FLOTSAM AND JETSAM — Drift (review)

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM — Drift album cover Album · 1995 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Drift" is the 5th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Flotsam and Jetsam. The album was released through MCA Records in April 1995. It´s the successor to "Cuatro" from 1992 and features the same five-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor. MCA Records signed Flotsam and Jetsam in 1989 because the label thought they could create another Metallica success story, but the big breakthrough never happened and "Drift" was the third and last Flotsam and Jetsam album released through MCA Records, before the band returned to their old label Metal Blade Records for the release of "High (1997)".

All stars were aligned for Flotsam and Jetsam to make it big in the early nineties with their melodic heavy/thrash metal style, which isn´t far removed from the style of music played post-1990 by contemporaries like Anthrax, Megadeth, and of course Metallica. It´s fans of the least thrashy output by those artists that is the target group of "Drift". A full alignment of stars isn´t always equal to commercial success though, and Flotsam and Jetsam just never made it. They´ve kept busy though, releasing albums and touring, and have had an underground following throughout their career, so even though they´ve had a couple of breaks here and there, Flotsam and Jetsam never folded and soldiered on in spite of their limited commercial success.

"Drift" is obviously an album MCA Records put some money into making a success, as it features a professional and very well sounding production. Flotsam and Jetsam are skilled musicians and they also know a thing or two about writing catchy and powerful heavy metal songs, and as a result the material on the 10 track, 42:38 minutes long album, are well written and memorable. Lead vocalist Eric A.K. is the icing on the cake, with his strong voice and distinct sounding delivery. He is a world-class singer and proves it once again on "Drift".

When all the praise is said about the band and the overall quality of "Drift", it´s still short of being excellent in my book. Not completely unlike how I felt about the last couple of releases. It all sounds a little safe and formulaic, and although all tracks are instantly catchy and memorable, they still lack that last songwriting quality to propel them to the premier league of heavy metal songs. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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