Monday, April 11, 2016

Stuck in my Head: Flotsam and Jetsam, "Iron Maiden"

I’ve been a huge fan of Flotsam and Jetsam’s last couple of records. They’re probably one of the more underrated thrash bands of that genre’s classic era, and I thought they found their way again on 2010’s The Cold and 2012’s Ugly Noise.

“Iron Maiden,” the first single off their upcoming eponymous album presents a serious shifting of gears from those two records.

From a lyrical standpoint, the song is ostensibly about the medieval torture device. The music, however, tells a different story, one that fans of classic metal will appreciate. Though there’s more speed metal in the song, Flotsam and Jetsam employs the classic Iron Maiden gallop, twin-guitar attack and certainly a bit of a nod to the latter band’s classic tune “The Trooper” on the verse.

I’m not quite sold on Flotsam and Jetsam frontman Eric “A.K.” Knutson’s vocal here. I’ve always been a fan of his delivery and willingness to stretch beyond the standard thrash snarl. I think he might stretch a little too far here at times, though, in pursuit of his nod to Bruce Dickinson. There’s only one Bruce. That said, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.

Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner takes over rhythm duties for this record, and he makes his presence felt immediately with the thunderous double-bass kicks on this track. I’m a guitar guy, so drums don’t typically stand out to me, but I’d have to say that this is some of the best work that I’ve ever heard on an Flotsam and Jetsam track.

As with the last two albums, the band gives us something a little different here — providing a tasty tribute to some metal legends. “Iron Maiden” certainly makes me wonder what surprises the rest of Flotsam and Jetsam’s upcoming album holds.

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