Release Date: Jul 16, 2013
Record label: Housecore
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Nothing but respect for Phil Anselmo and his dedication to just get more extreme with age. For a guy who fronted one of metal's most commercially successful bands, he sure isn't trying to break back into the mainstream. In fact, it seems to actively repulse him: opener "Music Media Is My Whore" sounds like one big, horrible farewell letter to the music biz.
Throughout his career with bands like Pantera and Down, Phil Anselmo has always been at the helm of metal bands that excel at mining maximum heaviness out of a good groove, relying not only on volume and aggression, but also rhythm. On Walk Through Exits Only, the debut from his latest solo project, Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, the iconic groove metal frontman offers up something altogether more chaotic.
If there’s one thing that can be said about Philip H. Anselmo that rings true, it’s that the former Pantera firestarter has oozed a life’s worth of molten metal. The man (or “the kid”, as he refers to himself) is responsible for unfuckwithable heavy metal milestones such as Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven—not to mention Down’s now-classic Sabbath sermon, NOLA—and because of these metal landmarks, there isn’t one person out there who could disagree that Anselmo’s heavy metal status is adamantium.
Phil Anselmo has nothing left to prove. As the frontman of Pantera, Anselmo pushed heavy metal forward as the genre began to morph and mutate in the face of grunge. He was one of the last great vocalists of the classic metal era, and his legacy is solidified. However, after Pantera disbanded in 2003, restlessness set in for Anselmo — or perhaps it’s prolificacy, or an unwavering devotion to rock ‘n roll, as he’s joined and started numerous bands, supergroups, and one-off collabs with icons such as Tony Iommi and Hank Williams III.
On “Walk Through Exits Only,” Phil Anselmo expands his heavy-metal empire, taking over a piece of tough, guttural turf that sounds distinctly different from his previous work with Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual. Credited to Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, “Exits” is a raw brand of battle metal full of barking vocals, squealing guitars, and martial rhythms.
Where Philip H Anselmo differs from almost every other metal front man is that if he wasn't singing in Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual etc or, in this case, with The Illegals on his first genuinely solo record, he'd be down in the pit, cracking heads with the rest of us. Guaranteed. He's a fan, first and foremost, and that ability to offload his ego and bond with other fans on a simplistic heavy metal level, completely separates him from almost all of his peers.