere. The quote sounds funny, but you can totally get what he’s saying upon listening to the ‘Tallica debut, as Hetfield’s voice evolves for the good, starting with their second output, Ride the Lightning. I believe a comparison can be made here with Doomsday for the Deceiver.

Vocalist Eric Knutson’s signing ability is unquestioned on the band’s debut, but upon listening to their second full-length (1988’s No Place for Disgrace), you can hear how his delivery matures within the two-year gap. Now, this isn’t to say that his earlier performance is immature, but you can hear the difference. This album is just the project of a group of young dudes who don’t really know all that much about life, but they’ve put together some jams and play a show here or there. Sure, oral sex and headbanging may be included within the category of prevalent themes for the album, but I totally get it as a young adult who once used to be there (who am I kidding, we’re all still there).

On the contrary, more thought-provoking themes are also abundantly present, albeit sometimes mixed with the aforementioned pubescent inclusions. “Iron Tears” is about love, attraction, and the heart’s ability to cope with infatuation. “Doomsday for the Deceiver” (there’s such a nice ring to that title, eh?) includes lyrics about princes, power, and corruption within a leader’s hands. There are just many interesting themes to be dissected throughout, which one would think to be oddly positioned against the opposite themes mentioned above, but the combination works just because you can tell that the band is experimenting with a whole slew of sounds and themes, and this is what they came up with.

My culminating segment pertains to the public’s perceived notions about metal music. What I’ve observed over my years as a fan of heavy tunes is that newcomers to the genre (or rather close-minded people) tend to jump to conclusions regarding the genre’s themes. I’ve included this discussion as two of the songs on Doomsday for the Deceiver trigger this issue, those being “Desecrator” and “Der Führer.” The former includes commentary on lustful impulses, including the lyrics “a moment of lust destroys the bond,” which I believe aptly summarizes the song’s themes. The latter is the more offending relative piece, as it discusses Hitler and his reign during World War II, incorporating a “Sieg Hail, all hail” chant twice during the song. If someone were to come across this track, their preconceived notions about the “devil’s music” will be further confirmed through the blasphemous chanting of a Nazi salute. However, through a quick listen/read of the lyrics, it becomes obvious that the track is meant to mock Nazis and their inhuman desires of conquest, be it regarding European takeover or anti-Semitic slaughters. The band didn’t think twice about including such a track back then. Unassuming listeners may have cared, but the band freely included these themes within their music as it expressed their opinions, and to be honest the chant is a great addition from a musical perspective. No one would dare do something like this in the modern age due to political correctness and the public acting without thinking. Just a thought.

Check the album out, its an interesting piece of metal history cemented within a fairly specific time. It’s a worthwhile listen.

...she gave her father forty-one - 89%

Felix 1666, November 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Roadracer Records

The debut of Flotsam and Jetsam has become a classic. Even the ultra-shitty artwork could not prevent its success and this says a lot about the quality of the here presented material. The rasping guitars at the beginning of "She Took an Axe" and the immediately following, elastic riff give the starting signal for the ultimate highlight of the album. This song combines speed and melody in a very coherent manner while avoiding both too complex and too simple structures. The band varies the pace and the intensity during the entire number very skilfully and the strict riffs leave no room for any form of negligence. Even the eunuch-like screams at the end of the song do not affect its impact in a negative way. "She Took an Axe" is my personal classic of this work, but it goes without saying that a masterpiece like "Doomsday for the Deceiver" houses more infectious tunes. But let's make some basic comments at first.

Flotsam's debut belongs to those outputs that reflect the overdose of energy which characterized the pioneering days of speed and thrash metal. Young and healthy guys make music without seeing any sense in limiting themselves. Business plans are completely unknown, expectations of the mainstream do not play a role. The album sounds both energetic and authentic. Back in 1986, the name Flotsam and Jetsam stands for integrity and thirst for action. The output's sound is not perfect, a little bit thin and the bass does not come into its own. Yet "Doomsday for the Deceiver" offers songs that cannot be stopped by a slightly imperfect production. "She Took an Axe" only marks the tip of the iceberg.

Two monuments stand in the centre of the album, the title track and "Metalshock". Due to my affinity for rather straight and non-opulent eruptions, they do not belong to my personal favourites. But they reflect a musicianship which is anything else but a matter of course in view of the fact that we are speaking about debutants. The single parts of the meticulously designed tracks are very competently interlinked. And, to avoid misunderstandings, I don't say that these almost dramatic pieces do not hit the mark. Both have great melodies and do not lack heaviness and power while avoid repetitive parts. Yet this album is filled to the brim with outstanding tunes and so these good songs have to face an overwhelming competition.

The trio at the beginning mirrors the less complex side of the band in a very compelling way. "Hammerhead" constitutes a natural-born opener, not only in view of its classic chords at the beginning, but also with regard to its powerful and swift drive. The following two pieces, as well as "U.L.S.W." and "Der Führer", underline the ability of the group to fire off uncompromising and compact thrashers. Okay, the lyrics of the latter are slightly irritating ("Zeig Heil" instead of "Sieg Heil" and "Holocaust, twelve millions dead" - usually, historians speak of 6 million victims; anyhow, a shocking number), but this doesn't matter at all. More important is the fact that all these tracks convey the feeling of enthusiasm, joy of playing and metallic credibility. Since the Ice Age, my thesis is that all these young thrash bands stimulated each other in the pioneering days and Flotsam and Jetsam belonged to those groups that knew how to make the best of it. Compared with other great debuts of this time, it gets obvious that Flotsam had found their own sound at a very early stage. They did not copy the sharpness of Exodus, they were not interested in Satanic vibes that were spread by Possessed; the brutality of Dark Angel was not their cup of tea and they let John Cyriis alone with his aliens. Maybe "Doomsday for the Deceiver" can be used as the link between the slightly more aggressive first work of Testament and the marginally more melodic debut of Metal Church. This might be musically correct, but it does not justice to Flotsam's remarkable start. "Doomsday..:" stood (and still stands) on its own feet.

