The words Phil Anselmo and extreme metal are probably enough to have any right minded metal fan excited. Well that’s exactly what Walk Through Exits Only is and it’s full of a apparently very pissed off Philip H. Anselmo (as he is now apparently known) teaming up with his band The Illegal’s to release an album chock full of heavy as fuck metal.
The album opens with “Music Media is my Whore”, which is held together by an almost marching drum beat and has Phil being very pissed off over the top as he rants about “the rise of anti-music” and how the industry needs to “flush the format back to the sewer”. It’s a defiant start and should really let you know what is about to come. Mr. Anselmo is not making an album to pander to the people, but rather for himself. Something that becomes clear as “Battalion of Zero” hits in sounding very thrash but with Phil Anselmo on vocals. The drums sound huge and the guitar heavy and what it lacks in melody it makes up in pure unhinged magic. Make no mistake, this isn’t opera, this is music to smash shit up to.
There are some moments in this album that feel like Philip could use a really good editor. “Betrayed”, while keeping up the machine gun drums and Phil sounding fantastically sneery on the verses before his chants of “revolt” in the chorus, comes in at over five minutes long. Something that it never really feels like it needs to do, even if the last minute is some weird electronic stuff that has nothing in common with what has came before. Presumably it’s supposed to be a little break for the listener but it doesn’t really grab you and you are just sitting around waiting for it to get unhinged again. Thankfully it does as they launch into “Usurper’s Bastard Rant” which is more focused around a recurring riff and is not the full blown insanity of some of it’s predecessor’s. It’s still hardly a pop song and Phil still sounds like a man possessed while Joe Gonzalez deserves a medal for the shift he puts on here with his Fear Factory like drumming.
This is Phil Anselmo letting himself go and getting all that anger out in nine slabs of ridiculously heavy extreme metal. If you’re looking for melody and big choruses you are probably better off looking elsewhere, as there are very little of both here and I’d even go as far to say if you like Down and Pantera it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like this. What you have here is an extreme metal album that incorporates everything from thrash to death metal and while it won’t be sitting on many end of the year lists, it really is great fun to listen to. Quite frankly it’s Phil Anselmo. If you need more than that you’re in the wrong place.
For fans of: Slayer, Pantera
Choice cuts: “Bedridden”, “Usurper’s Bastard Rant”