Phillip H. Anselmo & The Illegals
Choosing Illness As A Virtue
When Phil and the guys get together, you know that the ending result will be utter fucking mayhem, and that’s what we’re getting here. Though this material shares the bass-heavy crunch of Pantera, it is far from that level and tinges a bit on extreme metal, even grind in some areas. The production is definitely raw, but again – we want it raw. We want this as undercooked as possible, because it gives the performance an organic sound that comes across like a man losing his fucking mind on the mic, while several musicians in the background provide the necessary soundtrack to this level of performed insanity. Interestingly enough, the album doesn’t always follow the same piss and vinegar format as Superjoint Ritual. There are definitely sections where atmosphere and psychedelia is observed, not to mention a hefty level of unhinged technicality. Phil’s vocal approach even heads towards a black metal rasp in areas, which actually comes off quite believable, as does his thick death metal growls, which I was unaware of him even possessing. As the record continues, it goes further into death metal realms, but doesn’t let go of what make’s Phil’s music, Phil’s music – that unchecked aggression. For being one of the coolest and most down to earth dudes I’ve ever met, he sounds like a complete demon here and it works perfectly. Phil always knew when to tune it down for Down, go into classic metal realms for Pantera or to tear up shit with Superjoint, so it doesn’t surprise me when Choosing Mental Illness showcases a completely different animal altogether. This is definitely a dose of southern fried 2018 as far as the metal scene goes and seems to mash together enough technicality and ferocity to make a statement. Again, Phil’s growls are much better than I may have expected and hopefully we’ll hear more of those in the future. While we may never get the Pantera reunion that we’ve always wanted, especially considering the blowback from that incident that happened a few years back; it’s great to see that Phil is making unique and relevant tunes on into the next generation. Yes folks, this album is much heavier than you might expect, and it has far more depth aside from the sludge and grind elements that you’ll hear from the minute you press the play button. Choosing Mental Illness is one of the best albums I’ve heard from Phil since the early days in Pantera, so definitely give it a listen.
(10 Tracks, 46:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)