The list of deficiencies is very short. The hectic staccato of "Fade to Black" fails to impress me and "Flotzilla", which is on my CD, but not on the LP version, is a rather dubious extra, because it is among these instrumentals that appear somehow half-finished. Furthermore, its position after "Der Führer" does not fit the arrangement of the tracks, because the conflagration of the anti-Hitler-song leaves nothing but scorched earth and is therefore an actually very good closer. So what. "Doomsday for the Deceiver" is an essential work for every speed and thrash fan who wants to understand the spirit of the eighties - and for those who want to experience that Eric A. K. once was able to deliver some very high-pitched screams.

Monumental - 100%

Dungeon_Vic, January 22nd, 2016
Written based on this version: 1987, CD, Roadrunner Records

This is one of the very few albums that can be cited as a classic speed metal album in the fullest sense. Speed is really one of the key attributes on this album.

More specifically, this is a speedy melodic thrash metal album. Calling it a Thrash/Power (US) album would also be quite accurate.

Back in the day, this album created a lot of stir. For starters, this album was the only album that received a 6K rating (out of 5) in the (then) very influential Kerrang! magazine. It was also the album that made Jason Newsted known to the metal audience before he joined Metallica. Another notable characteristic was Eric AK, the band's singer, who puts on a very impressive performance, especially with his high pitched screams, which he utilizes a lot, according to some, perhaps too much (not me!). But above all, it made quite an impression for its unique style and excellent songwriting.

What is really impressive about this album is the sheer ambition displayed by the group. This is highlighted by the two epics featured in the album, the self-titled track and Metalshock, clocking over 9 and 8 minutes respectively, which is quite impressive considering they are both speed metal numbers. Both songs showcase the band's strongest attributes: Excellent musicianship, brilliant songwriting and tons of character, greatly supported by the warm sound, courtesy of Metal Blade's prominent producer, Bill Metoyer. They also share structure. Both begin by beautiful acoustic intros that build up to a speed metal frenzy, a middle solo section and a climactic ending. Look out for the bass part in Metalshock by Jason Newsted, a groovy speedy riff that is joined and accentuated by the guitars to create a really memorable section.

Equally memorable are the opener Hammerhead (a speed thrash dynamite that immediately displays all classic Flots elements), Iron Tears (with the indulgence in Eric's screams in the intro!), the true thrash banger Der Fuhrer (perhaps the solo section in the intro could have been a seperate track) and the (once again) speedy narration of the Lizzy Borden story, where Eric AK steals the show, what an outro!

The CD version also contains the instrumental Flotzilla (originally released on a seperate EP on vinyl), which is a great collection of characteristically Flotsy(!) riffs that represents the green monster of the same name. Flotzilla is featured on the album cover crashing Satan, in a very Maiden-esque fashion. The instrumental and the two epics mentioned above also form a trilogy, beginning with the birth of Flotzilla (Metalshock) and the fight against the devil in the post-apocalyptic world depicted on the cover. Quite naive and deliciously absurd in the lyrics, Flotzilla is born because of power metal (in 1986 power metal in the US meant Ride the Lightning or Metal Church...) and the power chords raise the dead! Then the monster crashes satan and all is well. Amazingly, the absurdity of the lyrics is equally matched by the sheer speedy brilliance of the band's perfomance.

This album can also be considered Jason Newsted's highest moment. A real shame that he was so underused in Metallica. Newsted was the main songwriter on this album and he also co-wrote some of the best songs in the following album, No Place for Disgrace.

On a more personal note, Doomsday for the Deceiver is among my top metal albums ever.

A must-have for the fans of old school speed/thrash with an affection for US Melodic metal.

Originally published on

To write the devil's dirge - 75%

autothrall, March 23rd, 2012

I'm about as attuned towards the wonderful wealth of 80s metallurgy as anyone. This was the period in which the personal, prepubescent interest in those rocking records I received as occasional gifts from friends and family flowered into an obsession. Hard rock and metal music no longer flew in with the birthdays and holidays, but became something I actively migrated towards armed with my weekly allowance, paperboy funds and earliest teen paychecks. I've made it no secret that I consider the 1986-1990 period to the most enriched and important across numerous sub-genres, but I'll admit that are certain efforts which might be considered 'sacred cows' to some that I don't hold the same high regard for.

Doomsday for the Deceiver, the Flotsam and Jetsam debut through Metal Blade Records, was one such album. Before I proceed, let me clear up any confusion: this is a good record. I like a number of the songs. In fact, I'd place 2-3 of them among my all time favorites from the band. But despite its novel hybrid of power and thrash metal mechanics, and its place as a launching ground for the career of one of metal's most famous bassists, Jason Newsted, I have simply never found Doomsday all that consistently entertaining or memorable. Part of this is that, in retrospect, I realized just how goddamn great the band would become for its successor. No Place for Disgrace is such a dynamic and inspired beauty of a beast that Doomsday feels 'Plain Jane' by comparison.

Certainly that doesn't make the debut a slouch, but it has never been one of the more distinct, in my opinion, among the burgeoning speed/thrash scene taking place at this time. For example, compare it to Reign in Blood or Master of Puppets. Phenomenal albums. Two of the best I've heard in my life. In any genre. Darkness Descends or Bonded by Blood? Far more aggressive and sinister, making this feel like fluff by contrast. Perhaps a closer correlation would be to Overkill's first two albums Feel the Fire and Taking Over, but as much as I liked Eric A.K.'s style, he was no Blitz when it came to sheer ferocity and charisma, and there are no songs here with the zeal of "Rotten to the Core", "Deny the Cross", 'Electro-Violence". Flotsam's own "Hammerhead" was never quite so fun for me as that other band's "Hammerhead".

