Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only
Housecore Records 2013
While his musical output may never reach Mike Patton levels of self-indulgent prolificity; metal legend Philip H. Anselmo‘s hands are rarely idle. For over the past two decades Anselmo has been a man of many hats. Enough so in fact that it’s an impressive feat just to even have had enough time to finally get this album out the door.
Fleshed out by his backing band The Illegals; “Walk Through Exits Only” is Anselmo‘s long-awaited solo offering. A visceral, disturbing look into the mind of a man whose talent and attitude irrevocably changed metal for the better.
With the big 5-0 approaching you’d be able to forgive Anselmo if he wanted to bust out the acoustic guitar and indulge in some heartfelt self-reflection or even share a few cautionary tales. As “Walk Through Exits Only” proves, all “The Kid” wants is release.
This album is Anselmo cutting a swath through years of pent up, overgrown extremity and gnarled aggression. Unbridled expression and audio devastation are the propellant with direction and standardized elements of songwriting left strangled and rotting by the wayside.
Feeling like the score to Anselmo‘s own inner masterpiece of cinematic violence, there’s splintered bones and lacerations aplenty to be found in the dense bludgeoning on hand. What makes the assault so crippling is the chaotic mix of thrash, groove, sludge, death metal and more that he uses to ply his trade.
A repulsive display of screeching riffs, meaty rhythms and discordant barks wrought from a lifetime of highs and lows, excessive horror movie consumption and a penchant, “Walk Through Exits Only” certainly revels in pushing peoples limits. It may not entirely makes sense to anyone but Anselmo himself, but there’s enough vision and blackened heart behind it that you can’t deny its power.
Fitted with sludgy production and relentless playing, the material can become a test of endurance as to how much aural weight one can have stacked upon them. But as the haunting piano driven outro of “Betrayed” proves, there is an artistic intent and purpose behind all the sonic violence and grueling punishment.
That Anselmo foregoes tradition and repeatedly get lost in his own personal expulsions throughout the course of this record is to be expected. But even though he is hell-bent on hostility, he pours enough of his soul into the works that you can almost taste his conviction.
You won’t walk away humming any leads or choruses, but that’s not the point here. The point is that you are barely left able to walk away at all
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