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Album Of The Month January 2018
Philip H Anselmo & The Illegals | ‘Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue’

It’s sad that Phil Anselmo’s legacy has been somewhat sullied by the hack of his behaviour.

One never quite knows where he’s at.

It means the comments sections of the internet are going to once again outdo themselves for this release – with probably about 1% having taken the time to listen to the album.

Sad – but understandable, and indeed forgivable.

The thing is, this album is very, very good. It’s heavy, groovy, blasty, grindy and angry in equal measure. Chaotic at times, honed at others.

It is easily summed up: take Phil’s vocal style from Trendkill, add what basically sounds like the remnants of early Soilent Green and Superjoint, and you’re there.

Far Beyond ‘Bro Metal

The big man himself sounds genuinely riled: his usual targets are all identified and bollocked (‘Little Fucking Heroes’, ‘Photographic Taunts’), while the dissonant, mulchy guitars are as far from ‘bro stylings as you could get in their jarring, sliding slalom.

That’s where the Soilent Green sound comes in. When those blasts drop and the guitars are sliding all over the place, it’s pure ‘Sewn Mouth Secrets’, only not quite to the same level of manic intensity.

Tellingly the effected and harmonized solo in ‘Individual’ is exactly that. It comes from nowhere on the album to evidence some real musical brain behind all that brawn.

Then hear ‘Finger Me’: that amazing vocal line ‘I will do my job, you will do yours‘ is just pure cool.


Interestingly, Anselmo has placed his vocal reasonably far back in the mix. It’s a deferential choice that allows the sound created by the whole – the frankly flattening drums, the warm guitars and all the rest to coalesce around him, with his voice another instrument.

Well, a highly recognisable one, it must be said. But when he’s bawling out the disses in ‘Photographic Taunts’, I’m hearing equally as much ‘I’ve served too many bast…ards….‘, if you catch my drift.

It’s an impressively low key way for him to return, and an incredibly laudable one.

Ferociously heavy at times, with the swampy, muggy sound of the Bayou all over it, blasting here and careering there – it’s a worthy album of the month and a genuinely excellent spin no matter who the band members might be.

Leave your preconceptions at the door and enjoy it for what it is.

Which is heavy.

4.3 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 02/01/18

  1. Album of the month on the 2nd day of the year. Premature congratulations?

  2. Do you suppose I only start listening to contenders on the first of every month?

  3. Sounds really good so far more like what I was expecting from the new Iron Monkey!

  4. Surprisingly cool song. I thought Phil was past it to be honest. His vocals in Down have been getting worse and worse- tuneless and, structurally, a complete mess, and anything I heard from Scour was completely middle of the road, nonessential black metal for beginners. The riffs on the song above are really well crafted, the tones are nice and raw and even his vocals sound strong. Nice growls with plenty of filth and dynamic to it all. It seems to slip easily from sludge to death metal to grind and back without sounding forced. Good job.

  5. It was really going well until 1:40 when he went full Phil on it. They will have to work to come back from that.

    Still better than I expected from him, but I expect nothing from him at this stage. Well I must have expected something if I pressed play I suppose.

  6. Fair play, Phil & co. That really ain’t too bad at all.

  7. Yep, fair play to the man.

  8. Miotal Trom Says:

    Genuinely surprised by that. Dig it. Haven’t listened to anything remotely grindy in yonks and my preconceptions around poor Phil wouldn’t have led me to believe there would be anything of the sort to be heard on this. Pretty cool though. My interest is peaked.

  9. Clarence Bodeker Says:

    This guy is a racist and anyone supporting him through buying his music, going to his concerts, buying his merchandise or publicising him in any fashion is giving credibility to his right wing views.

  10. How very insightful. Thank you so much.

  11. Kieronunsilence Says:

    Yes, let’s not forget his ‘white power’ outburst from about a year ago, regardless of his music (which it happens that I dislike anyway).

  12. More into robust, lingering, dark berry-heavy reds myself.

  13. Chip Douglas Says:

    Since when did metal fans become such snowflakes.If we were to disagree with the opinions of our favourite artists or with what they do in their private lives you’d have a pretty small record collection.

    Nothing worse than faux outrage, go make 11 minute videos ye shower of babies.

  14. Tezcatlipoca Says:

    ‘Since when did metal fans become such snowflakes.’

    Metal fans go fucking ballistic when it comes to bands being placed in incorrect subgenres, but yeah, THIS is definitely where the line needs to be drawn.

  15. “Since when did metal fans become such snowflakes. If we were to disagree with the opinions of our favourite artists or with what they do in their private lives you’d have a pretty small record collection.

    Nothing worse than faux outrage, go make 11 minute videos ye shower of babies.”

    Yawn! Define snowflake. Yeah because it’s so wimpy to call out racism, and it takes real guts to wrap yourself in the oft-bro-dude fantasy world of heavy metal, and not actually deal with the real world of consequence? Does it still count as faux outrage if you’re genuinely outraged at some genuinely racist rhetoric (historically speaking).

    To return to the topic, that track isn’t as shit as some of his recent work, but all the same the guy’s at best a moron, and at worst a cretin – so someone else can indulge his ego and/or throw money at him.

  16. Chip Douglas Says:

    You’re outraged because a drunk hack roared “white power”?

    I think there’s more pressing issues in fairness, so if you gave Phil’s shit more than a minutes consideration you’re a snowflake.

  17. Clarence Bodeker Says:

    One of the most ‘pressing issues’ in the world right now is the rise of religious and political extremism, particularly the far right. It’s important to challenge the views of anyone who thinks that just because they’re born into a particular ethnic group it gives them superiority over anyone else. Anyone with a public platform and an influence over people should be held accountable for their words and actions, drunk or not.

