The most under-rated entity in heavy metal history. Period.
So offers the press blurb that comes with “The End Of Chaos” and although it is tempting to dismiss this as the usual hyperbole, the statement does have more than a tinge of truth about it.
And yet, the very same document contains the reason – probably – as to why. After saying this: “But sadly their melodic thrash brilliance was overshadowed by many. And that’s where the injustice lies.” (did someone say Metallica at this point) there is a telling passage from singer Eric “AK” Knutson.
It’s worth thinking about these words a little carefully: “For a while I had a lineup with me that was just together to go out on vacations then have the promoters pay for it,” he says. “And it’s a little different now, we are back to a real band making a stab at growing and becoming a bigger entity in the music industry.”
Ask yourself why a band with this much talent – goodness me, there isn’t a better singer in rock than Knutson – is looking to be a “bigger entity” 30 odd years after their debut record? Whatever it was almost doesn’t matter now, because let’s be absolutely clear about this from the off, forget the debut and the only 6k rating in the history of Kerrang! As every bore knows. “The End Of Chaos” is the best record the band have ever done by a huge distance.
“Prisoner Of Time” sets the tone from the off in fairness. Not quite metal, not thrash, not some Iced Earth style power thing either, instead some glorious mash up of all three. All underpinned by a stunning bass groove from Michael Spencer – and like everything else here the hook is incredible.
This one here seems to explain myriad things. “The golden rule is live and let/live your life without regret” it goes and it’s as if the collective penny has dropped.
Each of the band has a little time in the spotlight. On “Control” its Ken Mary (Alice Cooper, Fifth Angel) and some stunning double kick stuff, elsewhere, Steve Conley and founder member Michael Gilbert give their twin axes a polishing – as on “Recover”.
“…Chaos” is just a wonderful metal album. Put simply “Prepare For Chaos” is a clinic on how this stuff should sound, “Slowly Insane” is darker, a little eerie, and very, very heavy, but it is totally accessible – and that is the charm of this collection throughout.
“Architects Of Hate” is perhaps the heaviest of the lot. “I need a metal show today” says AK, and although it isn’t meant in the context of the music, you are left with a sense of how important this music is to them all.
Not that this record is some unsophisticated bludgeon of a thing. Far from it. Instead there is light and shade everywhere you look. “Demolition Man” is like Testament playing a hard rock song (and way cooler than that sounds) while “Unwelcome Surprise” is built around some chunky shredding, and “Snake Eye” kicks out the jam old school.
Everywhere you look, there’s an utter belter here. “Survive” could have been on “X Factor” era Iron Maiden (that’s a compliment on this site because Blaze Bayley is brilliant), while “Good And Bad” has work to do at a million miles an hour and the closing “The End” thinks it had best go faster. Stay out of any moshpit that these boys start.
That’s sort of the thing in a nutshell. Where some water things down as they “mature,” “The End Of Chaos” sees Flotsam And Jetsam ramp everything up. And then some.
Flotz ‘Till Death? You must be joking. They ain’t ever sounded more alive than right here and right now.