This review is by Chad Shepherd (fscqs@aurora.alaska.edu).
So, I get my grubby mitts on the new F&J disc...and being a DJ, I listen
to it very cold, detached, listening for that "hook" song, the one to
put on the air that will increase the bands popularity...and at first, I
was a bit disappointed.  Ive been a fan of the band since "No Place for
Disgrace" and they have grown increasingly killer in the course of their
albums, but this one didn't reach out and grab me...at first.  So, I sit
back and take a huge bong toke of some incredibly potent Alaskan bud,
and start the album again.
By the second bar of "Final Step" Im losing my marbles, jaw to the
floor-in awe of the boys once again.  Then I think back, and realize
that no album worth a damn has ever grabbed me when I was wearing my
critics hat...to hear them, you gotta be a fan, dude...
The album starts out with the classic "Final Step"...every element of
this track is perfect, from AK's vocals (hes getting better with every
album, kids) to the crushing guitar work, and not to mention the
pounding rhythm section, perfectly delivered by Ward and Smith.  This
track is as good as any the band has ever delivered. "Hallucinational"
shows them getting down with a "Cuatro"-ish feel, with a pummeling jam,
a pace which goes undiminished with the next tune, "It's on Me" a tasty
morsel of wicked thrash in the Flotsam vein.  And Ill be damned if the
tracks dont just keep climbing..."High Noon" has the second coolest riff
on the album, the bridge riff...classic, dude. Then I hit a snag...the
track "Your Hands" is , in my opinion, the weakest track on the
album...dont get me wrong, though; The weakest track on this album is
still gonna kick the hell out of the latest offerings from most of the
other "great metal" bands of this stripe...Hetfield, Mustaine,  hang yer
heads, boys.
The low point doesn't last, however, because with "Monster", Flotsam
turn in some of their finest work ever.  This song is great, and
features the coolest riff on the disc...the main intro riff.  That one
cut makes this whole album gel, and shows that the boys have refined
themselves into a well oiled machine.  We then move on to the best track
on the disc, "Lucky Day"...this cut is Flotsams shining moment, the song
that, ina aperfect world, would propel them beyond all the
pop/alternative crap that our former greats are trying to pawn off on
us. As a side note...I dont think Metallica would have turned to crap if
Cliff were still around.  Anyhow, this song is truly an F&J classic, one
for the books.  Next they move us into a frenzy of hammering guitars
called "Toast", with its inventive tempo changes and WICKED solos.  With
the title cut, "High" they expound a sentiment about the mighty herb
that I greatly identify with...in a great, speedy little track. 
"Everything" starts off with a very straight forward, punkish riff that
moves into a great mid tempo verse, with a very cool wah guitar
punctuating AK's lyrics...which brings us to the last song, a cover of
the Jourgensen/Biafra penned "ForkBoy".  This is a good song, though not
nearly a sgood as the rest of the album, which stands to reason since
they didn't write it.  Tell ya one thing, tho:  Its better than the
original!
So, bottom line is this:  With "High", Flotsam and Jetsam have served up
a platter of great songs lacking in no way and in every way worthy to be
in the F&J discography.They have dropped a little bit of experimentation
in favor of a thrashy record, which is fine by me...the cool thing about
this band is that they can change styles without abandoning them, and
they always seem to remember their roots.  Flotsam and Jetsam, along
with Testament, Anthrax, and Pantera are the hopes for metal in the
'90's and beyond.