But when this album kicks, it does so with a premium gasoline injection. The Arizonans were pursuing an interesting path that placed them somewhere between the West Coast speed and intensity of Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer and the more traditional roots of British influences like Judas Priest. A.K.'s, thin, high tones were not so gravelly or oppressive as someone like a James Hetfield, nor so nasally vicious as Mustaine, but he had this unique, silken frenzy about him akin to Lizzy BOrden which was surely the start of something. Lots of shredding guitars, even some showing off in the intro to "Der Führer" over the glinting acoustic. A hint of the same neo-classical picking influence that Texans Helstar would pursue from around 1986-1989 can cleary be heard on the 9 minute title track epic, which is easily my favorite single song on the entire album.

Of course, I should talk about the bass, which is great and must have been at least part of the reason Newsted got his gig with the big 'M'. Muscular, acrobatic and never content to simply doppelganger the guitars, Jason was all over this, a more demented Steve Harris, audibly louder than the 4-stringers you'd hear on comparable albums, and rightly so. The guy is just nuts on something like "Metalshock". I can't speak so highly of the leads, which I find to be the sort of frenetic excess that rarely provokes memorable lines, but the rhythms are solid and dynamic enough that they earn some points with the explosive quirks through "Desecrator" or the substantial 6 minute instrumental closer "Flotzilla" (the precursor to "The Jones").

Why the album never totally worked for me is just that the songs are not all that great. "Fade to Black" (nothing like the Metallica tune of the same name), "Iron Tears" and "U.L.S.W." (the first of their many acronym song titles) haven't left me with much of an impression. At best, they're average riff patterns molded after Maiden and Motörhead and applied with a severe case of hypertension. Often A.K.'s screams feel unformed and placed into the vocal patterns just for the fuck of it, a pretty common flaw back in those days, where on the sophomore they feel perfectly positioned. The album also feels pretty long at 55 minutes, and I almost wish they'd just trimmed the three songs I listed above.

Granted, "Desecrator", "Doomsday for the Deceiver" and to a lesser extent "Hammerhead" all provide quite a rush of excitement and hint at the sheer riffing potential and wealth of musical proficiency contained in this group, but Doomsday is just not an album I often wish to experience in its fullness. Brian Slagel and his crew (including Bill Metoyer) did a good job of capturing the palpable velocity of the band's performance, but even thinking about this debut makes me long once again for its next eldest sibling. Then again, if I were to face this off against any of the band's post-1988 material it would prove an easy victor, a first round knockout. So I'm loathe to challenge it's cult classic status, because at the very least it's a band rising towards its potential rather than crashing from it.

PS: I'm glad they ditched the 'Flotzilla' mascot, which looked pretty dumb. I'm not opposed to it getting its own instrumental though its place in the lyrics to the title track here slightly soils the song.


Already Mature and Competitive - 94%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, December 2nd, 2008

Destiny always reserved quite unfair things for Flotsam and Jetsam. This band is a bit too overlooked if we are talking about the 80s thrash metal and they don’t deserved it, at least for their first two, awesome albums. Doomsday For The Deceiver and No Place For Disgrace are two great pieces of speed/thrash with an incredible energy and technique. These guys were some of the best musicians in the genre at the time and this debut, Doomsday For The Deceiver showed already great musicianship and complex structures.

For those who aren’t already into this band, a certain Jason Newsted played on their debut album, before being fascinated by money with Metallica and coming back, trying to purify himself with Voivod. Anyway, this debut album is surely one of the greatest outputs ever in the thrash metal field and I’m here with my review to pay tribute to this once great band, before they embraced the groove music at the beginning of the 90s and being submerged by the time that was passing without having received the deserved credit for their first two works.

It’s undeniable; this album contains some of the classics by the band. The long length, the complexity and maturity of the structures displayed an already superior knowledge of the instruments and the music. The thrash metal is melted down and covers also some power/speed metal parts and influences in order to give always the right melody and the powerful support of the instruments. We begin with the superior “Hammerhead” and we can already notice the quantity of riffs, the more melodic vocals by Eric A.K. and the dynamism united to the speed. The bass is relentless in destroying the chords and the more melodic solo by the middle leads to a far more melodic overture to restart in rage.

The two guitarists are unmatchable in both the rhythmic and solo sections. They are precise, technical and incredibly fast with a particular style that is always polished and never raw. To really understand the power of the young Eric at the vocals, check out “Iron Tears” where to the falsetto and the raspy screams, he mixes the always melodic tonalities. The verses and the refrain are always incredibly catchy and fast. “Desecrator” remains on high speed with galloping riffs and the unmatchable screams by Eric. On this song the tempo changes are again more present and they introduce always fast and melodic guitars solos.

“Fade To Black” is a quite different song because the tempo and the riffs conduce to a more traditional metal way of playing. There are less thrash metal parts but everything is always good and with the following title track we return to the long length and to the complex structures. The beginning is by two different arpeggio sections in which the atmosphere changes radically, introducing the power of the other instruments. The feelings are the ones of sadness, obscurity and tragedy. Soon the riffs become faster and more vibrant, passing though different tempo parts and different solos style once again.

“Metal Shock” is on the same dramatic and apocalyptic melodies by the guitars with arpeggios and lead parts. The catchiness is always essential and even the faster, heavier restarts are full of it. Even this time the speed is the main point in which they show all the power in terms of drumming and riffage. The bass drums triplets are always perfect to sustain the longer structures. There are great guitars/bass duets by the middle and soon we must face the direct fist of “She Took an Axe”. The intensity is always high thanks to the relentless riffage and the sudden restarts by the refrain. “U.L.S.W.” is another blow behind the head for speed and speed/thrash energy.

