Philip H Anselmo And The Illegals: Walk Through Exits Only

Ex Pantera vocalist cuts first solo album.

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Former frontman with sludge metal extremists Pantera, Philip H. Anselmo went right over the brink when he overdosed on heroin in 1996 and his heart stopped beating for five minutes. He left the group and has since devoted much of his energy on managing his label Housecore Records, but Walk Through Exits Only shows zero signs of his slowing down.

From the opening seconds of Music Media Is My Whore, on which he shows a fine disregard for buttering up the critics, he and his band rage full pelt and with foot-through-the-floor maximum density. There’s no respite as he and the Illegals roar through valleys of fire and chunder, with Marzi Montazeri’s squealing, agonised guitars signifying the carnage they leave trailing in their wake on Betrayal and Usurper Bastard’s Rant.

This is relentless, all-consuming, hellbent fare. Bedroom Destroyer is a visceral vomitorium while, if anything, Bedridden actually drills through the wall they’ve been battering against all album long, tunnelling through to a new zone of intensity. There’s no light, no shade, no nuance, no reflection – just a sheer, onrushing, hurricane force. Music media cannot assess Walk Through Exits Only, merely stand aside and let it storm past.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.