Blind Illusion

The Sane Asylum

Blind Illusion - The Sane Asylum ©1988 Under One Flag/Combat
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

Way back before Primus hit the musical rader with Suck on This and Frizzle Fry, bassist Les Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde spent some time apparently as session musicians for a fellow Bay Area guitarist/songwriter/singer named Mark Biedermann. The thrash project by no means was a vehicle for Claypool or LaLonde; rather, it was a technical thrash band that only hinted slightly at the talents of the two more known members. At best, The Sane Asylum is loopy and quirky, at least for a Bay Area thrash album. At worst, which is the majority of the record, it's a mediocre attempt at the style that languishes away in obscurity for good reason. The opening and very short title track hints at possible weirdness and a strange sound, but it gives way to a more standard fare on "Blood Shower". Most of the riffs are common and hardly unexpected. Occasionally the bass adds a bit of a deeper dimension to the music, but Claypool afficiandos might very well be disappointed that very little focus is placed on him. LaLonde and Biedermann do team up for some decent melodic leads here and there but nothing to save the album. Biedermann's vocals are neither bad nor good. Instead, they're just a higher pitched reedy sound that doesn't really sell any of the songs but hardly destroys them either. The long instrumental passage in "Death Noise" suggests the band should have explored intricate musical segments more than standard thrash, but hindsight is 20/20, you know. Of the eight tracks, perhaps only "Kamakazi" succeeds in truly getting the listener's attention. But on the whole, The Sane Asylum only will get attention over a decade after its release not for the band's music but for who was in the band. Curiosity item only.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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