Thursday, January 25, 2018

Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals : "Choosing Mental Illness as Virtue"

Phil Anselmo has almost as many side projects as Mike Patton. Like Mike Patton they all fall under the shadow of the band that put them on the map, in case it's Pantera. While the first song is as aggressive as what I have heard from this project in the past , but the guitars are adding some sonic layers of melody and the chords are allowed to ring out more. You can hear touches of Down mixed with death metal on "Utopian" which is not as engaging as the first song. The title track rages with more of a death metal attack. They are sticking pretty close to a more grind core take on what Cannibal Corpse used to do. It can be argued just how legit of a grind core band this is. I can say the more under ground legit bands could stand to learn from how to throw in a hook. Skills that translated over from the Pantera days. This is also why a song like " the Ignorant Point" works better than the speed fest that is "Individual". The latter's best moments comes from the Slayer like thrash riffs toward the end , not from the nasty blasting.

The guitars on this album are pretty mean. The drums could stand to come up in the mix a little. Phil sounds fine , He never actually sings, most vocals are spoken in gruff shouts or growls. He almost sounds like Rollins on "Delinquent". There are some almost blackened spasms that this song devolves into. "Photographic Taunts" is a heavier version of the previous song that is more jarring in the battle of blasts versus chugs. Phil growls more in a lower death metal fashion here. "Finger Me" also stays within the same parameters as the two songs before it. So at this point in the album it's all beginning to sound the same. There is a break down that is cool on "Finger Me" , but the rule here is cool riffs alone don't make a good song. So being heavy for the sake of being heavy doesn't really fly with me in and of itself.

They continue to offer a variation on a theme on "Invalid Colubrine Frauds" which benefits from the lyrics which take on mass shootings. Phil's theory is they are caused by people who are not left along. The last song is like the others there is a partially melodic outro to it but it blasts by without really gaining my attention. I'll give this a 7.5, making it far from Phil's best work and perhaps the least adventurous of his side projects.

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