FLOTSAM AND JETSAM – No Place For Disgrace
(Out Now on Metal Blade)
THRASH PIONEERS FLOTSAM AND JETSAM are quickly following up on last year’s Ugly Noise with something that sounds very familiar. No Place For Disgrace originally landed back in ’89 at the peak of the Thrash revolution. So why the re-record? Flotsam were always cursed by horrible production – both the original version of No Place and it’s follow up, When The Storm Comes Down, were landed with a hollow mix that somehow managed to sap the power from a band which once had Metallica’s Jason Newstead in its ranks. Seen as the defining album of their career, they decided to dig out the old master tapes to run them through some modern technology. Sadly said tapes have long since vanished so there was no option but to re-record.
Clearly in danger of alienating an adoring fanbase with more polished tones (remember the ’98 exact remake of Psycho?), they ploughed on and No Place For Disgrace 2014 finally sorts a quarter-century old problem, by being a complete sonic improvement and despite being waaayyyy older, the band seem even angrier than ever before. Take ‘Dreams of Death’ for example, a cut that now feels twice as ferocious and whilst AK’s unique vocal can’t quite hit the high notes of yester-year, it’s remarkably good. Rather like stepping out in time and finding yourself back at a life changing party. Even the cover of Elton John’s ‘Saturday Night’ is a marked improvement, despite it’s lamentable inclusion.
Indulgent or appropriate? Whichever way you look at it, No Place For Disgrace is finally the album it deserves to be – angry, energetic, crammed with shredding guitars, heavy bass and thunderous percussion. Although upon its original release Flotsam were the next big thing and destined to join the Big four at the top table of Thrash, it never really happened for them, maybe partly down to that awful production. But this modern remake somehow feels a lot like resubmitted coursework, having been told to go home and try again. Personally I’m glad they did because as a result, probably one of 2014’s best metal records is actually from the archives. (9)