What do you get when you mix parts of grind, thrash, black metal, and noisecore in a blender then add lots of experimentation and heaping amounts of intensity? Why the latest from Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, of course!
But I digress.
One of the busiest people in metal, Anselmo keeps the momentum going as his second release from The Illegals kicks off another productive year for the eclectic frontman. And what a rollicking good time this beast is! The moment “Little Fucking Heroes” blasts out of your speakers, you’ll be instantly hooked.
For me, the debut from The Illegals was a little unfocused at times but THIS! Oh, this! Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue is the one! Focused, heavy, and cataclysmic more often then not, the latest offering from Anselmo and cohorts is a vicious affair that explores a veritable cornucopia of metal genres.
“Utopian” is just beautifully crafted metal magic beginning with this swirling guitar groove then devolving into a metal maelstrom with Anselmo adopting a Black Metal guttural growl while the title track goes through so many different hoops within its’ three and a half minute span hitting grind, straight up metal, and noise at separate points yet still continuing as a coherent heavy behemoth.
“Individual” is like seven songs in one, going through so many transformations with dual guitar shredding from Mike DeLeon and Stephen Taylor that even screams ’80’s at times with the twin soloing. “Delinquent” just brings it from the get-go, and is probably the most straight up metal track here making it almost seems out of place.
The drumming of Jose Manuel Gonzalez is thrust to the forefront on “Photographic Taunts” while “Finger Me” is an indescribable shredder that just speeds headfirst into your ears like an out-of-control freight train.
“Invalid Colubrine Frauds” is another more streamlined metal track that still manages to keep listeners on the edge of their seat with a wealth of sonic twists and turns. Then “Mixed Lunatic Results” comes along to close out Choosing… and is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from someone who moonlights as Chop-Top’s go-to song guy, with Walter Howard’s bass laying down the groundwork for a spooky, yet sublime, ending that meanders out into the nether regions.