Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review of "Walk Through Exits Only" by Phil Anselmo & the Illegals




Phil Anselmo undoubtedly has the perfect heavy metal voice. Its mercilessly aggressive – the sound of flowing testosterone and swirling red mist.

This new project of Phil's sees him really showing off his range, alternating between high screams, low growls and hardcore shouting. Since his departure from the mighty Pantera, Phil has pretty much done whatever he feels like, working on a variety of side projects and bands. This new creation of his is a concoction of various heavy metal genres – the aim of the game to be as extreme as possible.

Now, I'm no wimp when it comes to metal, but sadly this album was beyond my threshold. It's not a question of being too heavy or too brutal. Take the album Abandon All Life by Nails as a point of comparison.



This album, Abandon All life, might just be the most extreme thing to hit this planet since the Hiroshima atom bomb (wow, that simile was a bit dark). The difference between this album and Walk Through Exits Only however comes down to length and groove. Whilst Abandon All Life is only 17 minutes in length, Walk Through Exits Only pummels the listener for over 40 minutes and yet feels longer. Whilst Abandon All Life offers satisfying moments of headbangability, Walk Through Exits Only is a mass of dissonant riffs and odd time signatures that barely seem to connect. There is little or no room on the album to simply rock out.

The record altogether feels a bit too dissonant for me. I adore Phil's voice and the murky production over the top is fantastic. Although I can see myself playing individual songs from the album, the entire record is too much for me to handle in one listen. 


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