High Reviews

"It's metal so f**k off," that's Flotsam and Jetsam's rallying cry, and if you
had to summarize "High" in five words or less, you probably couldn't get much
more precise. "Smoke 'em if you've got 'em," that's their other crdo, but
misleading, because any fan of slamming guitars, unrelenting drums, and a
crunchy midline won't be needing any help boarding this flight. Flotsam takes
off on the opening track, "Final Step," and soars into the more frenetically
charged guitars of "hallucination" and "Toast," "It's On Me" releise on a
machine gun spray of drums as the headslamming cue, with "High Noon" and the
title track building into a more melodically driven tour of the Flotsam metal
frenzy. Ready for dessert? Take a stab at "Fork Boy," a heavy handed take on
Lard's industrial piece. Not as dark, and less dirge-driven than previous works,
"High" isn't the most adventurous album of Flotsam and Jetsam's six album
career, but it succeeds at what it sets out to do-deliver metal in the
traditional sense of the word, gimmick free and without repose. If you don't
like it? Well, you know what they told you to do!

Review by Metal Edge Magazine

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

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.

Review by Chad Shepherd

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
f**king music".

Score: 9 out 10.

Review by Damien Dougan