One of the busiest men in metal, Phil Anselmo returns with this second album under the Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals moniker. Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue is out now via Season of Mist.
This album comes only a few months after one of Phil’s other projects, Superjoint Ritual released an album so its easy to expect some crossover between the two. (Read our review of that here).
However, Anselmo & the Illegals do a good job of making this record sound like it’s own thing while also capturing the chaotic nature of the first release. Unfortunately it also means this is just as unfocused.
Heavy riffs, shifting tempos, hyper-aggressive drums all sound great in theory but the end result are songs that are so forgettable. Literally in one ear & out the other. The mad blend of punk, hardcore, thrash and black metal screams of a band with very little end plan in sight. Far too much of Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue sounds like a jam session & you can’t help but wonder if the Down frontman needs to be told ‘no’ on occasion.
It’s not a complete lost cause though as the likes of Choosing Mental Illness & Delinquent has a much more coherent rhythmic approach to the brutalising but bland chaos. Unfortunately this also highlights another pressing issue.
Anselmo just isn’t delivering on the vocals. Sure, he can scream with the best of blackened metal but a lot of the time he sounds out of breath & hoarse making you wish that he’d shut up so you can hear the rhythm more clearly.
This is an album that you listen to once then completely forget about. There’s very little to get excited about & at times can even be called bad (Individual, Photographic Taunts & Finger Me).
Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals – Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue Full Track Listing:
1. Little Fucking Heroes
3. Choosing Mental Illness
4. The Ignorant Point
7. Photographic Taunts
8. Finger Me
9. Invalid Colubrine Frauds
10. Mixed Lunatic Results
Check it out yourself via Apple Music below.
Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals - Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue (Season of Mist)