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 the disbanding of 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, is about as hard-hitting as an atom bomb. 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.

All in all, it's just 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 returning to individual songs from the album (the song featured below is one of my favourites), the entire record is too much for me to handle in one listen.