Blind Illusion

Nuclear Assault-style speed metal band with lots of "progressive" jamming; shares members with Primus and Possessed.
flag of the United States Blind Illusion - The Sane Asylum
The Sane Asylum
Production: Backroom clarity with healthy tone.

Review: For many years, out there in product-buying suburbs where kids left to inherit the empty existence of modern time were dwelling, a band called "Primus" was popular for those who wanted to be iconoclastic (a confusion of means and ends: instead of finding a sensible means and using whatever ends one needs to reach it, one defines oneself in opposition by refusing to use normal means but by not altering the ends one seeks, unconventionally repeating the conventional -- a game for people of less than genius intelligence) because it featured offtime jazz-style bass and guitar playing from two former metallians, Larry LaLonde (Possessed) and Les Claypool, who played in Blind Illusion. All of that introduction is necessary to show that while it might be easy to succeed in rock with a diminished melody whine for vocals and bouncy, "unexpected" rhythmic twists to your funk-influenced hard rock, metal is a different art. Blind Illusion, as speed metal comparable to a Megadeth-Nuclear Assault hybrid that inherited too much Motorhead and Grand Funk Railroad, attempts metal that uses the devices of rock without ever finding its own voice.


1. The Sane Asylum
2. Blood Shower
3. Vengeance Is Mine
4. Death Noise
5. Kamakazi
6. Smash The Crystal
7. Vicious Visions
8. Metamorphosis Of A Monster
Length: 39:42

Blind Illusion The Sane Asylum 1988 Combat
Copyright © 1988 Combat

Metal riffs tend to operate by "shape," while rock riffs work by "position"; in a rock riff, the idea is to find a way of integrating the chord into the rhythm of the song, usually by strumming it at times that give it the correct on/off emphasis in song -- in contrast, metal riffs are phrasal instead of singular and prefer to structure a self-referential phrase that not only throbs out the correct pattern but through the contour of riff as defined by texture, direction and pace emulates the type of sensation needed with its own circuit. Blind Illusion do less of this than they shift rock riffs into an advanced system of offbeats through selectively dropping down and repeating, speed metal style, a muffled chord, using the irregularity of that application in the bar to emphasize certain offtime matches. Sometimes, chords are striped into little modalities that serve as riffs, but for the most part, the rhythm guitarwork that made speed metal exciting has been subsumed to something that would fit more into a quasi-progressive rock band. This is done to unleash lead guitar, which often takes almost a third of the stage time of a song with its bluesy, cartographic leads and often a tendency to color emotion with harmony, something rare in lead guitar playing. Despite its power, it does not compensate for the void produced by the bouncy, directionless riffing.

Vocals chant until the end of each phrase, when a harmonization provides a sense like melody, but the most common role for them is to offset the shuffle drumming that leads each part of the song, bouncing between several patterns and always getting halfway into a fill before turning it into a breakdown and dropping back to what are essentially two-hit patterns as favored in jazz. Bass? Competent and like the work of Coroner, prone to melodic trills, strategically dropped notes and offbeat beginnings, but not as dominant as one might expect. The music here is not bad, but it resembles a heavy rock band with a few speed metal riffs more than it does any direction for metal, and, despite the often fantastic lead guitar, these songs not only express little of poetry (using musical devices to convey an artistic idea) but little of musicality, since they limit themselves to proving their ability to compete in rock and then fade away. It is no accident that history has swallowed this band whole and forgotten.

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