Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Forgotten Gems-Blacklist

Based in Texas (and not to be confused with the countless other bands that adopted this particular moniker), Blacklist was a power/thrash metal band that was active during the nineties. Influenced by death metal, thrash, and the groovy hard & heaviness that is Pantera, Blacklist began life as a high school metal outfit before going on to self-release two underground gems, "Put to Rest" and "From Down Below"* (1996 and 1999 respectively). Released on cassette tape in 1994, "Total Control" was the group's first studio recording and it came out while the members were still in high school! Both "Put to Rest" and "Fire Down Below" were graciously sent to me on CD by drummer Todd Jara. Blacklist was rounded out by bassist/vocalist Bill Hall and guitarist/backing vocalist Micheal Allen. Of the two I actually prefer "Put to Rest". While 1999's "From Down Below" is more technical and complex (which is actually a good thing-musical growth being essential for any metal band, no matter if they are old veterans or new to the game with only a couple of releases to their name), the raw edge of "Put to Rest" is nothing short of infectious! With that being said, both albums are stone cold brutal in their own right. Blacklist was all about the heaviness...broken bodies in the pit merely a side effect. There are moments on "From Down Below" that express a love for "...and Justice for All"-era Metallica and post-1991 Sepultura (IE: beautifully-written melodic moments that give the listener a much needed breather between the thrashers), but overall these three fine gentlemen were trying to keep metal mean & mighty during a time when grunge was trying to exterminate all things hard & heavy. Having lived and breathed the scene back then, bands like Blacklist fought the good fight in a battle that they just couldn't win. Here in 2018 we should continue to shine a bright light on these forgotten heroes. It might be small comfort to the band members themselves, but Blacklist is another one of those underground bands that I would love to see get the grand treatment...if I only had the funds to start up my own label. The fact is there are far too many great bands out there that didn't get the proper recognition that deserved they in the first place. With their sick mixture of thrash metal, power metal, death metal, and (face smashing!) groove, Blacklist had a sound that stands the test of time and is quite marketable. I could easily see these albums being re-released by a label like Divebomb Records. I might just have to send a suggestion their way. In the meantime, Heavy Metal Time Machine will continue it's mission to share underground/hidden albums with all of our readers.

*I'm not sure where the closing sample comes from on this disc, but I am always on the lookout for the future ex-Mrs. Andrew Davis...

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Blogger Todd Jara said...


Great job man you were dead on, grunge was taking over at that time and those of us in the metal scene were just trying to stay afloat! But regardless we stayed heavy and evolved over time, wish we could have recorded the music we had written & were playing live the last year we were together, because I moved off drums and went to keyboards and samplers, and still had a heavy sound but with electronics. I think we were about 10 years too late. Still was some of the best times of my life being in that band. Loved what you had to say. And keep it up brotha! Thanks my friend!


Todd Jara -drummer, keyboardist, sampler of Blacklist

P.S. That recording at the end of F.D.B. Was a message left on my answering machine by one of the chicks that had been to our shows. That’s right I said answering machine. Remember when we had those?

4:23 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I remember answering machines. We sure have come a long way!

10:08 AM  

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