Blacklist Union – Till Death Us Do Part

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Review by Robert Baker

Receiving critical acclaim for both their first and second albums didn’t prevent L.A. band The Blacklist Union from becoming an almost defunct project of what-might-have-been. With a line-up change between debut release After The Mourning and follow up album Breakin’ Bread With The Devil, only founder and frontman Tony West remains as original BLU member for Till Death Us Do Part, the third release from the band.

Managing to suffer more destructive implosions within their ranks of the level it took Guns n’ Roses five albums and an Axl Rose to achieve, TDUDP is the solo album in all but name of singer Tony West, appearances from drummer Hunt Sales and most of the band Salvia notwithstanding. Mixing elements of the past thirty years of music, Till Death Us Do Part finds room for rock, metal, glam and grunge within the eleven tracks on offer. With vocals that bear more than a nod to a certain Black Sabbath Brummie, album opener and title track offers a tableau of the styles and sounds to come, the nu-metal nuance of the late nineties employed by bands such as Evanescence or Linkin Park layered across the top. Bizarrely it works, resulting in the tracks coming across larger and more involving than the mention of the dreaded misspelt genre would suggest.

‘Alabama Slammer’ and ‘Game Over’ bring you back to the sounds of more traditional rock done down n’ dirty, with ‘Diggin’ 4 Gold’ seeming to have come straight out the Velvet Revolver back catalogue, the guitars very bluesy and ballsy and brilliantly big. ‘Game Over’ and ‘I Do’ both manage to brood without being boring, in part helped by their placement on the album and in main by West’s lyrical content and delivery. Writing about the incidents and accidents his life has endured has meant West has a multitude of topics to pick from and isn’t shy in describing the intimate details in these slower numbers. Standout track ‘Blown Away’ holds nothing back in its layering of emotion and almost maudlin performance, the song a moving tribute to West’s sadly departed friend and former Alice In Chains Bassist Mike Starr that’s as reverential as it is remarkably passionate and imploring. A more reflective tone brings the album to a close in the form of ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’, acoustic guitars and a laid back feel that sends you away from the album feeling calmed and fulfilled, emotionally spent after the past forty five minutes aural workout.

The Blacklist Union may be the Tony West solo project in all but name, and if you can forgive the nu-metal and embrace the music Till Death Us Do Part will give you eleven tracks worth of quality music that, whilst it can sometimes drag as another heart-string plucking song comes on, continues to build on the BLU legacy with style.

Blacklist Union – Till Death Us Do Part8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Til Death Do Us Part
  2. Alabama Slammer
  3. Blown Away
  4. Game Over
  5. Same Ol’ Pressure
  6. Diggin’ 4 Gold
  7. Feed The Snakes
  8. I Do
  9. Don’t Change
  10. The Lick Kitty Slit Theme
  11. I Don’t Love You Anymore