Skip to main content

Philip H Anselmo And The Illegals - Choosing Mental Illness As A...album review

Ex-Pantera man comes screaming back from the abyss

Cover art for Philip H Anselmo And The Illegals - Choosing Mental Illness As A. Virtue

Despite his revealing and brutally honest interview with Rolling Stone at the end of 2016, Phil Anselmo’s reputation could still do with a boost. But whether or not you feel the former Pantera frontman should be able to move on from earlier misdemeanours, his music remains compelling and an often chilling glimpse into a deeply troubled soul.

Even more unrelenting and ugly than the Illegals’ 2013 debut Walk Through Exits Only, this new collection of snarling diatribes makes no attempt to court mainstream metal fans. Instead the likes of bruising opener Little Fucking Heroes and the churning, defiantly on-the-wonk Delinquent offer a skewed and intricate take on filthy, underground death metal and nihilistic sludge. The title track is the strongest thing here, its lurching grooves and descent into harrowing slow-motion doom providing Anselmo with the perfect backdrop for his incensed outbursts. Like him or loathe him, he’s still got it.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.