• 8.5/10
    FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - The Cold - 8.5/10


Nuclear Blast
Release date: February 18, 2011

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Flotsam and Jetsam have come back stronger than ever with their first new album since 2005. This band has seen many ups and down over their 25 year career, however The Cold is arguably their finest effort to date. The band has shown a tremendous amount of maturity, especially regarding the depth to their songwriting and the performance in general. The songs presented are extremely genuine and very strong Classic American Thrash Metal.

Most people know Flotsam and Jetsam as “that band Jason Newsted was in”. Even though Newsted only appeared on their debut album Doomsday For The Deceiver way back in 1986, it has turned out to be somewhat of a struggle for the band to maintain a solid identity. Other than F & J’s core fan base, most Metal fans do not appreciate the true talent assembled within this band.

The Cold contains ten very solid tracks, led by the one of the most underrated vocalists in the business, Eric “A.K.” Knutson. Similar to other Thrash vocalists that have been around for 25+ years, his voice doesn’t quite have that youthful vibrancy any longer, however, Knutson has learned to take advantage of his more intense vocal style and use it to his advantage.

Knutson is clearly the star of this album, and he’s in complete command of every single track. In the opening line of the first song, “Hypocrite”, Knutson eerily speaks “You tell me I’m the devil; then scratch my flesh with your horns …” … and that sets the tone for the entire album. Knutson incorporates a tormented, angst-filled style of singing into each track. The best presentation of Knutson’s dramatic vocal style is displayed on the song “Better Off Dead”. This is an extreme melancholy track about being defeated in life. However, the depressing tone of the song is completely offset by some very inspiring vocals. Knutson’s range is extraordinary, and he hits some amazing high-pitched, long notes. It is very similar to Bruce Dickinson’s outstanding performance in his classic anthem “Tears Of The Dragon”.

The other key element that makes this album complete is the guitar mastery of Mark Simpson. He is able to produce the forceful riffs that accentuate Knutson’s vocals. His classic, Thrash riffing style is highly evident throughout the album, and keeps the intensity alive with each track. One of the better riffs can be heard in the track “Secret Life”… Simpson produces some complex effects and variations that guide the entire song through — not to mention a killer solo as well.

It is apparent F & J have put a considerable amount of time and passion into the creation of this album. It is one of those albums that sticks with you after you finish listening to it. If you haven’t listened to F & J in a while, or gave up on them years ago, this is the album to become reacquainted with them. You’re apt to be very pleasantly surprised, and hopefully this will be the beginning of many more great albums to come.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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