(Review by Patrick De Sloover)

This third album of Blacklist Union (BLU) is dedicated to the life and art of Michael Christopher Starr (April 4,1966 – March 8,2011), who was the original bass player of Alice In Chains. Due to severe drug addictions, Michael’ body was found in Salt Lake City and still his memory lives on by many musicians and followers of his skilled bass playing and song writing. Blacklist Union featuring Tony West, who is an authentic Italian-born New Yorker released already a few albums in the past, but due circumstances, he profiles this third album as a kind of solo album, for the simple reason that he’s taking control on about everything that an album release demands. Blacklist Union is his life, Blacklist Union is Tony West, so it’s obvious that he wants to state this clear. 

BLU=Tony West, albeit necessary to mention that he’s working with a very talented line up, better described as a bunch of friends instead of opportunists. The additional musicians are Jon E Love (Lead Guitar and member of Love/Hate), Wayne Swinny (Rhythm Guitar), Dave Novotny (Bass), Paul Crosby (Drums) and Hunt Sales (Drums).  Wayne, Dave and Paul also played and recorded several albums with their band Saliva, while Hunt Sales played with Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop just to name a few. A very impressive lineup and that’s audible from the very first seconds!

The album opens with the track ‘Til Death Do Us Part’, and after listening to this album for several hours and times, I guess it’s the strongest arrangement of the 11 tracks that feature this release. The mesmerizing chorus line and the conjuring effect of the overall sound is very impressive! It has a lot in common with the music of Type O Negative, although it’s lesser dark and more into the rock scene. The sound, done by Chris Johnson, is perfect in balance, as some tracks are petty open and contain no superfluous elements.  The saying, less is more, fits perfectly to this third release by BlackList Union! The second song is called ‘Alabama Slammer’, and continuous the chosen path. Great arrangement, superb vocals and a song that will appeal to a lot of music addicts! ‘Blown Away’, ‘Game Over’ and ‘Same Ol’ Pressure’ are songs that are written by Tony West and Anthony Valli, who’s not a permanent member of the band. The track ‘Don’t Change’ is originally written by INXS, but fits perfect in between the own material. 

The only track that makes my hair curl is ‘The Lick Kitty Split Theme Song’, as it’s a very annoying track that I prefer to skip. Anyway, there is so much to discover on this ‘Till Death Do Us Part’, that I would like to advice this release for people that aren’t narrow minded at all. Fans of Warrior Soul, Type O Negative, Audrey Hornye, Alice In Chains and Buckcherry will be pleased with the songs on this release. Don’t expect breaks, hooks and progressive influences, but you will get songs that have an addictive and musing, immersed in mainly slower hypnotizing arrangements. Normally I like my music heavy and loud, but this was a welcome variation and I’m sure that I will spin this release now and then in the future. Blacklist Union Facebook  / CDBABY

My rating: 87 / 100


95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !

Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan

Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it

Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing

Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate

Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard

50- : Rubbish