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Monday, February 25, 2013

Split-EP Review: Philip H. Anselmo & Warbeast – War of the Gargantuas

Phil Anselmo, legendary frontman for bands like Pantera, Superjoint Ritual and Down, can be a bit of an enigma. So often he delivers on every front, yet every now and then you sense one or two weak spots emerging in that brutal vocal of his. Lately, he has been hard at work in the studio with his backing band, The Illegals, polishing off material for his forthcoming solo album and the prospect is sending little ripples of joy through the metal community. This split EP with Warbeast is our first glimpse of what sort of frontman we can expect to hear.

Well, I’m happy to report Anselmo has never sounded angrier or more focused than he does on the 2-chord aggro action of “Conflict”. The break-off into a squirming, panicked attack of chugging guitars and effects is almost too much to bear. It’s certainly not the easiest track to sink your teeth into but face-rippers never are first time around.

The degree of just how narked he is here is clear when he brings those closest to him, his “Family, Friends, and Associates”, into question. It’s a big, grinding Superjoint-esque dirtball of a song based around a deep groove and a vicious line in interrogation – “What colour do you bleed? Is it the same as me?” Oh yes, he may now be going by his full title, but the fire still burns strongly. I think I’ll just call him “Sir” from now on.

His decision to team up with Warbeast is an interesting one. Whilst Anselmo is melting ears, these Texans spend much of their time speeding across the surface. Surprisingly though, it is Warbeast who are the ones who demand repetition more often with their anthemic blasts and fiery crush.

Covered in a crawling tone, “Birth Of A Psycho” is a pure speedball of filth-infused thrash, peppered by short bursts of rich vocal and light-fingered shredding. Listen out for the plunge headfirst into a jarring breakdown, then a mosh as the groove hits hard. “It” is nothing short of genius. The highlight of the split, this monster is mean-spirited, punk-fuelled, smeared in dripping, stinking swamp with a vindictive mania of interlocking strings. Oh, and the hook in the chorus, “Pray for me, for I am Gollum, body without a soul”, is one that will follow you about for a long time after you’ve stopped listening.

Philip H. Anselmo’s old lust for violent metal paired with the new blood of Warbeast offering up riffs to die for. What’s not to love?

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2013/02/philip-h-anselmo-warbeast-war-of-the-gargantuas-season-of-mist/
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