Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals Bring on the Brutal

Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers received the early press release of the new album Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue from Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals.  Keep reading to find out what the album is like.

Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals drop their second full length album titled Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue January 26th on Housecore Records.

Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue gives us a change in sound from 2013’s Walk Through Exits Only. The band gives us a much more raw sound this time, and it works really well with the brutality of the music within. While Walk through Exits Only certainly gave us plenty of heavy, Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue takes heavy to a different level. The new album moves much further in a death metal and black metal direction then its predecessor. It is full of blast beat drumming, raw brutal sounding guitar riffs, and a voice that many Pantera fans may find unrecognizable at times as Phil utilizes more death metal and black metal style vocals than you would have heard on an album such as Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power a quarter of a century ago.

Phil Anselmo is a big fan of extreme metal music like death metal and black metal as we can see from some of his other projects such as Christ Inversion, Viking Crown, and more recently Scour. He and his band The Illegals really bring those styles of music together on this album. Phil had the following to say about this new album, ““This is something that was very different from the first record. I wanted it to be ugly. I was very firm that I was writing every f***ing note. The thought was, ‘This is my contribution to ugly music right this second in a heavy metal vein”

Let me highlight a few favorites from the album for you:

The opening track “Little F***ing Heroes” really sets the mood for this album. It’s fast, angry, and unrelenting, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg for what is to come.

“Utopian” starts out with a slow riff but then takes us into a super fast song with some really extreme vocals from Phil Anselmo. This is definitely one of the highlights of the album for me.

“The Ignorant Point” has some of my favorite guitar playing on the album and is one of the radio singles. Phil says the following regarding the guitar playing on this song, “That is a crazy f***ing riff,” In a way, I wanted an immediate left hook of chaos, so to speak. That’s a personal favorite.” This is very brutal song from beginning to end. A must hear song.

“Individual” may be my favorite on the album. This song even contains a guitar solo which are not a big part of this album. The song is a big “F” you to the world and says how Phil is a lone wolf not wanting to be a part of the pack. He’s a man on his own living by his own standards.

“Photographic Taunts” is another one that just jumps out at me with being extremely fast and chaotic. I can imagine this one being really fun to see performed live. The entire band goes crazy on their instruments in this song fronted by Phil’s unrelenting screams. I love Phil’s growling vocals that round out the last 25 seconds of this song. Death Metal beauty right there.

The closing song “Mixed Lunatic Results” is another one where the guitar riffs really stand out to me. It has some very cool rhythmic sounds as well. It’s a great song to finish out the album as the last minute and 50 seconds slows way down to some basic rhythm patters on the drums and just a few notes strummed on the guitar per measure so you can finally start to calm down after listening to this album.

Choosing Mental Illness as A Virtue is downright brutal from beginning to end. I know I’ve used the word brutal several times in this review, but I really don’t know how else to describe this album. It’s just pounding, thrashing, crushing, brutality through and through. I can say you will see this album again on as one of my favorites of 2018. This is one of the first releases of the year I’ve heard all the way through several times, and I’m not sure what band can top this in 2018.



Chief Of Operations, 31, lives in North VA, married, father, history, baseball and metal. Kiss, Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, King Diamond, Mayhem, Mortification, Poison, P.O.D., Immortal, King’s X, Ratt, Demoniciduth, Imperial Dusk, Led Zeppelin, Black Metal, Glam Metal

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