Flotsam and Jetsam- When the Storm Comes Down

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Around 1990, Flotsam and Jetsam were looking to make it into the big leagues. They had just signed to MCA Records and put out their third full length release When the Storm Comes Down in 1990. Many fans regarded it as a bit of a misstep for the group though, and nearly eighteen years later Metal Mind Productions has reissued the disc and included a bonus interview to let a new generation of listeners decide if this was truly the case or not. And unfortunately as it turns out, this release was one of the weaker moments from a group that did have some genuinely interesting material.

At this point in their career, Flotsam and Jetsam were still a fairly standard thrash act. Unfortunately, it was on When the Storm Comes Down that it became painfully obvious that they needed to head off in a different direction. While the tracks on this disc have some decent hooks and great solos, there isn’t anything here that listeners haven’t heard before (and this would have been true even during 1990 when the disc first came out). It also doesn’t help that the production is really flat, and aside from the fact that it makes the bass stand out a bit more it makes most of the music feel a little weak and hollow. Flotsam and Jetsam clearly were set on making straightforward thrash at this point in their career, but it just doesn’t match up to what they had going for them on their first two releases.

For When the Storm Comes Down lead singer Eric Knutson not only utilized his standard melodic vocal range but also tried to push his voice into some higher falsetto ranges at times. The results of this experiment are fairly hit or miss, as there are some moments where Knutson is really able to hit the higher notes and ones where he is just completely off the mark. It was certainly nice to see that the group was trying new things in this area, but most listeners will discover that the results didn’t always succeed and likely lead to the direction that Knutson would head in on the next couple of albums.

Unfortunately, When the Storm Comes Down wasn’t that amazing of a release when it first came out and it still isn’t that great now. While it’s certainly not the worst thrash album out there, Flotsam and Jetsam’s compositions on this release didn’t stand out enough and were hurt by fairly weak production. Because of this, the reissue is best left for the diehard fans of the band only and everyone else is best advised to check out some of their later albums.


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