FLOTSAM AND JETSAM — Cuatro (review)

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM — Cuatro album cover Album · 1992 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Cuatro" is the 4th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Flotsam and Jetsam. The album was released through MCA Records in October 1992. It´s the successor to "When the Storm Comes Down" from 1990 and there has been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Troy Gregory has been replaced by Jason Ward. The band recruited producer Neil Kernon (Nevermore, Nile...etc.) to work on the album.

All previous releases by Flotsam and Jetsam had been a combination of speed, thrash, and traditional heavy metal, but on "When the Storm Comes Down (1990)" a slight alternative edge began to creep in. That alternative element is further explored on "Cuatro", and the speed and thrash metal elements of the early releases are scaled down considerably. Actually to a point, where you can no longer call Flotsam and Jetsam a thrash metal act, although that´s usually how they are labelled. "Cuatro" has more in common with contemporary Metallica, than it has with anything thrashy out of the 80s.

The main focus of the music is the vocals and vocal melodies of lead vocalist Eric A.K.. While the instrumental part of the music is intriguing enough and very well performed too, it´s definitely Eric A.K. who makes the album shine. He is an incredibly skilled vocalist with a distinct sounding voice and singing style. His performance on "Cuatro" elevates the album from solid to great. The material are generally well written, but there are tracks on the album, which either don´t stand out much or which simply don´t work very well. Highlights include the opening trio of tracks "Natural Enemies", "Swatting at Flies", and "The Message", but tracks like "Wading Through the Darkness", and "Never to Reveal" also deserve a mention.

The Neil Kernon production is decent but not perfect. To my ears it sounds a bit disjointed, with a slightly odd sounding drum production. It´s not a major issue though, and the sound generally suits the material well. So upon conclusion "Cuatro" is a solid heavy metal release by Flotsam and Jetsam, and fans of an album like "The Black Album (1991)" by Metallica are recommended to take a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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