Flotsam and Jetsam - Blood in the Water
AFM Records
Power/Thrash Metal
12 songs (53:29)
Release year: 2021
Flotsam and Jetsam, AFM Records
Reviewed by Goat

It's been a fast two years since Arizonan legends Flotsam and Jetsam pinned back ears with The End of Chaos, and Blood in the Water continues in its path. New bassist Bill Bodily (Contrarian) is the only addition to the band's line-up and seamlessly slots in, rarely notable but always solid at the crunchy bottom-end of the production (thanks again to Pyramaze's Jacob Hansen) alongside more-technical-than-necessary drummer Ken Angel, whose love of fills elevates plenty of moments here. The title track immediately lays in with heavy riffing and more of the melodic lead guitars and infectious choruses that fans of The End of Chaos will be well aware of, like a more aggressive Iron Maiden. The more grandiose air to Burn the Sky builds the band's power metal side without lessening the heaviness, still having that modern Anthrax vibe. And throughout the album the band manage their dual genres well, here giving the thrashy galloping the highlight (Brace for Impact), there allowing the power metal flamboyance more focus (A Place to Die).

It helps them that vocalist Eric AK Knutson has a very fitting voice, hitting high notes but not without grit, and commanding attention without overriding the guitars. He makes the album a pleasant if hardly poppy listen, and although the songwriting is similar enough in style to make you need a couple of listens before songs don't blend together, they're uniformly catchy and enjoyable. And there's enough variety to keep it interesting, semi-ballad Cry for the Dead allowing the bass a little more time in the sun before subbing in epic riffing. Conversely, Too Many Lives is one of the heaviest pieces on the album, classic Nevermore vibes coming from the vocals atop a powerful, near melodic-death backing riff.

You can definitely find things to nitpick about Flotsam and Jetsam, especially if you are used to bands that push the envelope a little more than the odd prog-tinged riff (Undone). It's like eating several steaks in a row - perhaps not hugely varied, but satisfying in a way that vegan alternatives will never quite manage. The band are traditional metal through and through, proud and professional; perhaps a little long at over fifty minutes, but Blood in the Water is another enjoyable album from the veterans.

Killing Songs :
Burn the Sky, Brace for Impact, The Wicked Hour, Undone
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Flotsam and Jetsam that we have reviewed:
Flotsam and Jetsam - The End of Chaos reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam reviewed by Joel and quoted 84 / 100
Flotsam and Jetsam - Dreams of Death reviewed by Cody and quoted 60 / 100
Flotsam and Jetsam - My god reviewed by Danny and quoted 70 / 100
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