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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.