Phillip Anselmo and the Illegals: Walk Through Exits Only

Philip-H-Anselmo-The-Illegals-Walk-Through-Exits-OnlyPhillip Anselmo and the Illegals
Walk Through Exits Only

This album could be summarized in four words: ferocious, engaging, difficult, and accessible.

Anselmo, best known as the lead vocalist for Pantera and Down, has been pushing the limits of extreme heavy metal since he came on the scene and joined Pantera when he was just 19. Now 45, Anselmo’s focus has not waivered, and his first “solo” album is a welcome addition to his already long discography.

“I wanted to write something extreme that could really sit next to anything out there that’s considered extreme,” said Anselmo recently. “But I wanted it to stick out like a sore thumb, so to speak, and really be very hard to pigeonhole or put into any genre or subgenre. I wanted it to be a different listen, a challenging listen.”

A punch in the face right from the beginning, Walk Through Exits Only is a relentless onslaught of distortion, clipped bass drum and heavy low end. Coupled with Anselmo’s trademark growl and untraditional hooks, it equally repels you and draws you in. This is one of those records that is best described as a “slow burner.” It might not grab you on the initial listen, but keep with it because it has the legs to eventually be considered a classic.

“Within the chaos of the music I’m still a gigantic fan of huge hooks,” Anselmo enthused. “I think the more a person explores the record, I think the more the hooks will grow and become more evident within the songs. I realize it is a difficult listen, a very abrasive listen. Once you get past your first three or four listens, by the 10th or 20th listen, a lot of the more subtle nuances will rear up and hopefully stick in your head.”

It does. Believe me, it does.