Sound — 7
Philip H. Anselmo, undeniably one of the biggest names in metal, has returned with a new offering in the form of solo album "Walk Through Exits Only." Since parting from legendary groove metal band Pantera, Anselmo has been keeping himself busy. This can be proven by his track record with his bands Down, Superjoint Ritual, Arson Anthem, Southern Isolation, Christ Inversion, Viking Crown and his record label Housecore Records. Now, with the help of The Illegals (Marzi Montazeri on guitars, Bennett Bartley on bass and Jose Gonzales on drums), Philip has created a monster. With Phil Anselmo being the inventive, musically diverse man that he is, expectations for his solo debut have been somewhat mixed. The album as a whole is summed up on the aggressive opening track, "Music Media Is My Whore." As always, Anselmo displays outright disregard. Not a single f--k is given. Not one. The man is going to make whatever music he wants, on his own terms, and he will take no prisoners.
Lyrics — 6
The record's first proper track, "Battalion of Zero," lets loose a relentless assault on your eardrums. Anselmo roars, unleashing an uninterrupted explosion of thrash, with Warbeast drummer Jose Gonzales pummeling the living shit out of his drums. Erratic time signature changes are thrown in all over the place, making the listening experience a somewhat chaotic one giving rise to much difficulty in knowing when to headbang. Phil shows no signs of letting up, with a distinct lack of any brooding ballad sections reminiscent of "Cemetery Gates." It's just non-stop ruthless brutality. Anselmo's gravelly, iconic growl is present throughout, with screams thrown in every now and again, which hark back to "The Great Southern Trendkill."
Overall Impression — 8
As with all records, "Walk Through Exits Only" does of course, have its flaws. The complex nature of the album will almost certainly alienate those who exclusively listen to Pantera or Down, as it is not an easy album to wrap your ears around. The apparently unorganised nature of the songs risks intimidating the casual listener. Despite this, the droning, eight minute long outro on the track "Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens" is the only real drawback with the album. The closing track itself is only five minutes long, however for some unknown reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to add seven minutes of scraping guitar to the end of it. "Walk Through Exits Only" is far from an easy listen the first time round, but as time passes, you learn to love the vulgar monstrosity. Philip H. Anselmo has created a vicious, immense piece of metal, and he won't give a f--k if you don't like it.