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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.