Tuesday 23 July 2013

Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals - Walk Through Exits Only (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 19/7/2013
Label : Season of Mist

Walk Through Exits Only, album track listing:
1.    Music Media Is My Whore
2.    Battalion of Zero
3.    Betrayed  
4.    Usurper Bastard's Rant
5.    Walk Through Exits Only
6.    Bedroom Destroyer
7.    Bedridden
8.    Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens

Every generation has its iconic artists. No other band left a deeper mark on metal in the 90's than PANTERA. Raging, roaring and bulldozing their way through the metal scene, these Texans have left a lasting legacy. At their front stood anger and hostility personified, PHILIP H. ANSELMO. Now the living legend is back with the first solo album in his hard hitting career: "Walk Through Exits Only"! What can you expect from a man that has always seemed like raw energy made flesh? A calm reflection born of the mildness granted by age? Not quite. PHILIP H. ANSELMO comes crushing with a mega-heavy, angry monster that merges the visceral aggression and power of PANTERA with the devastating thrash and Southern sludge that ANSELMO and the New Orleans scene pioneered. Backed by his hand-picked partners in crime, THE ILLEGALS, Phil once again proves to be the true master of all things heavy. Literally nothing has been able to stop this giant – not even death: ANSELMO overdosed, survived, came clean. As an artist, too, the vocalist was not only able to survive the massive impact PANTERA's breakup in 2003 but to continue with his ass-kicking projects DOWN and SUPERJOINT RITUAL. In recent years PHILIP H. ANSELMO has also focused in building up his own record label Housecore Records, which is releasing his own material as well acts that he is producing and supporting. Season of Mist is proud to be Housecore's official partner in releasing "Walk Through Exits Only" outside North America. Watch out for PHILIP H. ANSELMO AND THE ILLEGALS' first 666 ton milestone

Line – up:
Philip H. Anselmo: vocals
Marzi Montazeri: guitars
Bennett Bartley: bass
Jose Manuel Gonzales: drums

The gentleman in question obviously needs absolutely ZERO introduction. Perhaps one of the most legendary metal frontmen of all time, this is his long awaited debut solo record, complete with a totally righteous backing group. He, in his infinite and unquestionable wisdom, has decided to call this slab of ferocity 'Walk Through Exits Only'. This ain't no Down record, and this ain't no Pantera record either. This is something else entirely.
'Music Media Is My Whore' is a weird intro piece featuring a drum march pace (literally). What is instantly noticeable is how pissed off he is again. I love modern Anselmo to death, the elder statesman of groove who calmed down in his middle age and became the great mediator, almost spiritual in his approach to life after making public mistakes and suffering great loss and regret. I personally love that man, I hope to live my life that way. Many people love young Anselmo though, and this is that man reborn but with the added experience of being twice the age now. Anger is truly wasted on the young, after all. Phil has had his share of bouts with the music media, and this is an obvious diatribe against some of the less professional outlets (sadly seems to be increasing these days). It's all odd time signatures, but heavy as hell and constantly underlined with resolve. It's a great track to initiate the feel of the record.
The first real track is 'Battalion Of Zero'. This thing isn't even Thrash, I don't know what to call it. It's just metal, really, REALLY angry metal. The Illegals are CRAZY good at what they do, but apparently the entire record was written by Anselmo himself. Some insane solos abound but the real great pieces are just how tight the 'regular' moments are. As a metal album, it's fairly flawless.
'Usurper Bastard's Rant' is maybe closer to the feel of Pantera when it comes to that signature sound. I still cannot get over just how much rage there is sewn throughout this record though, possibly even more than there ever was in Pantera. It's practically dripping in the stuff. The drumming on this track alone is INSANE. Illegal's drummer Joey Gonzalez is like a man with possessed arms on this number, his limbs must be made of oak.
My favourite cut is the single choice for the record, and many of you may already be familiar with 'Bedridden'. It's full of meat, riffs so crazy heavy, fast and just plain crazy that if you try to sink your teeth into it then there's a fair chance that you ain't getting them fellas back in one piece. Heaving with vitriol and tremendous rhythms, it's impossible not to lose your shit to. It will stand up, and it will be taken notice of. A real triumph.
Word is that phil wants to do many of these solo offerings, and that he is such a varied music fan (or "nerd" as he calls himself frequently) these days that each one will probably be different in style to the last. That being the case you should get in on this action straight away, as it's probably already a unique piece. Ever wondered what a Phil Anselmo solo record would sound like?
It sounds like solid fucking gold, chief.
Words by : Matt Fitton

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the CD/LP here and DD at the usual places.  This record is immense.  Go buy it.  Thanks to Gunnar @ SOM for hooking us up with the record.