"Ages" doesn't even begin to describe for how long Flotsam and Jetsam has been around. Twelve years is a long time for a band that stardom has somehow eluded. They've been around for a long time and have consistently made albums. "Unnatural Selection" is their seventh, and if you ask me one of their better. I never really understood what people were on about with "Doomsday for the Deceiver", which I never really liked, but "No Place for Disgrace" is my personal classic (despite the less than excellent production). "When the Storm Comes Down", I suppose everyone agrees, was the least of their albums. Since then, Flotsam and Jetsam albums have always been of a fairly consistent quality. Not "top 10 of the year" material, but quite good nonetheless.

With new guitarist Mark Simpson and new drummer Craig Nielsen, Flots seems to have found back a magical ingredient. Still instantly recognisable due to Erik A.K.'s distinctive voice, the band are breaking new ground without alienating the fans of old. None of the songs on the album are boring, actually, but especially songs like "Promise Keepers" and "Win, Lose or Dead" are true Flots climaxes.

Still, I wonder what caused producer James Lockyer to put the bass drums so much in front of the mix - it's impossible to listen to the album loud without turning down the low frequencies, for fear of causing a neighbour's fillings to drill out.



Written December 1998


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