However, the maturity of this band is to notice not only on the music, but also for the lyrics. A classic example is “Der Fuhrer” where they describe the mentality of that disturbed individual and the massacres he did. The music is at first very gloomy thanks to the arpeggios and the solos, but soon it increases in speed and violence. The choruses are a direct reference to the original ones made by the Nazi followers at the time. This song is very evocative and a good point for reflections.

The last “Flotzilla” points again everything on the sheer riffage and the drumming that follows the same schizophrenic style. It’s a perfect instrumental song in which we can really enjoy the awesome and relentless duets by the guitars, ending one of the most sincere and overlooked pieces of thrash metal of the 80s and not only.

Molten thrash metal!!!! - 99%

cravingforvenom, September 10th, 2008

It never fails to surprise me as to why I haven't written a review for this beast of an album yet when the irony is I heard about it for the first time when I happened to open up an old Kerrang issue which spoke about some of the good old years of heavy metal.

As we all know Flotsam and Jetsam is very widely recognized as the band where Jason Newsted got his start, and boy did this album blow or what? Released in the same year as when the big four of thrash metal were basically the talk everywhere in the metal scene and also when Dark Angel released their pounder "Darkness Descends", it's not hard to imagine why this album never got listed on the best debuts of all the time when the fact is it had all the ingredients of being a heavy metal masterpiece. Call it poor marketing by Metal blade or the lack of interest in the masses who only dreamed of the more commercial bands.

Enough talk and let’s get down to some serious song review writing. The album starts off with one of the band's more popular songs, Hammerhead. Starts off with a solid riff followed by a healthy dose of speed and then comes in the vocals of A.K Knutson screaming away "Hello how are you, waiting tonight" which basically signified just one thing. Flotsam and Jetsam had arrived on the scene. A Great kicker of a song to start an album with. Next up is Iron Tears with those insane banshee wails and then a neat little thrash me taller. The show has just begun. We then have the mighty Desecrator and holy cow, this can easily win the maximum votes for being the ultimate thrash metal song of all time, alongside Holy Moses’ Current of Death or even Exumer's Possessed by Fire. The riffing, soloing, speed, lyrics and above all the vocals are absolutely explosive. The next song is Fade to Black which can easily be confused with the song of Metallica off their magnum opus Ride the Lightning, but it’s not. This one's faster, shorter and can be headbanged to.

This finally brings us to 2 epic metal monsters. One is the title track followed by Metal Shock. These songs very well proved that although these guys were young, their songwriting skills were absolutely top tier. Unlike those long drawn epics which can practically give the same effect as a dose of sleeping pills these songs would make you crave for more. Both are timeless absolute classics. Now we have a little tribute to the axe murderess Lizzy Borden called She took an axe which begins with one of the best intro riffs you can ever hear with some superb solos and insanely high pitched wails of A.K. Had Lizzy Borden been alive she would have made this her wake up alarm tune for sure.

Next up is U.L.S.W which has some splendid riffs and soloing but doesn't do much to grab a lot of attention. A good song but not a great one. Next up is a little trip back in memory lane right to the time of World War 2, Der Fuhrer. Starts off with a neat little intro and then comes the magical riff. The chorus is absolutely haunting "Zeig Hail, All Hail". This is easily the most captivating song on the album.
The album comes to an end with a sick instrumental called Flotzilla. The song title could sound a little cheesy at times but trust me, this song can rank as one of the best metal instrumental songs ever written. I would go as far to compare it with the likes of Agent Steel's "The day at Guyana" or even Death Angel's "Ultraviolence"

Overall a splendid album which should have grabbed everyone by the throat but unfortunately never could make that big an impact. If I were to choose the best songs on the album I would have to choose Hammerhead, Desecrator, She took an Axe, the title track and Der Fuhrer

A goddamned masterpiece! - 98%

Wra1th1s, March 24th, 2008

To be honest I had never heard of Flotsam and Jetsam before. Unlike many people I didn't know what band Jasonic was in before Metallica and quite frankly I thought he was useless (don't blame me, blame Jaymz Hetfield and Lar$ Ulrich for making him play suck-ass basslines in 'tallica). I first heard of Flotsam and Jetsam from the UK mag Metal Hammer, which is kind of embarrassing really but since I was new to metal back then (circa 2006-early 2007) I just had to pick up a magazine with Mustaine on the cover proclaiming THRASH IS BACK!!1!eleventyhundred! and whatnot. With that mag came a thrash CD that had some damn fine songs: Pleasure to Kill, Deathrider, Enter the Grave, Mad Butcher are all songs I play constantly to the ire of my parents. Among those songs was Iron Tears.

Flash forward to late 2007 when I discovered MA. Now after reading up on thrash I decided to give ol' Flots a try. Well the rest is just plain, as the previous reviewer said, auditory orgasm. The album is just fuckin' killer and I wondered why Flotsam and Jetsam are not METAL GODS! Yes that's right they're of the same caliber, actually better than, Metallica! Oh and FUCK YOU METALLICA! For squandering Jason's talents cause this album shows that he is more talented than your entire post-Black album career!

