CD REVIEW: Blacklist Union - Till' Death do us Part
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Blacklist Union
Album: Till' Death do us Part
Label: BLU Records
Genre: Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal
Sounds Like: Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Audioslave, Alice in Chains
Weakness: A Few Winded Songs, More Vocal Emotion
Burbank California 5 piece Alternative Metal band Blacklist Union” just released their latest 11 track catalogue entitled “Till Death do us Part” in 2012. Initially Formed back in 2004 by Tony West, Blacklist Union has dominated the rock n roll underground and their newest release “TIL DEATH DO US PART" will be certainly exposing them to a larger audience around the world. Blacklist Union is a true rock n roll band that continuously pushes themselves to the limit in every aspect of their music. Singer/songwriter Tony West tackles real life situations that affect each and every one of us in one form or another. From character assassination, to name dropping, addictions, sexual innuendos, romance , friendships, birth, death and living on the edge of destruction is just a fraction of what is touched on in their music.
The CD kicks things off with the title track a slamming rock groove that serves up sonic guitar intro, driving rock rhythm against no holds barred guitar driven piece against foreboding vocal presence from West. Track 2 shifts gears a bit with “Alabama Slammer” a marketable yet melodic follow-up piece that serves up heartfelt vocal delivery that flows and ebbs it’s way though to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Blown Away” keeps things moving with its melodic guitar ambience, methodical musical build and overall dynamic vocal feel. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Audioslave with perhaps a dash of Metallica and even Alice in Chains. The music has everything you would expect from a high octane power driven hard rock CD. The musical style refuses to be pinned down, the vocals are amazing, gritty and are deep in your grill. The guitar playing is hot to the touch. There are also touches of Classic Jam band but with a modern Psychedelic-Rock to Hard Rock aftertaste. West’s vocal style works extremely well with this style of music with its stereotypical jagged edge delivery. I might add his timing is spot on and his vocal intensity is off the charts. I also noticed a few hot to the touch guitar solos along the way. Rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick. What I like most about the music is its sheer intensity; note for note and song for song. By track 5 the CD hits solid stride dishing out many impressive songs in a row. Like a heavy weight boxer the songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. I also like some of the theatrical production touches on some of the songs. From grooving “Game Over” to dynamic “Same Ol’ Pressure” to my personal favorite “Diggin’ 4 Gold” and rocking “Feed ths Snakes” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “I Don’t Love You anymore” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I like the vocal performances but at times I wish West would come out of his shell a bit and really let loose thus melting my face with some blood curling emotions and screaming. C’mon man! Overall the vocal delivery comes across as sounding a tad bit sterile and calm. I like vocals that sound more like a caged beast that has just escaped, hungry for blood and cannot be controlled.
This latest release Blacklist Union is a solid musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the raw song for song intensity that keeps coming at you. The music is dirty, rock solid, heavy and consistent. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful punch, and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up. Like a 1-2 punch the song keep coming at you, one after the other until you’re ready to tap out. What am I trying to say? Black List Union rocks - that’s what.