Written by Alex Stojanovic
Prisoner Of Time
Prepare For Chaos
Architects Of Hate
Good Or Bad
Release Date: January 18, 2019
Label: AFM Records
Eric Knutson - Vocals / Michael Gilbert - Guitars / Michael Spencer - Bass / Steve Conley - Guitars
Ken Mary - Drums
I really dug most of their last album, and that was mainly due to the fact that Jason Bittner was on drums. I'm not saying original drummer Kelly David Smith was a bad drummer, but with Bittner being one of my favourite drummers, I was intrigued to check out the album, and like I said, much of that album impressed me. Unfortunately, that would be the only album the band made with Bittner, who left the band in 2017 to join Overkill, but I was still intrigued to check out the band's new album The End Of Chaos, which features new drummer Ken Mary, and he delivers performances just as amazing and energetic as Bittner's. The End Of Chaos also picks up where the last album left off. Let's get into it.
The record opens on a strong note with "Prisoner Of Time" as open chords, combined with a fast guitar melody underneath and a fast thrash beat set the table. A gritty bass line from Michael Spencer then leads us into the groovy verse. At the same time, Eric delivers a powerhouse performance. The intensity level raises a bit on the next track "Control", with lightning fast riffs that still contain a ton of groove. The band tips their hat off to Iron Maiden with the guitar harmony that leads into the solo and ends the song. Although it's short, one of the most memorable moments on the record, without a doubt. Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley deliver in spades in the guitar department, unleashing riffs of epic proportions, but I think that "Prepare For Chaos" contains the best riffs on this album, and that's one of the reasons why it's my favourite track here. As I mentioned above, Ken Mary shines brightly with his impeccable skills and he really showcases his double-bass abilities on "Architects Of Hate".
As we continue down the album with tracks like "Demolition Man", "Snake Eye" and "Survive", these tracks are more hit or miss, because by the time we reach the mid-point of the album, I feel that there's a little bit of redundancy in the writing, but I would say the best track in the second half is "Unwelcome Surprise", with it's catchy, yet heavy thrash riffing, and catchy melodic chorus, and we also get another short, but awesome Maiden-esque guitar harmony moment before the solo. As we get to the closing track "The End", my first thought after hearing the main riff was that this track would feel right at home on No Place For Disgrace. Old school fans will certainly be transported back in time when they hear it.
If the last album was a great return to form, you'll be happy to know that The End Of Chaos is even heavier. I also think the album could've used a couple more mid-tempo tunes. Every song is up-tempo and energetic, and there's no issue with that because they're all great in their own way, but I think of a couple of pure mid-tempo tracks would've been a nice addition for some dynamics. There's certainly moments, but it could've used a few full songs of the style. By the time we reach the end of the album, the thrash becomes a little weary. I'll still need to let Eric's vocals grow on me a little bit, but I would say my favourite vocal performance by him on this album is on "Recover". With all that said, I was really impressed with The End Of Chaos. I'm glad that Flotsam & Jetsam is still going strong and releasing potent, high energy, melodic thrash, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing them live in 2019. FLOTZ 'TIL DEATH!
Highs: Excellent songwriting and performances, with "Prisoner Of Time", "Control", "Prepare For Chaos" and "Unwelcome Surprise" in particular, standing out.
Lows: Eric Knutson's vocals still need to grow on me a bit. Could've used a couple of mid-tempo tracks.
Final Rating: 8/10
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