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December 3, 2023

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Flotsam & Jetsam
Unnatural Selection (Metal Blade Records)

By: Jeb Branin

Aaarrrghh. This band is so frustrating. They are one of the most inconsistent bands on the planet. I consider myself a fan and I have been so since their brilliant first album but I am also the first to admit that picking up a F&J album is like playing Russian Roulette. Hit and miss. Now you see them, now you don't. "Unnatural Selection" falls in the miss category without a doubt. Of course it features the band's precision execution and has top notch production but the song writing is sub par. Everything seems a bit labored. The political commentary is clunky with metaphors almost as bad as I manage in these pages. Even when they connect with a good idea, like the cleverly titled "Chemical Noose" they don't give it a strong song in support and then they repeat the idea in "Liquid Noose" undercutting themselves via redundancy. It isn't clever enough to pull double duty even if I agree with the sentiment being expressed. The music is mid-paced and shuffles back and forth between melodic and driving but almost in a prescriptive way. Like they are following a game plan that may not even be their own. If you are a F&J completest you will want this, if not check out their previous album "High" which was a very solid album. One of their best.
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