PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS - Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue
January 26, 2018, 10 months ago
Phil Anselmo likes to keep himself busy, but he somehow manages to not spread himself thin: on his second album with The Illegals, the band improves on their sound from their 2013 debut, with a more relaxed production and better focus on crafting songs, not just brutality. The title track absolutely kills it, delivering a southern sludge-meets-hardcore sound that harkens back to Pantera more than Anselmo usually does these days. But it’s way more extreme, as is “The Ignorant Point”, these songs sounding like Soilent Green delivered with even more punk rock swagger and attitude.
“Utopian” starts off with an unexpected dose of melody, but then it quickly drops back into a Soilent Green manic episode; “Photographic Taunts” is what happens when the machines take over technical grindcore. “Mixed Lunatic Results” ends off the album on a quieter, more sombre note, and it works really well, given that the rest of the album was anything but quiet and sombre. The release as a whole is a tortured and intense experience, Anselmo delivering one of his best vocal performances in years here, and the band sounding way more on fire and working as a whole than they did on the debut, which was good but was more of a jigsaw. Here, there's no such quandary, as the band just puts their heads down and pummels, and Anselmo just hollers, and somehow some things start making sense for the first time in a while.