"Mentally Ill, Legally Sane" (self-released; 2018)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

You're not sure what's going on with Blacklist 9's "Mentally Ill, Legally Sane" CD when the first track starts. It sounds like maybe somebody hid a microphone in Hell or something. It's really just some weird atmospheric noise with occasional human and monster noises scattered throughout.

But then that passes and the music starts and you're all, "Oh, it's like this." Because "Mentally Ill, Legally Sane" is dark, ugly heavy metal with lyrics like "Stepping in, stepping out. Always runnin' your fuckin' mouth." And then those vocals go from fairly clean to a deep, guttural, demonic growl.

Like Pantera, Blacklist 9 channel anger into music and do it well. Each song features chugging, heavy guitar, fast-paced rhythms, some twisted leads and those snarling vocals. But there's a lot of variety here, too, considering. "Legally Sane," the last track on the album, for example, could almost be a Black Sabbath song if not for the decidedly edgier vocals.

The production throughout is a little rough but that only adds to the album's saw-toothed edge.

Overall, a very entertaining album that fans of Pantera and the like will enjoy.

Blacklist 9: Josh Rodriguez bass guitar; Kyle Silva guitar; Lonnie Silva drums; Graham Fletcher vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2018 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.