Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals are back, and better than ever. Following up the group’s initial offering in 2013, Walk Through Exits Only, they prepare to release their second album on January 26th entitled Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue via Housecore Records.
With a heavy new line up of musicians including Stephen Taylor (Superjoint) on guitar, “Metal” Mike DeLeon (Flesh Horder, ex-M.O.D.) also on guitar, Walter Howard (Grieved, Oppressive Force) on bass and of course Joey “Blue” Gonzalez (Superjoint, Warbeast) holding down the drums, it became very clear while listening to this album, Philip finally got his extreme band and the sound he was looking for.
Now I’ll be the first to admit, Walk Through Exits Only took me awhile to get – it was brutal and ugly and it took a bit for me to understand what the Hell was going on – but not Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue. It was made clear from the start of the record this was going to be as brutal as the first record, but with a ton more groove and sweet buildups.
Let me start out talking about Philip’s voice: on point, powerful, passionate, and just plain and simply nasty sounding. The last few times I saw him live with Superjoint I was really stoked on how good he sounded and looked. It’s a wonderful thing to hear “The Kid” let loose again and let it rip.
I know it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me but Stephen and Metal Mike playing guitars together was an unbelievable pleasant surprise. These two talented musicians meshed their styles together and almost seemed to become one. You can literally feel the energy of these two rippers playing perfectly in sync as well as playing off each other, which lends to a truly rich guitar sound on this record, and it’s amazing.
While Walter fills your ears with plenty of thick heavy bass lines and grooves, Joey “Blue” Gonzalez is beating your ass with some fantastic, frantic, change of pace extreme drumming. Being familiar with Blue’s work in Warbeast as well as Superjoint it was refreshing to hear this young man push himself and create some really diverse and badass sounding beats on this new record. Well done, Dude.
With Philip H. Anselmo leading this group of musicians, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue is a fine example of what can be accomplished by a group of artists who are all on the same page. This album is heavy, vicious and angry, just the way it was intended to sound. One can only imagine what this record is going to sound like live, a perfect storm of extreme Metal chaos is my guess, and I can’t wait to see it.