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

NOLA’s turbulent icon ups the extremity once more

over art for Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals - Choosing Mental Illness As A... album

Pioneering Music of mindblowing heaviness with acts like Pantera, Down and Superjoint, mercurial vocalist Phil Anselmo has so dramatically shaped it with his throat-shredding roar, his combative lyricism and his snarling physical stature as to render it utterly his own. With each side-project and each successive release, the frontman has conjured a progressively denser and heavier sound, culminating with 2013’s Walk Through Exits Only, his solo debut as Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals. That album saw him all but abandon his groove metal past, channelling an exponentially darker and more nihilistic air. Continuing his campaign of chaos, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue serves up 10 tracks of uncompromising brutality, erupting with blastbeats, paint-peeling hardcore riffage and Phil’s piercing shriek, sharpened into a rusty awl that picks away at the corners of your psyche. Cowboys From Hell this is not.

From the Slayer-inspired tempos of opener Little Fucking Heroes, to the headbanging glory of Delinquent, the musicianship is superlative, boasting ultra-tight, piledriving rhythms and buzzsaw riffage of crushing density. Meanwhile, tracks like Finger Me and Mixed Lunatic Results will curl a grin on the face of even the grumpiest old-school death metaller. Commingling elements of black, death, thrash, sludge and hardcore, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue is wholly devoid of commercial aspirations; rather, it’s aimed at people with a high tolerance for disorder and an abiding love of extreme metal. In this sense, Anselmo has remained faithful to his own vision and in doing so, he has released both his most inaccessible and his most authentic material in years.

Pioneering Music of mindblowing heaviness with acts like Pantera, Down and Superjoint, mercurial vocalist Phil Anselmo has so dramatically shaped it with his throat-shredding roar, his combative lyricism and his snarling physical stature as to render it utterly his own. With each side-project and each successive release, the frontman has conjured a progressively denser and heavier sound, culminating with 2013’s Walk Through Exits Only, his solo debut as Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals. That album saw him all but abandon his groove metal past, channelling an exponentially darker and more nihilistic air. Continuing his campaign of chaos, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue serves up 10 tracks of uncompromising brutality, erupting with blastbeats, paint-peeling hardcore riffage and Phil’s piercing shriek, sharpened into a rusty awl that picks away at the corners of your psyche. Cowboys From Hell this is not.

From the Slayer-inspired tempos of opener Little Fucking Heroes, to the headbanging glory of Delinquent, the musicianship is superlative, boasting ultra-tight, piledriving rhythms and buzzsaw riffage of crushing density. Meanwhile, tracks like Finger Me and Mixed Lunatic Results will curl a grin on the face of even the grumpiest old-school death metaller. Commingling elements of black, death, thrash, sludge and hardcore, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue is wholly devoid of commercial aspirations; rather, it’s aimed at people with a high tolerance for disorder and an abiding love of extreme metal. In this sense, Anselmo has remained faithful to his own vision and in doing so, he has released both his most inaccessible and his most authentic material in years.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.