Eclipse Records (label)
22 March 2019 (released)
12 January 2019
Being in a band with your dad is hardly the stuff of teenage dreams, but for one Kyle Silva and his father Lonnie, their love of no-nonsense, adrenalised groove metal transcends generations. They make up one half of Southern California natives Blacklist 9, and if you're in need of something to blast away those post-holiday blues and put some swagger back in your step, then 'Mentally Ill, Legally Sane' is waiting for you.
Right from the start, 'Stand In Line' and 'Kali Smile' set the tone for the record; thunderous, fuzzed-up riffs and powerhouse drumming with Graham Fletcher's demonic, raw-edged vocals at the helm. Imagine Corrosion Of Conformity's unhinged cousins dipping into thrash (and even death) metal influences in a Lamb Of God vein, add a fair few lyrical axes to grind, and you'll have an idea of what Blacklist 9 are serving up. Play this loud, preferably whilst driving fast under a blazing hot sun.
However, they're arguably at their most effective when they take their collective foot off the gas pedal, and give those riffs some space to breathe, as on 'Madness' and the closing 'Legally Sane'. Punishingly heavy, but with the kind of insistent choruses and rhythmic stomp that will linger long in your memory, this is surely the sound that Metallica were (or should have been) aiming for on their ultimately over-produced Black Album.
Whilst Blacklist 9 may never achieve that level of success, they're also unlikely to make those same mistakes. 'Mentally Ill, Legally Sane' is an uncompromising beast, and for the most part, all the better for it.