Friday, 26 July 2013 12:21

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals: Heavy music’s crazy uncle shows the young’uns how to mature in metal

Written by  Joe Boomgaard
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Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Warbeast, Author & Punisher
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m.
$22 advanced, $25 day of show
All ages, (616) 451-8232

One of heavy metal music’s veteran ambassadors has set out to prove there are still new ideas to explore in what’s becoming a mature genre.

As the former frontman of Pantera and the current vocalist for the New Orleans-based supergroup Down, Philip H. Anselmo could have tapped into one of his many creative wells from the past 25 years in the music business for his debut solo album Walk Through Exits Only, which dropped on July 16.

But for an artist that eschews labels, it’s only fitting that Anselmo struck out on his own with a new solo band — The Illegals — to make “extreme music” without being handcuffed to his past.

“What I was compelled to do is make a record that was extreme without following tradition of any sort, really,” Anselmo said. “If you go back hundreds of years and you listen to classical music or improv jazz, motherf***ers have been tripping out for a long time.”

Between writing the last Down EP and producing three albums for bands on his Housecore Records label, Anselmo sat in his bedroom with a guitar and an amp to develop the new album, which he recorded in 2011 with a longtime friend, guitarist Marzi Montazeri.

With the solo record, Anselmo wanted to blaze new ground because in his mind, there’s nothing worse than bands that mimic other successful bands. 

“For me, things get very f***ing diluted after a while,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Well, OK, here’s another ultimately evil band to listen to.’ I just wanted to make an extreme record that just stands alone, really, in today’s climate.”

Expect a stripped down vibe on the forthcoming Technicians of Distortion Tour, Anselmo says. He plans to play the new album in its entirety as well as dig out a few surprises from his past projects.

Anselmo will be backed by The Illegals, featuring Montazeri, drummer Jose Gonzalez — who also played on the record — and bassist Steve Taylor.

“I’m just the kind of guy who feels like if I’m doing nothing, I’m wasting f***ing time," he said. "You never know when there will be no more time. Let’s f***ing do as much as possible while we’re here."

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