December 28, 2023

Blind Illusion - The Sane Asylum (1988)

*European first pressing. 
Contains 8 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: 88561-8226-2

© 1988 Combat
A secret supergroup of sorts, now best-known for once containing two-thirds of what would become Primus (those being guitarist Larry LaLonde and bassist Les Claypool), San Francisco's Blind Illusion had been active in one shape or another for nearly a decade before issuing their lone album, Sane Asylum, in 1988. And, given the band's long history, one can better understand why their music certainly drank from the local scene's then-prevalent thrash metal fountain (see finger-bleeding workouts like "Vengeance Is Mine" and "Smash the Crystal"), but never fully subscribed to its rules. Instead, standout offerings like "Blood Shower," "Death Noise" (quite the showcase for LaLonde, and featuring a very nifty breakdown, to boot), and "Metamorphosis of a Monster" (adding what sounds like Hammond organs to the mix), boasted a looser, more musical and eclectic, almost progressive rock mindset. If only these elements hadn't been stunted by a less than stellar production job, which replicates speed metal's ultra-compressed sound and nearly buries Claypool's trademark busy fingerwork in the process, the end result might have proved more powerful. But, as it stands, these and additional schizophrenic tracks like "Kamikazi" and "Vicious Visions" (somehow containing the L.P.'s best and worst moments at once) only serve to reveal the creative dilemma raging within Blind Illusion. Specially, here was a group of pre-thrash veterans reluctantly trying to contain their wide-ranging creative powers into the reigning style's limiting framework. Not surprisingly, it's usually Sane Asylum's by-the-book thrashings that come off forced -- not its more experimental moments, and one can clearly appreciate why its members eventually had to go express their interests elsewhere. However, as one of the Bay Area thrash scene's most original, if flawed documents, Sane Asylum remains worthy of pursuit for serious thrash enthusiasts.

 tags: blind illusion, the sane asylum, 1988, flac,


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