Jul 6, 2013

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals - "Walk Through Exits Only"

By Bob Suehs

PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS

”Walk Through Exits Only”

It’s sad that Pantera will never record a new record nor will they tour again because without Dime there is no Pantera....with that being said, the new solo record from Phil Anselmo is probably the closest thing we will ever get to new Pantera music because his latest band simply called “Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals” is a lethal dose of heavy metal rage that picks up where “Suicide Note pt. 2” from Pantera’s “The Great Southern Trend Kill” left off! Every song on this record rips in a heavy as hell style yet there’s a groove and each track has a swirling guitar solo that makes this project more Pantera-ish than Phil’s prior projects (Down/Superjoint Ritual).

The breakdown for the record runs like this:

Track #1 is entitled “The Music Media Is My Whore” and it’s a super angry track that’s not even 2 minutes in length.... it’s pure scathing towards..you guessed it....the music media! Most of the song titles read clear in terms of what Phil was writing about just by the song titles alone. For what it’s worth I do agree that the music media perpetuated the Pantera feud BUT the individual band members also played their part in it & what the bands collective members needed to do was simply say “No Comment” when it came to questions about the band ....regardless, “The Music Media Is My Whore” is a rant-fest by Phil which actually is quite funny when you read the title because without the music media Phil wouldn’t get the attention he does and by writing a song about the music media he’s giving the press a nod of thanks in a weird way because rather than just ignoring the negative media Phil chose to write a song about it!

“Battalion of Zero” - “Heads up, Heads Down” is the opening lines Phil screams just before the song pummels your face off with stream rollin’ drums & crunchy treble soaked guitars. The guitar tone is not so sludgy on this record compared to Down & Superjoint and that’s where the Dimebag comparisons come into play because while Dime did tune down he never went into the sludgy stoner rock areas that Phil’s other bands lurked in.

“Betrayed” - This is the first song that lets up just a little yet it’s still heavier than anything on the radio today with an intensity & aggression that’s untouchable. Towards the end there’s this mellow synth part that’s NIN-ish which is something that’s unique to this song.

“Usurper’s Bastard Rant” - There’s a harmonic guitar moment that sets this song apart from the others on this record and the guitar solo’s are layered with a heavy Dimebag influence...when you hear it you will know exactly what I’m referring to if you know Pantera music at all!

“Walk Through Exits Only” - This song bleeds directly into “Usurpers...” and most of the record does that which makes it like one giant track. A fast guitar lick is played throughout the entire track and this one has a slight Slayer influence to it....after about 4 minutes the song slows down yet remains crunchy as hell with groove...This is where you can hear trademark Dime licks and will make you think, “Dammit, is this Pantera?” because when you mix Dimebag-ish guitar leads with Phil’s voice that IS the essence of Pantera’s sound!

“Bedroom Destroyer” - This song is interesting because the timing & the guitar licks are all over the place...the timing is different than most things I’ve heard Phil do before and this song really shows some diversity in the bands style. “Bedroom...” is less “Pantera-ish” than other tracks on this record because it’s almost like a progressive thrash metal epic & it’s what I’d imagine Iron Maiden sounding like if they played super heavy thrash/hardcore music. This track ends on a somber note with no drums just echoey guitars that slow it all down & set the mood just like the way “Suicide Note. pt 1.” did right before it kicked into “Suicide Note pt. 2.” off the Pantera “Great Southern Trend Kill” record.

“Bedridden” - The guitar solos remind me alot of Kerry King’s work with Slayer...this song is heavier than heavy but it’s not the heaviest thing on the record. Ironically this song is over before you realize it and that’s the precursor to the records closing moment.....

“Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens” closes the record with a 12 minute strong power trip that offers heavy riffs, screaming vocals, intense rhythm and this is the song that Phil chose to end the record with probably because it’s his big fuck you to EVERYONE who’s fucked with him over the years....the media, the shit talkers, etc., and to some degree I think this song is a big wake up call to Pantera fans because Phil proves that he CAN make Pantera styled music on his own if he wants to without the collective members of the band! Essentially Phil is not to blame for Dime’s death yet Vinnie blames him indirectly for it....the sad reality is that the entire band (all 4 members of Pantera) were just as responsible because they all shit talked in the media and sadly a deranged fan did the un-thinkable....the sad reality is without Dimebag there is no Pantera! When “Irrelevant...” hits the 5 minute mark there’s a guitar break that’s truly heartbreaking in many ways because it’s pure Dime styled shredding and it makes you realize how bittersweet it is that there will never be a Pantera reunion....I believe this entire record is Phil’s indirect tribute to his friend Dimebag & all I can say is the new Philip H. Anselmo record is the closest thing we will EVER get to a new Pantera music because all the elements are there (screaming guitar solo’s, tight riffs, heavy groove, screaming vocals) and you can truly hear what Phil brought to the Pantera table when you listen to this record!

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