Great Metal Albums of 1987: Flotsam and Jetsam- Doomsday for the Deceiver

As said in previous posts, being in the UK in 1987 had the reverse effect of being in the US. The delay of learning about new bands and albums that had come out of the US. I didn’t learn of the band Flotsam and Jetsam until January 1987 and did not know they already had an album out. Another aspect of that year was that it seemed to be a tough year for support bands I saw live. For instance, when I saw Crimson Glory in the February in support of Metal Church and Anthrax, I wasn’t impressed with them but I was impressed with their 1986 self-titled album. The same can be said for Flotsam and Jetsam. I wasn’t impressed when I saw them open for Megadeath in the March. However, their album, “Doomsday for the Deceiver” suggests that they probably had an off night.

An air of familiarity springs on the opening track, “Hammerhead.” Travelling back through my Swiss cheese memory more than 34 years, I am pretty sure they opened with this song. Why not? It’s a great song to open with and sets the tone for the rest of the album. What is unfamiliar is the fifth track, “Doomsday for the Deceiver.” I don’t remember any ballad type intros when I saw them live but here it is on the title track and it’s done very well. It goes on for around two minutes before the full power thrash of Flotsam and Jetsam takes over. You get nine minutes of ballad guitar, then power chords, some falsetto vocals from lead singer, Eric A. K. Knutson, more power chords and some a couple of great guitar solos Edward Carlson and Michael Gilbert. Since it is unclear if there were any singles released from the album, this track could be the hidden gem as well as the best track on the album.

What I also like about the album is the band’s ability to change things up. While we get the nine minute title track, we also get short and very powerfully to the point tracks like “Iron Tears.” Just shy of four minutes, this song hits you about the head with a large hammer and a couple of good guitar solos are in it as well. It is also the case with “Desecrator” which is only three seconds shorter than “Iron Tears.” However, time length has nothing to do with the fact I prefer “Iron Tears.” But if you really want a short, sharp pounding thrash effect, then “Fade to Black” is the song for you as it’s just over two minutes long. I do like the opening guitar riffs on this one.

Second in length is “Metalshock” which is over eight minutes long. It too has a ballad type intro and I like the way the bass comes in on it. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise because of who plays bass on the album. However, after the intro, the song goes more traditional metal at first but the speed increases and by the three minute mark, goes in into thrash territory. Then it goes back to mainstream metal for the guitar solos and it sounds like we get a trade off between Carlson and Gilbert and even a bass solo from Jason Newsted, yes that Jason Newsted! Then after more guitar solos, things go full thrash before slowing down to ballad speed at the end. These change ups definitely keep the listener interested.

The remaining four tracks are all of a similar length ranging from four and a half to six minutes. What you do get is some good thrash metal and some interesting themes. “She Took An Axe” tells the story of Lizzy Borden, no not the band, the actual person. If I ever have to teach about Lizzy in a history lesson, I would use this song. Thinking back to when I saw them, I remember a song being introduced as an anti-Nazi song. That undoubtedly has to be “Der Fuhrer.” While the song is about Adolph Hitler, it does not praise him in anyway. It does open with some great guitar work, which goes for over two minutes. On the subject of amusing lyrics, “ULSW” is quite a funny song set to good solid thrash and a fantastic guitar solo tradeoff. This only confirms my belief that Flotsam and Jetsam had an off night in March, 1987.

Track Listing:

  1. Hammerhead
  2. Iron Tears
  3. Desecrator
  4. Fade to Black
  5. Doomsday for the Deceiver
  6. Metalshock
  7. She Took and Axe
  8. ULSW (Ugly Lying Stinking Wench)
  9. Der Fuhrer
  10. Flotzilla
Flotsam and Jetsam

Eric A. K. Knutson- lead vocals

Edward Carlson- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Gilbert- guitar, backing vocals

Jason Newsted- bass, backing vocals

Kelly David Smith- drums, backing vocals

80smetalman’s Theory: Two reasons why Flotsam and Jetsam failed to impress on that night. The most obvious one is that during Megadeath’s set, Dave Mustaine walked off stage pissed off because of the sound. It turned out that Megadeath’s equipment got tied up in UK customs and as a result they didn’t get a decent sound check. So, if the headliner didn’t get a decent check, what hope did the opening band have? I must give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. The other is that by the time they came to London, Jason Newsted had already been headhunted by Metallica and wasn’t there on the night. So, in conclusion, should Flotsam and Jetsam make their way around again, I would definitely go see them on the strength of this debut album alone.

Next post: Kreator- Flag of Hate

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

8 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Flotsam and Jetsam- Doomsday for the Deceiver”

  1. I’ve always said I need to check out Flotsam and Jetsam but never have. I think it’s time to start.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Knew of them because of the Metallica connection but that’s me going in reverse chronology, as usual lol. I’ll have to check ’em out at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My younger brother had the album and we loved it. When we learned they were support on the Megadeth tour it was a bonus as we already knew their tunes. Then after all that we got to say we saw them with Newsted before he left for Metallica. Good days!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: