On July 30, the day before Philip Anselmo — legendary frontman of PANTERA and DOWN — officially kicked off his first-ever solo tour, dubbed "Technicians Of Distortion", he played a surprise warm-up gig at the Columbia Street Rock & Blues in Covignton, Louisiana. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.
Asked if he ever feels too overwhelmed emotionally to sing the PANTERA classics, Anselmo told Natalie's World in a recent interview: "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No. No. Not at all. [We spoke] about the 'Metal Masters' [clinics] earlier, and we definitely do some old PANTERA songs and really… All that does for me is, it makes me remember the old days, and that's something that's very enjoyable. PANTERA is not the first band to have a tragic circumstance, we're not the first band to break up, and we're not the first band to go through problems or anything like that. So, to me, a lot of my memory is great memories of PANTERA. I really enjoy playing live and doing the shows, because our audiences were so fucking incredible, and the power coming off the stage was so fucking wonderful. It's tough to beat. To me, it just brings back great memories."
Anselmo's career-first solo album, "Walk Through Exits Only", sold around 8,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart.
Produced by Anselmo and Michael Thompson, and recorded over the past couple of years at Philip's New Orleans studio, Nodferatu's Lair, with his band THE ILLEGALS — guitarist Marzi Montazeri (ex-SUPERJOINT RITUAL) and drummer José Manuel Gonzales (WARBEAST) — "Walk Through Exits Only" is abrasive, aggressive, anthemic and 100% Anselmo. The album's eight songs are as unstrained as it gets, from "Battalion Of Zero" to "Usurper's Bastard Rant", to the album's title track that goes against the grain and right through the exits. Brash, brutal guitars cut through punishing percussion as Anselmo screams with uncompromising ferocity and uncontainable fire.
"Walk Through Exits Only" track listing:
01. Music Media Is My Whore
02. Battalion Of Zero
04. Usurper Bastard's Rant
05. Walk Through Exits Only
06. Bedroom Destroyer
08. Irrelevant Walls And Computer Screens
Even though "Walk Through Exits Only" has just been released, Anselmo tells Billboard.com that he is planning on making more new music available before the end of the year.
"I know for a fact I do have two songs that I'll release strictly for the upcoming Housecore Horror (film) festival at the end of October in Austin, Texas," Anselmo says. "Those two songs, I think, musically flow together pretty fuckin' well. They're very sarcastic, very tongue-in-cheek. It's all part of the ol' Philip Anselmo fucked-up world — and I don't mean drunk or wasted. I mean just fuckin' crazy. It's crazy around here!"
According to Anselmo, he worked on an estimated 15-17 songs for "Walk Through Exits Only", which was issued via his own Housecore Records (MRI/Megaforce)
"I could've put on any number (of songs) I wanted, but for me, these eight songs all together, 40-something minutes, that's my idea of a proper listening length," he tells Billboard.com. "When you start to get longer it gets a little redundant and boring, and I didn't want to bore anybody."
The world's proper introduction to PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS came on the "War Of The Gargantuas" split with WARBEAST at the top of 2013. The two songs included on the split — "Conflict" and "Family, Friends, and Associates" — were only a separate and small taste of what was come to come on the full-length though.
"It wasn't about doing a paint-by-numbers thrash or heavy metal record," Anselmo explained about the project. "It's an angry album that only I could do. I don't see anybody else out there screaming about the same shit I'm screaming about. On this album, there isn't any wordplay, there isn't any hidden message, it's all right there in front of you."