  18. Grow up Bodeker…none of us give a shit about all that crap. I think we’re all ‘adult’ enough to separate an artist’s personal views from the music they put out. As someone said, we’d have a fairly small music collection if we didn’t.

  19. choosing mental illness as a virtue (signaler)

  20. ninenangle Says:

    The hilarity of people trying to enter into any kind of moral debate with Anselmo fans. Sure you might as well be explaining how electricity works to a donkey.

  21. Ivan Drago Says:

    “One of the most ‘pressing issues’ in the world right now is the rise of religious and political extremism, particularly the far right”

    Particularly the far right AND far left, who are just as bad

  22. He released a video saying he was acting the dick and goofing around a few days later. Why do people have to be so fuking vicious and want to grind a guy into the ground for making a stupid albeit ill advised joke? Why do they have to take things so literally all the time and witch hunt people who made a genuine error in judgement? I just don’t get the viciousness of it all really. It seems highly counter productive.

  23. Chip Douglas Says:

    Because we’ve entered the age where people are looking to be offended by anything.

  24. It’s an age old argument that has no answer. Some people will find left/right ideas in music too offensive to their tastes to overcome it enough to be able to enjoy, some people will only listen to bands who have the same outlook as them, some people (this is my position) choose music over politics and will listen to anything that intrigues me regardless of its subject matter. Everyone will draw their own line in the sand. For me good music is good music.

  25. No I get why someone mightn’t like Varg for example. He certainly has a track record. But the Phil thing was explained by him as him acting the twat. We’ve all acted the twat. It’s a mistake, get over it. But some people seem to just want to dredge over his dead bones and ignore everything he says to the contrary and keep on grinding him with this stuff. It’s something called empathy which seems to be sorely lacking in far too many of these little online scumbag trolls who can’t let it lie.

  26. Never mind the empathy, its all apathy on here, it’s not the first time ol Phil has let the mask slip, maybe next time he’s caught acting the twat all the apologisers will wind their necks in.

  27. Chip Douglas Says:

    Gway ye bleeding flake!

  28. AC nailed it there. The down side to this age of technology we all enjoy is every fucking iota of every fucking word spoken or line written is immediately under the spotlight for dissection and deliberation to the nth degree. Bollocks to that. For me it’s all about the music, always has been and always will be. Anselmo and the like will always do what they do, he’ll be giving the nazi salute one week and collaborating with his brothers of many colours the next. He’ll fuck up again before we’ve heard the last from him, you can either come to terms with that and choose the music or not. There’s no real right or wrong in that context, your choice is your choice.

  29. pentagrimes Says:

    He’s a bit like Robb Flynn in that regard then, yeah?

  30. To be honest pentagrimes, Flynn is not someone I’ve paid a whole lot of attention to beyond reading a few now long forgotten paragraphs in some metal mag 20 years ago. But with the bits and pieces I have been exposed to over the years, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that he and indeed many others in the metal community would share particular traits. Not all are dumb enough to let their guard down with several smart phones recording them, granted. I’d say only he himself knows what his beliefs are, only the probability is, he doesn’t. He’s someone whose opinions/actions I personally couldn’t take seriously one way or the other and thus they wouldn’t be a factor when deciding whether to buy his music or not. Same would go for pretty much all of the metal bands I listen to. In fact it’s fair to say that, music and to a lesser extent artwork aside, I don’t care too much for what metal has to offer in general.

  31. ah for fuck sake at all of this

  32. Anselmo has allegedly always had certain leanings. It’s less blatant via his music and lyrics – and skin-crawlingly over the top when he has a couple bottles of a crisp white backstage.
    A large dollop of metal buffoonery added to the concoction and it’s not long before he’s caught on someone’s iPhone dropping a clanger.
    The only real question is whether or not you’ve enough of an issue with it to boycott his output.

  33. Well Dug Pinnick from King´s X was backstage with Phil that night. They kissed on the lips (Dug is a gay black man from Texas) and if Dug Pinnick doesn´t condone the action but says Phil was dicking around and hasn´t a racist bone in his body then that´s good enough for me. People looking to be offended constantly, taking things completely literally. It´s as if we´re losing our ability to not take everything at face value because we take things so literally these days. Now I understand that people with autism have difficulty with this, they take things literally all the time, so things like colloquialisms `He´s a chip off the old block´ type phrases can be extremely confusing to them. Now I´m not sure how prevalent this is but nowadays we seem to be experiencing some type of cultural autism whereby comedians cannot make jokes and people cannot fuck around and say stupid shit. People in the spotlight have to be on constant guard and meditate on every word they say or every action they produce, put it through this `am I going to offend´filter before acting. All spontaneous action is open to judgement. Yes the video doesn´t look great but there´s a thing called `drunken messing around´ that people who don´t have a stick up their asses engage in. Taking the piss, being offensive, saying stupid shit, doing stupid shit and all with your tongue firmly in cheek. If we can´t even do that anymore then what´s the point in even going outside the house? People will say he has a resposibilty yadayada blah blah. He´s a lead singer in a metal band who sings about smoking bongs and loves drinking bottles of wine and kisses his gay black friends backstage, get off his case ffs.

  34. greaterfool Says:

    Ha Ha no point explaining electricity to the donkeys on here!! Hee hawlways was a cnut.

  35. 20 Years ago of course It’s all the Sewn Mouth Secrets – Still love Soilent Green, GoatWhore and Crowbar, but fuck off.

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