‘Mentally ill, Legally Sane’ is the debut album from California groove-metal band Blacklist-9. What’s interesting about the band’s line up is that drummer Lonnie Silva and guitarist Kyle Silva are father and son respectively. The two began writing material in their garage and recruited local musicians to complete the line-up.
In 2016, the material that Lonnie & Kyle wanted to write would take the band into a different direction, and as a result Graham Fletcher(Vocals) and Ray Burke(Bass) were brought in to finalise the new line-up.
This new direction is obvious to hear, as album opener ‘Stand In Line’ follows short intro ‘Azzip’. The perfect execution of tuned down guitars instantly tells you what sort of a journey we are going on here. Fletcher’s vocals as melodic as they are fierce. The tune’s Kyuss-esque crunching riff and double bass drums will have your head nodding in appreciation without you even realising.
‘Kali Smile’ is an absolute pearler. The stop-start opening riff is nothing short of genius as it builds up and releases itself into the song. Fletcher’s vocals, which I think are on a par with the late Keith Deen from Holy Terror, are filled with anger and he doesn’t hold back if he has something to say. Take ‘Down’ as an example. ”I’ll bring you down, I’ll beat you down, keep them coming I’ll bury you into the ground.” Lovely.
There’s a ‘dirty’ sound to this album, like it’s not been mixed properly, and I love that. It makes it sound more ‘Live’ and that fits this band just perfectly. Have a listen to the bass on ‘Legally Sane’. Is that Geezer Butler or what?? In fact, the whole opening riff could be a tribute to Black Sabbath. Magical stuff.
The album’s first single ‘Madness’ is a slow, but pulsating stomper of a track. It’s anger is the strength here and the sub-rap works well in the chorus. It has enough fire within it to get any resistant mosh pit circling like ants. ‘Liars’ edges into a different direction, more Slayer if you will. Chorus seems to be key with Blacklist-9. There’s anger in them all, allowing a frustrated release in each track.
This is a great debut. However, I feel Blacklist-9’s power will be in their live performances. UK dates please.
1 – Azzip
2 – Stand In Line
3 – Kali Smile
4 – Down
5 – Madness
6 – Liars
7 – Mental Hostage
8 – Legally Sane
Graham Fletcher – Vocals / Kyle Silva – Guitars / Ray Burke – Bass / Lonnie Silva – Drums