Flotsam & Jetsam Ugly Noise

Flotsam & Jetsam Ugly Noise
6
Somewhere along the way, Flotsam and Jetsam went from being fun thrash to downer metal. It's not that they don't still have great thrash riffs — they do all over the place here on their 11th album, originally independently released last year. Tunes like "Carry On" bring to mind the Flotsam of thrash's heyday in a big way, the mixture of those unmistakable vocals (which, granted, don't hit the highs like they once did) combined with rock-solid thrash riffing and speedy playing show that these guys really know how to put it all together. It's just that for much of the album the tunes drag, making the listener feel like life is miserable. "Rabbit's Foot" is a prime example, feeling like it goes on forever, and although it demonstrates that the band have a great sense of dynamics, it's about as enjoyable to listen to as the most draining post-grunge rock. To be fair, this album has less of a downer vibe and more of a positive feel than their past few, and shorter, thrashier tunes like "Rage" and "To Be Free" are enjoyable, Flotsam and Jetsam showing they still have that amazing knack for prime-era Hetfield rhythm picking. For those keeping track, this album was made by the Cuatro-era line-up, featuring four fifths of the original classic-era. You just wish they'd sound happier about it. (Metal Blade)