But this is a review, and review I shall. The album starts with "Hammerhead" that has an opening that's similar to "Darkness Descends" but without the distortion part, after that the drums kick into high gear and then comes the bass. MY GOD! THE BASS! Clearly this is why Newsted was chosen to replace Cliff, but why the hell did the haze him by mixing his bass out? It doesn't make any sort of sense! Then the guitars, Messrs. Gilbert and Carlson play chords before evolving to absolute god-like riffs! But wait! There's more! They unleash fast, melodic leads until Eric A.K. Knutson takes charge. "Hello! How are you? Ready tonight?/ I'm here to show you" You just have to listen to the man! He, along with Belladonna and Rivera, is one of the few thrashers that can SING! The chorus is so goddamned infectious that I FUCKING DARE YOU NOT TO SING ALONG! Just when you think this song couldn't be more awesometastic(tm) the solos, them beautiful solos, come in and lead you to the direction thrash should have gone in the 90s. None of that groove bullshit, where the music is no more than a tool for Neanderthals to beat their chests to (Vulgar Display of Power my ass!). Then Knutson comes back for the bridge to scream a falsetto Rob "Metal God" Halford would be proud of. One of my absolute favorite openers and a damn fine thrasher.

Then comes "Iron Tears", a song about love or something, and Knutson's falsetto starts the show. You can see why a young metalhead such as I was put-off by this track at first, he is just so over the top! The leads and riffs are again a highlight (love the verse riff). The chorus is also catchier than AIDS and more fun than AIDS. Honestly, why aren't they bigger than Jesus? or at least every damn -core band in existence? This song is another highlight.

After "Iron Tears" comes "Desecrator", not as great as the previous two but not bad either. The drums kind of remind me of "Death is Certain, Life is Not" at times, especially the chorus or thereabouts. Then, WHAT!? A METALLICA SONG? Nay! Although it shares the same title, "Fade to Black" is as different to that as day is to night. This track has more of Knutson's falsettos but it's short. But these guys give you two epics back to back! The title track and "Metal Shock" both clocking in at above eight minutes yet they don't put you to sleep, unlike what this OTHER "thrash" band is writing at the same time (hint: this band had rejects from Metal Church and Exodus *cough*Metallica*cough*). The title track, in particular, is a showcase for Mr. Knutson's vocal gymnastics.

Then comes "She Took An Axe", apparently it's about Lizzy Borden, hmm...imagine that, a song about murderer gee...I don't think it's going to be anything other than brutal thrash. Well you're wrong it's another melodic thrashterpiece which is quickly followed by "U.L.S.W.". No idea what it stands for but it's more thrash! Good god this band can do no wrong! At least for this and their next album.

Then, ZIEG HEIL! ALL HAIL! "Der Fuhrer" ist hier! It's another thrash song about Nazis following in the footsteps of "The Enemy" and "Angel of Death" but this song has what they lack, fantastic leads (Alright "Angel of Death" has a legendary solo but I like this better!) and gang vox that will make you salute like the damn fascist you are! Then comes the "Flotzilla" the only song that doesn't have Mr. Knutson on vox 'cuz it's instrumental. Ah well, it's still a damn good song.

In short: This album has riffs that you can bang-your-head-to-as-if-up-from-the-dead! Leads you can air guitar too and something modern guitarists should learn from (I'm taking notes, you should bloody well do so too!). Vocals that makes you think that a modern day castrati is fronting this band (that's always a plus in my book). Fantastic bass runs. And most importantly, an overall enjoyable listening experience!

Minus points come from the drums. They're just kind of there, but they're solid and don't overwank like Pete Sandoval. Also the vox may not appeal to everybody, but if it ain't you thing then stay away from speed/thrash in general. Plus, the cover art blows it's kind of rough and cartoonish.

There's a reason why there's a ridiculously large re-release package. You only need to read the glowing reviews to see why. BUY IT YE BASTARDS!

Multiple auditory orgasms - 100%

BastardHead, March 23rd, 2008

Just like Diamond Head, Flotsam and Jetsam is a top notch band destined to forever play second fiddle to the media behemoths, Metallica. Diamond Head is sadly remembered as the band that Metallica covered, and Flotsam and Jetsam will forever be known as the band that Jason Newsted played in before joining Metallica after the death of previous bassist Cliff Burton. This wouldn't be so frustrating if both of these bands weren't amazing bands to start with. If it was a couple of half decent bands stuck in the shadow, it wouldn't be nearly as bad. Imagine Judas Priest constantly being overshadowed by Black Sabbath... kind of like that.

Anyways, historical rant aside, Flotsam and Jetsam's earth shattering debut, Doomsday for the Deceiver, ranks as one of the top thrash records of all time. Don't argue with me, I understand the other elements at work, but this is fucking thrash at its finest. It's definitely different compared to Pleasure to Kill or Reign in Blood or other big name releases in the year 1986, but I personally hold this in higher regard than any of the "Unholy Trinity of 1986". But that's also kind of like comparing guavas and electricity, F&J is simply a different style and really shouldn't be compared in the first place.

Doomsday for the Deceiver (henceforth referred to as "Doomsday", to quell the problem of having to write that damn four word name too often) is a blistering, high octane ride through the pits of hell, the apocalypse, your mother's bedroom and back. The riffs are all extremely fast, the only time the album slows down are during the two epics, the title track and Metalshock, and it's because of acoustic passages, which don't necessarily qualify as riffs. The bass is audible, which I always find to be a plus, as it either adds heaviness or excellent counter melodies, depending on the genre. The drumming solid, nothing to toss yourself off about, but not shitty, so that's good.

The real standout, is the vocals. A.K. Knutson has a set of pipes that I would murder to possess. The screeches on the title track just blow my mind. When he's not ripping out powerful falsettos that would make King Diamond blush, he's putting his melodic midrange voice to good use.

In all honesty, this album is perfect. I can't find a single flaw throughout the entire thing. I just sat here for an hour, listening to the whole thing, trying my damnedest to find something wrong, anything at all, and came up short. I had the most negative mindset I could, hell bent on finding any one thing that would warrant me knocking it down a percent or two, just so I wouldn't hand out my third perfect score. But you know what? It's a flawless record. If I ever found myself thinking "this riff might get stale if it is repeated one more time", it fucking changes before I can finish my thought (and for the record, the only time I ever thought that was during the instrumental closer, and the riff changed halfway through my thought). The album never gets boring, it just rips face from start to finish, then afterwards pisses on your corpse. If there is any one thing that I could understand criticism for, it'd be that the intro to the title track takes a little bit of a long while to really pick up. But it develops so well you'd have to have the IQ of broccoli and/or the musical taste equivalent to that of a crippled weasel with Down Syndrome to say that it isn't pure auditory perfection.

