Walk Through Exits Only Review

artist: Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals date: 07/15/2013 category: compact discs
Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals: Walk Through Exits Only
Released: Jul 16, 2013
Genre: Groove Metal, Thrash Metal
Label: Housecore Records
Number Of Tracks: 8
Phil Anselmo continues to release material at a daunting rate, with numerous projects and bands. This is his second release with his solo project but this isn't really derivative of Pantera or Down, so check it out before you buy.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 7.7
 Overall Impression: 8
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reviews (3) 20 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
Walk Through Exits Only Featured review by: UG Team, on july 15, 2013
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: Phil Anselmo has pretty much been going nonstop since the 1988 debut Pantera release, "Power Metal." He's released dozens of albums, demos and compilations since then, working with everyone from Alice In Chains to Tony Iommi. The band, Philip Anselmo and the Illegals, is theoretically his "solo" project, but I always thought previously that Viking Crown was his solo band. Regardless, this is the first full length release under this tag, having previously only released a split EP with Warbeat. There are 8 tracks on the album, with a total runtime of around 40 minutes. Twelve minutes of that time are all in the last track and several of the last minutes are more like random static, wind in a microphone, and guitar noise than actual music.

The album opens with "Music Media Is My Whore" which has an almost marching cadence going on, but with the lead guitar playing a random assortment of severely whammied riffs. The next track, "Battalion of Zero," is primarily a very repetitive guitar riff played almost throughout. Honestly, at this point in the album I started really being turned off and had to get some air and come back to it. The music has a very "spaz"-out type of feeling to it and feels like the songs were written and recorded very quickly, then a little bit of vocal processing and effects added after the fact. I've read that Phil spent a few years working on this album, which makes it even more disappointing to me. The next track, "Betrayed," was my favorite on the album it actually had some groove to it. "Usurper's Bastard Rant" was up next, and started to make me think the album was going to redeem itself. This was a very solid track, with a really cool dark vibe to it. The title track, "Walk Through Exits Only," was the next up and it was okay but the message behind the song was kind of lost on me I think it might be an attack on illegal downloading of music but the lyrics are kind of hard to decipher. "Bedroom Destroyer" was the most promising song as far as groove goes, but in the end it just made me miss Pantera. // 6

Lyrics: Maybe it is just me, but Philip Anselmo seems to, at times, be slowly sounding more and more like Lemmy. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. Phil has really created a piece of work that is giving me strong love/hate contradictory feelings, but his vocal ability can't be questioned. He is really a very solid metal vocalist. His lyrics, however, are more confusing to me.

The lyrics from "Walk Through Exits Only" are at times much more vulnerable than I expected from Phil Anselmo. I found myself being surprised by how human he allows himself to be especially in a metal song. On the other hand, some of his lyrics are straight up mystifying. As an example of some of the more vulnerable lyrics, here are some of the lyrics from "Bedroom Destroyer": "Cold beer scalds my back molars/ cold beer fattens me up for depression and/ I use depression/ I will use this depression just like a weapon/ and it's aimed at me/ and anyone who dares to come too close/ I've washed some feet/ I thought I'd made it up/ I've kissed some feet but still they stomp on me/ tantrum! / bedroom destroyed/ bedroom destroyer." As a sample of some of the less coherent lyrics, here is a sample from the title track: "It's ruined/ everybody ruins music/ not just me/ you saw it/ you liked it/ embraced it/ then faked it/ not just me/ I'm jaded and over it/ sick of the whole of it/ everything piles up/ until I burn it in the trash/ rip it up and burn it into ashes/ exit!" I actually enjoyed reading the lyrics at least as much as I enjoyed the album. // 8

Overall Impression: Honestly, I was expecting to like this album, but at the end of the day it sounded too much like a sloppy garage band jamming after having too much to drink or smoke. I realize that my opinion isn't going to be very popular, especially as Phil Anselmo tends to have some very hardcore fans. You've got to give Philip Anselmo the respect due, for being part of some very epic metal bands and being involved to different degrees with so many other projects. But this album didn't do it for me. I've listened to the album probably half a dozen times or so at this point and it seems to very slowly be growing on me, but it definitely isn't anywhere in the realm of Phil Anselmo's best work. My favorite parts of the album were the almost stream of consciousness nature of the lyrics, and the guitar solo from "Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens." My favorite song, overall, was probably "Betrayed" or "Usurper's Bastard Rant" but I keep waffling on which one I like more.

// 7

- Brandon East (c) 2013

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overall: 7
Walk Through Exits Only Reviewed by: DeadxFreedom, on august 14, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 7

Lyrics: 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." // 6

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Walk Through Exits Only Reviewed by: Jason34590, on january 15, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Many people have been upset with Phil's recent vocal performances, but do not be mislead, he can still pull of a nice scream. Phil recently has been extremely influenced by black metal bands. The songs have constantly changing time signatures and all are extremely fast. There were some problems with the equalizing, the bass can almost not be heard. Another problem is that this entire album is an acquired taste. It took me, and most other people, a few listens to get into, or to even like. At first I thought I was hearing just a bunch of noise, but once you understand it, you begin to love it. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are deep and meaningful. I believe they are about Phil's back issues, which led him to his heroin addiction, and all of the painful emotions and withdrawals he had went through. The song "Bedridden" definitely says this, telling us that he can't do anything he is in so much pain. He was bedridden The back of the case displays an x-ray, I believe, is of Phil Anselmo's back. And although Phil cannot go insane on stage anymore, his vocals are still raw and powerful. // 9

Overall Impression: Some people have said this album is the closest thing to the "Great Southern Trendkill," but to me, it is mostly it's own unique thing. I have personally never heard anything like it, and that is good! Phil is bringing something new to the world, and it's almost nothing like his previous projects. Hopefully more bands will take this example, and add their own personality to it. The sound quality and equalizing could have been a little better, but it is not terrible. There are plenty of more bands that have had way worse quality recordings. // 9

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