Flotsam and Jetsam

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“Hell no!”, Flotsam And Jetsam’s master behind the microphone Eric “A.K.” Knutson exclaimed when asked if this was the band’s final swing of the axe! The End Of Chaos certainly could be construed that way title-wise. But what do you do when you unleash arguably the finest hour in your 30-plus year career (2016’s genius Flotsam And Jetsam)? You head back to the dark n’ dusty garage to keep that momentum going. Let’s get one thing straight. Flotsam And Jetsam are a true anomaly in the annals of heavy metal history. The most under-rated entity in heavy metal history. Period. True fighters, the Phoenix-based five-piece led by originals A.K. and guitarist Michael Gilbert (along with longtime bassist Michael Spencer, guitarist Steve Conley and drummer Ken Mary) have been doing battle in the trenches since the early ‘80s. And although people point to their first album (1986’s Doomsday For The Deceiver ) as a game-changer, the band didn’t need the first (andonly)6KratinginKerrang!’s historytogainaccolades.Therewasmuchmoretocome,ahelluvalotmore.Andwithout the ghost of Jason Newsted hovering – he jumped onto the Metallica freight-train just after the debut was released Flotsam And Jetsam were off and running.
But sadly their melodic thrash brilliance was overshadowed by many. And that’s where the injustice lies. The brilliant follow-up No Place For Disgrace (1988) is still a mainstay in the live setting, whereas When The Storm Comes Down (1990) andCuatro(1992)sawthebandonaroll.Butlabelfumbling andaseriouschangeinthemusiclandscapeledtotheirmetal hearts getting bruised and battered from all angles of the aorta. Record sales were stale, tours were thin, meanwhile quality-wise, they were heads and tails above most metal bands in the community. And it remains a travesty that future albums like the deeply emotional Drift (1995), the drug-frenzied High (1997) and truly under-rated My God (2001) to this day get overlooked. Their diehard fanbase were still screaming Flotz ’Til Death, but the band’s stock hadn’t increased in value, despite being led by one of the most gifted singers in the history of rock music.
“A.K.’svocalsarewhatmakesourbandandwhoweare,”MichaelGilberthitsthenailonthemetalhead.“He’sveryunique, there is nobody else like him. He’s a fantastic singer. But the dude gets better and better.”

Reinier de Vries
About Reinier de Vries 383 Articles
Once a metal head, always a metalhead. My parents thought it would only be a period, but they were wrong. I quit to explain the beauty of metal music to others that are not into metal, because it is something you can't tell in words... It is like explaining to a teetotaller why a cold beer is so nice on a hot day... I started with bands like Accept, Metal Church, Iron Maiden and Metallica in the eighties and I think I will still listen to them when I'm stone deaf and old...

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