I'll cut this here before I gush so much I drown. The vocals are some of the best in the high register I've ever heard, I'm willing to say he may actually put more power behind his voice than King Diamond or Harry Conklin. The riffs are fast and thrashy throughout, and the songwriting is amazing. This record is the equivalent of waking up in a mansion, with Leslie Nielson as your butler, and Euronymous is hanging at the bar with Lemmy, Dio is engaging in a game of basketball against Hervé Villechaize, and all the Playboy Bunnies are in their prime..... in your pool.... naked. To simplify, absolute paradise.

An absolute must hear, and a classic worthy of everybody's ears.

Classic. Period. - 95%

morbert, September 11th, 2007

No, I can’t say this album is overlooked nor underappreciated nor a forgotten classic. Why? Because I haven’t met any thrash metal fan who doesn’t know or doesn’t like this album. Same goes for the reviews here on M.A. All positive! I rest my case. Everyone knows it, everyone likes it. And so it should be. It’s not without reason the album was re-released in 2006 with all that fancy bonus material.

Anyway, what about the album? Yes it has a dude called Newsted on bass but so what. He’s just a tiny element in the magnificence of Doomsday for The Deceiver. With ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Iron Tears’ the album immediately starts off with two of the best songs. Hovering somewhere between classic speed metal and thrash metal with very impressive melodic yet energetic vocals by Erik A.K.
The first line of the album is an instant classic one. ‘Hello, how are you? Ready tonight?’ may look cheesy when written down, but it makes perfect sense and sounds great. The lyrics to Hammerhead are so incredibly funny and ‘Iron Tears’ has such a great pre-chorus and chorus.

The rhythmical verses of ‘Fade to Black’ are pretty cool and the chorus (just shouting the title) is of course very thrash. A next highlight is the title track which can be considered mostly speed metal instead of thrash. The two minute intro is beautiful. A simple melody that never leaves you once you’ve heard it. One of the most memorable melodies on the album. The rest of the song – as said – is very catchy speed metal with a decent lot of breaks, changes and a huge amount of very good riffs.

‘She Took and Axe’ and ‘Der Führer’ are the remaining classics, again combining speed with thrash metal. Can’t imagine any thrash metal or speed metal collection existing without this classic. (this counts for the follow up ‘No Place for Disgrace ’ as well by the way)

Ohw, and by the way: ‘Flotzilla’ wasn’t originally on the album. That one came from an EP.

Overlooked and Underappreciated - 87%

erickg13, October 2nd, 2006

Just as William Shatner will always be known as Captain Kirk, Flotsam & Jetsam will always bee known as the first band of bassist Jason Newsted of Metallica Fame.

Sorry I know that was cheesy but that was the only analogy I could think up.

So many times it has seemed that Flotsam & Jetsam always pulls the shortest straw, whether it be key members such as Jason Newsted leaving the group, being lumped in as Metallica wannabes, or just being considered crap. This is unwarranted, while there is no denying some of the failings and shortcomings of the band, and some of their songs and albums, there is no denying the skill and effort put into their works.

Their debut “Doomsday for the Deceiver” is the best example of this. Heavily influenced by New Wave of British Heavy Metal and earlier thrash bands (most stylistic cues taken from Metallica, ironically), there is no doubt at what they were trying to achieve.

The production is bare bones. It is not bad, it just seems to have weird quirks in the mix. The instrumentation sounds an awful like something from “Kill ‘em All” or “Ride the Lightning”, as if they produced it to sound alike.

Speaking of the instrumentalists, it must be said that these guys are talented. Jason Newsted’s basslines cut threw like a saw and create a main focal point. It’s akin to Iron Maidens basslines but sped up many times faster. The guitarist duo of Edward Carlson and Michael Gilbert are solid at worst, the style played is mildly neoclassical but has a hard thrash edge to it. The drumming by Kelly David-Smith is nothing outstanding, it is pretty much basic thrash. Eric A.K. provides the lead vocals, which are some unholy hybrid of Geddy Lee, Rob Halford and maybe some Bruce Dickinson. The vocals are incredible high and can wear on someone if they don’t like that style.

My two favorite tracks are “Flotzilla”, a dazzling instrumental, and the title track, “Doomsday for the Deceiver”. Both have some incredible solos and just good all thrashy songs. Those two are my favorites, however there are hidden gems such as “Der Fuhrer” and the opener “Hammerhead”. Most of the songs are fairly strong but often times fall victim to sounding too generic.

Overall, Flotsam & Jetsam’s debut album, “Doomsday for the Deceiver”, should NOT be passed up by anyone interested in thrash. Anyone who has some sort of stigma about listening to Flotsam & Jetsam, for whatever reason they have, are missing out on one the better thrash albums ever to be made. While not essential for a thrash collection, it would make the collection more comprehensive. You just might broaden your music tastes if you listen to this album.

Sheer power. - 90%

Static, December 10th, 2005

Someone stupidly I must admit, I stayed away from even hearing Flotsam & Jetsam for a while because of their name, and their 'status' as a relatively obscure starting point for a bassist I didn't even like much based on what I'd heard from him (Jason Newsted). Their name struck me as kinda silly for a thrash metal band and that turned me off checking them out.

