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Flotsam And Jetsam - No Place For Disgrace 2014

Flotsam And Jetsam
No Place For Disgrace 2014
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 13 February 2014, 9:44 PM

STEINMETAL (8/10)

After all these years, 26 in count, surely it is far from being a disgrace; still there is no place for it, no way sir, especially when it comes to FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, old Metal sailors from Phoenix, Arizona, in the land of opportunities. Back in their youthful days, following the departure of Jason Newsted to METALLICA, after the debut hitter, "Doomsday For The Deceiver", FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, with Michael Spencer on board on the bass, issued, in my estimation, a fiercer Speed / Power / Thrash Metal nutcracker and possibly their finest work to date, right before entering the groove infested years of the 90's that changed the entire perception of Heavy Metal in the US, "No Place For Disgrace", originally by the relic Elektra Records. Spreading like a sort of disease, there has been a vibe within the veteran Metal bands nowadays to re-record, not just releasing another remastered version, their classic albums according to specific anniversary, commemorating a milestone. MANOWAR, did it twice, and TAROT among others that have already done it are among the names, and EMPEROR is about to do it with their classic. So FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, consisting the same lineup that recorded that early gem, rehashed the sharp edged sword of "No Place For Disgrace", now vial Metal Blade Records.

There have been two main characteristics that caught me right from the first click of the re-recorded album, the songs' tempo and the production. As for the tempo, beforehand I haven't imagined that FLOTSAM AND JETSAM will slow it down a notch, I am positive that there is a better reason for that, but frankly, though after listening for several times, and I can't say that I haven't thought, or missed for just a bit, of the preliminary burst of energy of the sonic Speed Metal flamboyance that went on the original, it actually suited my brainwaves and it wasn't hard for me to dig what was I was listening to, especially to the hit songs of this album that were honored by this recording. FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, in a slower pace, sounded heavier and chunkier, every palm mute like a piece of meat thrown at you, landing hard on you’re a face like a brick, a glisten of power. And here comes that production. I tried to find out who was behind this work, but sadly came up with zit. However, it doesn't matter because the end result, without considering the name behind it, turned out quite a blast. Using modern means to this project, "No Place For Disgrace" sounded cleaner, tighter, not that scooped and moderately smoother. I believe that it is a big plus for the band as nothing really changed material wise. This new production setting accentuated the lead twin guitar work of Edward Carlson and Michael Gilbert, which sounded grand, both exchanging energetic alongside touchy soloing showcases, combined with hard edge rhythm guitar riffs that celebrated the hey days of that album. Eric A.K., although I didn't expect him to reach the higher notes of over twenty years ago, rejoiced the occasion with amazing vocal performance with a tougher indentation, clearly one of the best Speed / Thrash vocalists that isn't raspying or growling his way into a different zone. As for the rhythm section of Kelly David-Smith and Michael Spencer, no less than blissful grace, slow tempo it is on several occurrences, but still kicking ass.

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, especially after their last album that wasn't all that impressive, made a sweet tribute to their past with the release of this old gem stone. Neatly produced and laid in, "No Place For Disgrace" was esteemed by the same lineup that recorded it back in 1988. Hits like "No Place For Disgrace", "I Live You Die", "Escape from Within", "N.E. Terror" and the Elton John cover, remained as solid gold. I really hope that the band will be inspired by this re-recording and achieve yet another graceful crisp of old Metal in the spirit of their classics.

METTLEANGEL (8/10)

Imagine my mettle shock when I heard that FLOTSAM AND JETSAM were re-recording my favorite of their accomplishments! I instantly began to hammer my head and shed joyful, iron tears, knowing full well that those incredible power chords, for which my praise has never ended, would keep me banging, indeed.

I had discussed the possibility of re-releasing this with Michael Gilbert when I saw them live last, opening for TESTAMENT. Then they performed a number of songs from this masterpiece. I assured him how vital this album is in their discography, so I guess he must have ultimately listened. I still have my original CD copy which I purchased from Columbia House! I intend to buy this version on disc, as well.

