Archive for the ‘Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals’ Category

Anger Management: Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

We check in with all things heavy on RTRFM’s Critical Mass show.

Phil Anselmo is certainly a polarising figure in heavy metal, having boozily rode the HUGE success of Pantera in the mid ‘90s only for it to peter out with a heroin overdose, accusations of racism and the sloppy, ‘he said-she said’ bickering that ultimately ended Pantera (not to mention to tragic murder of Dimebag Darrell). The man is known for never staying stagnant however, and directly after the band’s split (hell, even before) he began occupying his time with ‘supergroup’ Down. playing with underground legends Necrophagia for a spell, forming the scuzzed out sludge band Superjoint Ritual, dabbled in some black metal and founded his record label Housecore Records.

More recently Phil has played guitar with NOLA sludge legends Eyehategod and subsequently formed a band with EHG’s Mike WIlliams in which he plays guitar (Arson Anthem). For such a ‘mainstream’ figure, he certainly is devoted to the underground scene. So with one foot planted firmly in the underground/NOLA sludge scene, and some fresh blood in his new backing band ‘The Illegals’, is Phil and his new album Walk Through Exits Only relevant in 2013?

Well, yes and no. A cop-out? Sure, depends on if you are a diehard fan of the man or not. On first listen, it’s definitely less bluesy and sludgy than one might expect. A more solid guitar sound that occasionally throws up a few surprises (Battalion Of Zero and the title track), that being said it’s still quite ‘chuggy’ with the expected amount of pinch harmonic guitar squeals and wah-wah’d solos.

Anselmo occasionally changes up his vocal range, but it is predominantly his standard roar that dominates the mix. The occasional double tracking and various effects are interesting. As a vehicle for Anselmo, it is what it is and die hard fans will love it. Kudos to him for constantly moving in different directions but ultimately though there are a lot better releases this year.