But dammit, I was missing out. Their music is fucking explosive. From the moment you put on this album and 'Hammerhead' comes flying at you, the riffs throw you about and Jason's incredible bassline makes you realize why it was that Metallica chose this guy (though he was a waste in that band). Eric A.K's somewhat shrill but powerful vocals come in momentarily, and the thash is strong, consistent and goddamned powerful. They knew what they were doing.

'Iron Tears' follows up strongly too, but is a lesser track, and 'Desecrator' picks up the energy with more powerful riffs and driving playing.

And as it turns out this band has it's own 'Fade To Black', but it's a lot different than Metallica's ballad. This one is a short burst of energy, with a shouting chorus. Next up is the bands finest track, the title one 'Doomsday For The Deceiver'. What a beautiful intro, it's just gorgeous. Swirling acoustic guitars are accompanied by dancing harmonized guitars, slowly building it's way up to a huge explosion of riffs that catches your attention for a further 7 minutes. A triumph.

The rest of the album continues in the same manner as such songs as 'Iron Tears' and 'Fade To Black', with the truly notable exception of the EPIC 'Metalshock'. It clocks in a little shorter than the title track but wields an epic build-up before another burst of power and some crazy bass playing later in the song.

The album is solid through and through with nary a weak-point. 'She Took An Axe', 'U.L.S.W', 'Der Fuhrer', 'Flotzilla'. Each and every one a great song in its own right. I mean jesus, 'Flotzilla' floors you completely, with its hammering riffage, then intricate interplay and dancing of guitars. It's a brilliant instrumental. And Flotsam would continue this little streak of quality with a whole 'nother album of fantastic songs in 'No Place For Disgrace'.

Flotsam & Jetsam, silly name aside, were one of the greatest and most focused and incendiary thrash metal bands. Sure, they aren't Kreator or Sodom in the aggressiveness stakes, but they make up for any of that with a consistency of song-writing and speed, which makes 'Doomsday For The Deceiver' a stunning album overall, through and through.

One of thrash metal's best moments - 93%

Harry_gr, November 17th, 2005

I bet you often read the word underrated in many reviews but it’s the best word to describe this thrash metal masterpiece. This album ranks as high as the best of Metallica, Megadeth, or Anthrax, yet not many have actually listened to it. I suppose marketing, record companies and luck are to blame. And things could be much worse for this band’s fame if their -great- bassist Jason Newsted (you all know him) hadn’t moved to Metallica. At least a few people wanted to discover Newsted’s previous band.
But let’s move to the record itself. It’s pure 1986 thrash metal, fast, with awesome riffs, high-pitched vocals and everything. Don’t let the horrible cover scare you, remember its release date. With track titles like Hammerhead, She Took An Axe and Desecrator don’t expect much from the lyrical side (Note that most of them were written by Jason). Doomsday and stuff, from a naïve perspective, lyrics just aren’t the reason why you buy a thrash album. It’s the music.
And I guarantee that the music on this album is great. Pretty simple and fast all the way. What truly makes this album stand aside though is its wonderful melodic approach to thrash in a very good and creative manner. The songs are real songs and not just riffs and tempo changes thrown in. While bands like Exodus, Slayer and Kreator have nice riffs and tempos their choruses won’t stay in your mind and you can’t remember them a day after. That’s not the case here. Beautiful melodies are everywhere, just check Iron Tears or the whole title track.
That said, it doesn’t mean that the band can’t thrash! They can do it better than most of all. Very good riffs and solos are everywhere. The guitar tone is superb and the bass of Jason excellent and very high in the mix. A very important advantage is the amazing and ultra fast drumming of Kelly David-Smith. The fans of double drum-bass will be very happy to listen to him smashing his kit. Last but not least is the person I consider to be one the best thrash vocalists ever; Eric A.K. In this album his vocal delivery is the best I’ve heard along with early Joey Belladonna. Eric can hit the highest notes with impressive ease and he can actually carry a tune, unlike many other singers of the genre. His voice is beautiful and melodic, while his range is remarkable.
I won’t get into details on the songs as variety pretty much doesn’t exist in thrash with a few exceptions (the most notable of which being Act III by Death Angel). Of the ten tracks Flotzilla is an impressive instrumental, the title track, Metalshock and Der Fuhrer begin acoustically and She Took An Axe (incredible song) slowly builds up. In my opinion the band will never top this. Perhaps because of the departure of Newsted, the lack of the enthusiasm that lifts this album, Eric’s deteriorating voice (unfortunately, just like Belladonna) later albums won’t be as good even though No Place For Disgrace is a very good album.
Creativity, inspiration and enthusiasm along with good musicianship can do wonders in thrash. If you don’t believe me, listen to this one. You won’t be disappointed. One of thrash metal’s best moments.

Forgotten Classic - 92%

BurntOffering, June 11th, 2005

For some reason the only reason the album is remembered is the fact that Jason Newsted played on this album, which is quite sad because this music is pretty much ignored. Released in that special year that we all know was THE thrash year, 1986. This is quite an album, for the most part it's speed metal, but will throw a thrash riff at you here and there.

The album opens up right away with a speedy number entitled "Hammerhead" and right away you'll notice the production value is strange. The bass is very loud, not unlike Iron Maiden, but this just shows us all the great basslines that Newsted serves us in this album. "Iron Tears" is a decent track, it's good but not up to par with the rest of the album. Desecrator is next and this one is some crazy speed/thrash and is one of those catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head. The Lead guitar is really nice on this song, also many nice drum fills. Next is "Fade to Black", this isn't Ride the's better. More nice lead guitar, a catchy chorus and vocal delivery make this one a winner. I must also mention that Eric A.K. it one hell of a singer and can hit some very impressive high notes.

