Feature: Philip Anselmo Changes Heavy Music Again with "Walk Through Exits Only"
Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:52:20
After Walk Through Exits Only, heavy music will never be the same.
Yes, that's a lofty claim, but we're dealing with a record that delivers on every promise of its creator's deservedly illustrious reputation and so much more. Expectations get incinerated as soon as Philip Anselmo & The Illegals snap into the death march of "Music Media Is My Whore".
Under eerie guitar squeals from Marzi Montazeri, Jose Manuel "Blue" Gonzalez lays down a blanket of syncopated artillery as Anselmo's instantly recognizable scream takes over. "This is not music," he growls. It's more than that. It's a fucking revolution of thought and creation from a man synonymous with revolution.
Walk Through Exits Only teeters on Vulgar Display of Power grooves with the vitriol of The Great Southern Trendkill. At the same time, those are only small nods to the man's past accolades. "Battalion of Zero" bobs and weaves through a trudging wall of distortion as more ominous tones punctuate the pummeling guitar assault. It's ultimately catchy in its brutal catharsis. "Betrayed" steamrolls through stop-and-start riffing before turning on a dime into a strangely infectious line, "How can they sleep with themselves at night?" and proclamation "This is the time to stand resolute". It's also Anselmo's time once more.
"Usurper's Bastard Rant" spares no sense with its seesawing guttural guitar attack and the frontman's impenetrable roar puncturing the drum onslaught. "Walk Through Exits Only" is as epic as metal gets with all of its time signature and tonal changes, yielding a head-spinning and seismic earth-shaker. At the same time, for as heavy it is, the sound is pristine—especially on headphones. When you crank this, you can hear every nuance. "Bedroom Destroyer" exerts atomic impact ducking from a death metal force into another groove. Everything comes to a head on the thought-provoking final word "Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens". As the mayhem builds into an unsettling and invigorating send-off, Anselmo's apotheosis enters center frame.
He's righteously revered for Pantera and Down—as he should be. In that fashion, Walk Through Exits Only sets a new paradigm for generations to reach towards. One of the best metal records of the 21st century, it's so goddamn good nothing will be the same. That's a wonderful thing too.
What's your favorite Philip Anselmo song?