After the release of their debut album Doomsday For The Deceiver in 1986, Flotsam And Jetsam took a heavy blow when they lost their bassist Jason Newsted to Metallica. Newsted was not only a great bassist but he was also a founding member of Flotsam And Jetsam as well as their principal lyricist. But the band came back strong with their sophomore release No Place For Disgrace in 1988. Appearing on a major label for the first time (Elektra Records — the same label that was home to Metallica in ’88), Flotsam And Jetsam seemed to be on the verge of breaking out to a larger audience with this record. Unfortunately, they never made the leap to the big time, but No Place For Disgrace is nevertheless considered a minor classic of eighties thrash — and rightly so!
I admire Flotsam And Jetsam because they had a very unique sound that blended thrash, speed metal, and NWOBHM. They also had one of the best singers in all of the thrash/speed genre in Eric “A.K.” Knutson. Sure, No Place For Disgrace is, at times, bogged down by the band’s insistence on fussy and overly long compositions, but Flotsam still delivered some absolute gems with the songs No Place For Disgrace, Hard On You, and I Live You Die. These were three KILLER tunes (two of which were holdovers from their earlier days with Newsted). All three are ultra-heavy songs with great lyrics, memorable hooks, and amazing musicianship!
No Place For Disgrace also included a cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. Judging by many of the reviews I’ve read online, this cover has not been well received. I actually really like it though! Yes, it’s a little out-of-place on the album but I think Elton’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting is a song that works well dressed up as a heavy metal tune. Lots of thrash bands were including covers on their albums at the time (probably at their record label’s behest), and usually these covers were released as singles. (Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting was indeed released as a single off No Place For Disgrace.) This actually wasn’t a bad idea by the record companies to release these covers as singles — I think it was a smart way to attract new fans to their bands with established songs. I also like that Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting appeared right in the middle of the album — at the end of side one. It’s a little break in the action, a chance to catch your breath after four complicated, busy Flotsam tunes. When a cover tune is the first song on the album it says to me that the band’s original material probably sucks. When the cover is the last song on the album it usually feels like it’s tacked on like an afterthought or bonus track (though there weren’t many bonus tracks in the eighties).
Today the original No Place For Disgrace has gone out-of-print and is hard to find. It’s a shame that this album hasn’t received the same luxury treatment that Doomsday for The Deceiver did in 2006 with its 20th anniversary remix/remastered version. That’s because the Doomsday For The Deceiver rights belong to Metal Blade Records while No Place For Disgrace was an Elektra release. Because of this, Flotsam And Jetsam haven’t been able to get the rights to re-release No Place For Disgrace. Instead, Flotsam re-recorded No Place For Disgrace in 2014 (released with the title No Place For Disgrace 2014). The re-recorded version isn’t awful but it’s obviously no substitute for the original. I’m happy to have my cassette copy of the old Elektra version thank you very much. My score: A