Next is where the album starts going "epic" on us. The very epic title track, which showcases a nice acoustic intro with some nice lead guitar. When this really kicks in we get RIFFAGE of the highest caliber, also some more great vocal delivery with nice lyrics. You have to love that chorus, "DOOMSDAY!". Some more nice lead guitar work here, and impressive harmonies similiar to Iron Maiden. This song goes on for 9 minutes without becoming boring, because it's such a riff monster. The next epic song "Metalshock" clocks in at a bit over 8 minutes. It starts off a bit slow and then out of nowhere it picks up the speed and owns you, making this the fastest song on the album. It slows down a bit half way through for a "mosh riff", nice solo, another Iron Maiden-ish harmony, and a fucking monster bass solo that proves Metallica didn't use Newsted's talent or writing abitlities, considering he wrote almost every song on this album!. The guitars come in and throw more riffage and a solo at you before going back to it's insane speed.

"She took an Axe" is some classic speed metal. Listen to that awesome guitar harmony at :46, that riff keeps coming back and it's not one that'll you be bored of. This is probably the catchiest song on here."U.L.S.W." is next, and this is the weakest song on here, it's just boring, not even really catchy, so I will say no more about it. "Der Fuhrer" starts us off again with a clean intro with a solo, but this one is much shorter than the previous one tht was in the title track. Then....Thrash! There's some nice lyrics in here about World War II and yet another catchy vocal delivery. This also has the best chorus in the album, "ZIEG HEIL! ALL HAIL! ZIEG HEIL!". Throw in a nice solo and you've got yourself another winner. Last, but definatley not least and Instrumental entitled "Flotzilla" very catchy with harmonies everywhere, more classic speed metal and it makes almost every other instrumental I've heard sound boring as hell.

Great album if you like catchy speed metal with hints of thrash (and who dosen't?).Very Mermorable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

One of the best Thrashers - 83%

Demon_of_the_Fall, November 25th, 2003

Flotsam and Jetsam's debut album with Jason Newstead (Of Metallica and Ozzy fame nowdays) is one of the best thrash metal albums of all time. The production for 1986 is seemingly pretty fucking lethal as well. Eric A.K has an extremely high pitched voice on this album in comparison to their later releases, although he still attains a very unique voice. Eric is one of the best in the metal land and the whole band desveres alot more credit than they have had. Ed Carlson and Michael Gilbert are two of the most underrated guitarists around as they plant the seeds of Metal into your veins with every stroke of their strings. Doomsday is easily their thrashiest album, and has alot of catchy riffery and cool changes. The bass lines are very inspiring to say the least, and are very audible in the mix which is a nice thing for an 80's metal album. This is a classic album in every essence, and the only thing that really comes close to the sound of this album is No Place for Disgrace. Although some fans were disappointed with their 90's releases, I'm a fan of both era's, but opting more towards their 90's material.

There are some real clean flashy guitar solos on here as well with plenty of room for improvisation. Doomsday is that sort of album when your in need of a good wake up call. It is very energetic and speedy, yet also has tempo changes, which is something Slayer is very guilty of not having. Too bad people havn't heard Flotsam because i believe if they got abit more media attention they would have broke it big or atleast bigger than they were. Hammerhead breaks the albums seal right away, and is fast and furious until the very last note were Eric yells Hammerhead. The drumming is also pretty good in some aspects, i must say he can sure keep a good beat. Sometimes less is more, but Kelly Smith does everything right. If i was to pick 3 fave tracks on this album it would be Fade to Black (no not Metallica), Doomsday for the Deciever, and Metalshock. But naming just a few tracks that i love does not do this album justice. This entire collection of songs spells a masterpeice. Dust shall never cover this cd in my cd adobe. Most Flots fans think this is their best album easily, and I can understand why, this is pure thrash metal in its raw intelligent form. Every song on here was well thought out, and not rushed to any extent. The interesting lyrics are also worth investigating if one has the time to do so. Being released right in the Thrash hay days Flotsam got lost in the crowd of Megadeth's, Testament's and Metallica's and although unfortunate, i have even more respect for them for carrying on after thrash was presumed dead and Newstead left. Doomsday fucking rules and theres nothing more one can say.

Flots Out
Best Tracks: Hammerhead, Desecrator, Fade to Black, Doomsday, Metalshock, She Took an Axe, Flotzilla

Doomsday for Drudgerous Basslines - 90%

metalfukinhead, February 5th, 2003

I have to admit that for the longest time i wasn't really into this cd, but that changed after seeing a few months of heavy rotation in my discman, and after re-evaluating my take on Eric's high-pitched vocals, i think this is one of the best examples of thrash.

This is the debut album of thrash veterans Flotsam & Jetsam. Jason Newsted plays bass and wrote most of the music on this album which is now sounding quite dated with subpar production. Although F&J eventually matured into one of heavy metals most distinct and enjoyable thrash bands, this album leaves a lot to be desired on the production end of things. I suppose one of the cool things is that this album is completely naked, and it's rawness and pure energy might have been lost had it been polished the way all recordings are these days.

True, the bass on this album is stupendous in places, especially in Metalshock where Jason plays a bass solo, but the songs themselves can become pointless thrash and in some places, have hard to understand high-pitched vocals. It would almost seem as though Eric A.K. was still in the process of going through puberty when he did this album, but I gotta admit, he did a good job in most songs, especially the epic title track, which in my mind is one of the greatest songs ever written. The thing that makes this album interesting overall is the way the bass drives it more than anything (except maybe Maiden) ever had up until its time. Jason really proves that he knows what he's doing with the 4 strings. That said, Metallica should've listened to him a little more, cuz he is one creative motherfucker.

The drumming on Doomsday is fairly standard thrash, and the guitar work is reminescent of Iron Maiden, but more thrashy and less melodic. Truly this album might be a whole hell of a lot better if the production was modern, I would love this album that much more. I don't believe there are any bands that can compare with the sound of F&J however, and this album is a must have for anyone who considers themselves a metalhead!