Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Flotsam And Jetsam - My God
(Metal Blade)

Perhaps more organic than the steely Unnatural Selection (an album the band now disowns), My God is also distinguished by the fact that guitarist Mark Simpson writes all the music and Eric A.K. writes all the lyrics, something that was usually a collaboration between him and fired manager Eric Braverman. There's a bit of a dark vibe to the album, as well as a loose urgency. Indeed the band and producer Bill Metoyer had all sorts of computer problems and the resultant production is fine but unremarkable, certainly not grand. There are proggy dynamics to the thing as well, along with a depressing sense of defeat (check out the stark and honest Nothing To Say and the musical ennui of Weather To Do). Eric is branching out into different vocal styles, and in general, the band is like a confused and confusing version of a ragged Metal Church or Annihilator, jumbled with brilliant metal ideas, yes, jumbled. A pretty wild ride indeed, way up there and pounding it out fast one moment, tossing in the rock towel like Geldof's Pink one song later. Like the film biz, My God is hurry up and wait: a swirling, languid, heat-swelled fan-the-face drift punctuated by moments of extreme anxious chaos.
Rating 7.5

Epoch Of Unlight - Caught In The Unlight!
(The End)

Losing a guitarist and changing the bassist, Epoch Of Unlight is now a tight and taut three-piece, zipping along, perfecting and honing their unique sound which is increasingly melodic, less black and more thrash. As well, big underground producer Keith Falgout (Soilent Green, Crowbar) has toughened the drum sound, both snare and kick on the debut sounding eccentric and mickey mouse, here cutting through like a snot-nosed below-radar Dimmu while Jason Smith's guitar sound gets a little Dismember-ed, all in creation of a surgical power trio madness that is head-exploding, infectious and stabbing (check out Crimson And Steel for daring rock 'n' roll-ness at 200 mph). It's an interesting formula, comprising rich heavy metal riffs with death-black vocals and punky blastbeats, pushing the thing underground with integrity but trudging through mud and quicksand to emerge in the enjoyment of (un)light, oddly reminding one of Edge Of Sanity, At The Gates, maybe a little Haunted, all told, a cohesive, focused, relentless, methodical, measured avalanche of small rocks, pebbles, buckshot, broken glass, ball bearings...
Rating 8