This review comes from Damien Dougan from Ireland to offer another
perspective on the new album. Thanks Damien! Remember though, the
views and opinions expressed in this review are not necessarily the
views and opinions of myself (Cuatro is the best! :->)
Artist: Flotsam and Jetsam
Label: Metal Blade
Score: 9 out of 10
Bottom Line: If you like heavy metal, get High!
High is Flotsam and Jetsam's 6th album, and marks a return to MetalBlade
records (whether or not this is a Good Thing (TM) is another thread, but
their marketing skills will probably never do the band the justice they
I'll not make any apologies for any comparisons I make with their previous
album, Drift (and if you haven't heard it, go out and buy it now, it's
superb), because it's an album that I'll judge alot of other stuff by, but
High isn't as inventive as Drift. Having said that, F&J have remembered
some of the things that made Drift great, and so we have the beautiful
Spanish guitars on the intro to "Final Step" (leading up to the pounding
drums and stinging guitar riffs). And while there is less variation between
tracks (some people will prefer the track line up of High, but I'll miss
the absence of songs in the vein of "Missing" and "Destructive Signs")
there is an awful lot more happening during each track - say hello again to
the continuous guitar work which marked Doomsday for the Deceiver as such a
classic - some songs on High are practically guitar solos with hammering
drums and Jason Ward's thundering bass thrown in for measure (hey, that
makes 2 albums :).
But Ed and Mike's excellent dual guitar work which made Drift stand out so
well is not the only plus - vocal delivery is great - Eric AK seems to
improve on every album (do I remember reading that he thought he "matured"
sometime around Cuatro???) and Kelly Smith does some superb drum work (its
a shame he's left the band, the replacement is going to have to be damn
good to fill his place).
Its hard to pick favourites from the album. While Drift had songs with
distinctive styles (the Spanish guitars throughout "Destructive Signs", the
Eastern style of "Empty Air"), every song on High is heavy metal delivered
straight to you, but the riffs on "Final Step" and "Monster" are worthy of
mention, as are the choruses on "Hallucinational" and "High Noon".
"Lesson Learned: It's O.K. To be Metal"
High is 47 minutes of straight in your face heavy metal. Every song
deserves to be on the album - there's no duff filler tracks. While many
other bands have sold out to the current market trends, F&J have remained
true to themselves and their fans. But High isn't an 80s album 10 years too
late (and don't let the fonts used to list the tracks on the back of the
album fool you - this isnt an album paying tribute to 80s metal) - every
Flotsam album has refined their style, and High continues that trend while
ensuring that the end result is still heavy metal. It's heavier than Drift,
and while not as thrashy as DFTD or NPFD, tracks like "Its On Me" and the
excellent cover version of "Fork-Boy" will satisfy speed freaks.
Its just a shame that the band haven't received more credit, both in terms
of fame and fortune, for their efforts (and makes the fact that they are
still doing metal all the more commendable).
So if your reading this group (and you're not a Christian trying to save
the world from an invisble backwards-talking Satan which thinks hiding in
plastic discs is bad for the human soul) then buy High and "play some
Score: 9 out 10.
I had to drop a mark because I thought the lyrics sometimes fell short of
those on Cuatro and Drift, and I'd have liked just a little more variation
in the types of songs, best placed in the second half of the album.
As a final note (and at the risk of starting another thread), I thought I'd
include marks for the other Flots albums to help people compare High (marks
out of 10, in descending order) with their favourite F&J album:
Doomsday for the Deceiver: 10
No Place for Disgrace: 8
When the Storm Comes Down: 7
And if the band are reading this ... Leave Ireland out of your European
tour at your own risk!!!