Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing, sometimes malingering a forward-thinking attitude for the future. It can happen to any band, wound up in circles on the same reel of film without realising the constriction they’ve created for themselves. Flotsam and Jetsam aren’t exempt, they have the potential for this too, especially if they only look back to the success of their full length debut, Doomsday For The Deceiver. So what’ll it be?
At the start of this album, you’re masked and veiled by Hypocrite – a below average, simplistic track with slap-dash street shouts over a generally uninspiring chorus. But don’t allow yourself to be blinded by the mirage. If you turn the stereo off at this point, your premature judgement will force you to miss out on an album that has refreshing variety with an up to date, gratifying sound.
Title track The Cold flashes the Arizona band’s proggy side, with an intense heavy chorus welded smoothly and successfully into mellow, acoustic verses that eventually give way to a dreamy lead-solo to not only finish a tremendous track but also reassert dominance over the listener after a poor beggining to the album.
The saddening Better Off Dead is another fusion of acoustic guitar with exceptional vocals from long-time member Eric A. Knutson that borders more on a power metal ballad than a bonafide thrash hit. But there’s no need for the neck-slinging purist to be upset when it’s followed up by the incredibly rapid, technical riffing of Michael Gilbert and Ed Carlson on Falling Short. And if that wasn’t enough to get the kind of full bodied blood pumping that induces cardiac arrest, then there’s the noisy start of KYA that showcases Knutson’s gruff harking on top of a groovy thrash-fest.
You might question why they never made huge waves in the way other mainstream acts have, but that doesn’t affect – nor should it affect – what is an exhilarating record. Never mind the past, Flotsam and Jetsam deserve credit for their work in the present.