I understand all the needs for deviation. My mates could not simply remix and re-master this like they did with the devastating “Doomsday For The Deceiver”. Still they had to get the message through that there was difficulty in trying to obtain the master tapes. I also appreciate that they wanted to take advantage of all the technology that is offered these days, thus giving them the opportunity to enhance and improve upon their amazing achievement. The result it that this is more Metal and less Speed. However, the sound quality is excellent and there are even noticeable nuances. I will elucidate this as I discuss certain searing cuts.

Needless to say, the biggest disappointment is Eric's vocal performance. He sounds better on here than he has for well-over a decade, but mostly gone are the initial stand-out highs, and even re-arranged are the lyrics and manner in which he originally pronounced certain words. I.E on “No Place” he alters the chorus the second time saying, “slashing side to side…”. I never knew nor could even figure out all the lyrics which were not printed on any of my formats, but I can truly tell that the terms have drastically changed on many songs. The biggest, glaring example of this would be with the band's theme for the past two decades - “Hard On You”, as Eric “A.K.” and the Flots villains never scream out, the gang vocal response: “H.O.Y”! This time the focus is more on illegal downloading than censorship.

The fearsome and deciduous “Dreams Of Death” showcases major changes in the guitar tone, and more notable alterations lyrically are present. “N.E. Terror” is updated to face the current global view, replete with North Eastern arabesque motifs. “Escape From Within” sounds so much more passionate with the accompanying string arrangements. “Misguided Fortune” is not nearly as fast, and more heavy and drawn-out in pace. The enhanced composition and stand-out effects on “P.A.A.B.” actually make this better than the original version. Just pay attention to he opening riffs and power chords. “The instrumental “The Jones” has a real Jazzy flavor, never experienced on my previous listens. Although, in all fairness, I often skipped this track.

Other than long time bassist Michael Spencer, and his prominent playing and emphasized performance, this is refashioned by the same original line-up. Michael, Kelly, and Edward really know their away around their instruments, and now sober, more mature, and more accomplished as musicians, the key songs just have a better aged quality and seasoned feel and appeal.

There is a positive note that Jason Newsted didn't help out in anyway. If Kirk Hammett and Kerry King have chosen to play on the new EXODUS, then why not ask Jason for some guidance while revisiting some of the songs he wrote like “I Live, You Die”. This anthem pretty much remains true to the original with a Latin statement thrown in for good measure. Constantly playing this song has prompted me to dig out and watch my “Gladiator” DVD. I am amazed it has been 14 years since this epic movie came out, as it clearly set the precedent for such popular premium cable offerings as “Rome” and “Spartacus”.

So when the storm comes down, and the masses of “Die-hard” dedicates desecrate or suffer to tear this apart, or when the “Old School” celebrates find no more fun, and only seek to defy, they should keep certain aspects in mind. This is a 2014 updated rendition of the Classic. It is meant to sound modern, never to reveal the faults it suffered when the band were enslaved by a contract with Elektra. Are you willing to accept it for what it is. I know paybacks are a bitch, but this is a sincere attempt to represent what the band most intended. I find it extremely enjoyable, and just like what MANOWAR are doing with “Kings Of Metal MMXIV” there needs to be an element of freshness and spontaneity.

Naysayers, don't give us none of your aggravation. It is time to mosh and get a little action in! We have all had sadder days, congratulations to the boys for fighting to keep Metal alive and alight!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. No Place for Disgrace
2. Dreams of Death
3. N.E. Terror
4. Escape from Within
5. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (Elton John cover)
6. Hard on You
7. I Live You Die
8. Misguided Fortune
9. P.A.A.B.
10. The Jones
Lineup:
Kelly David-Smith – Drums
Edward Carlson - Guitars
Eric A.K. - Vocals
Michael Gilbert - Guitars
Michael Spencer - Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 05 December 2022
 

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