Watch Michael Gilbert deliver a hard-thrashing playthrough of Flotsam and Jetsam's Brace For Impact

With heavy-hitting new album Blood in the Water, Flotsam and Jetsam remind the metal community that they are so much more than the thrash label with which they are often bestowed.

Sure, much of the band's catalogue typifies the thrash metal sound – with galloping rhythms and thunderous, chugging guitar lines regularly taking center stage – but as vocalist Eric “AK” Knutson explains, the new record is a blend of “speed metal, thrash metal, power metal, and throw yourself around the pit metal”. And this amalgam is illustrated perfectly on the record's third cut, Brace For Impact

The track – which does indeed make us want to throw ourselves into the pit – kicks off with a simple and anthemic powerchord riff, before putting the pedal to the metal (pun intended) with a tight, technically demanding barrage of high-octane, power metal-infused thrash.

Wielding an ESP LTD Deluxe MH-1001 electric guitar, axe-slinger Michael Gilbert joins us here for a full playthrough of the track. Warning: Gilbert's solo at the 2:07 mark is such a face-melter that even a welding helmet would have trouble providing adequate protection.

“This is a fun one to play because it's definitely a challenging picking workout,” Gilberts says. “[It has] everything from fast alternate picking to slow eerie melodic tones to complement the rest of the music and vocals. I hope you enjoy it as much as I love playing it.”

On Blood in the Water as a whole, Gilbert explains: “It's definitely a highlight of my career releasing a record that sounds like this. I've heard it described as relentless. I can't think of a better description that represents [the album].”

  • Blood in the Water is out now via AFM Records.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.