Released: 2017, Housecore Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Once you get past the notion that this release is really only intended for the amusement of Bill Moseley and Phil Anselmo themselves, SONGS OF DARKNESS AND DESPAIR is much easier to process.
Moseley is a horror icon; the dude's IMDB history reads like a horror fan's wet dream (Chop Top AND Otis?!). Plus, he's already amassed a healthy discography of heavy music as part of his collaboration with Buckethead in their Cornbugs project. So it's not entirely out of the realm of imagination that he'd collaborate with horror film aficionado, heavy metal icon, and record label owner Phil Anselmo on an EP's worth of bizarro beatnick tunes that sound like Charlie Manson riffing on VOL.4.
The first couple of times I listened to SONGS OF DARKNESS AND DESPAIR, I kept thinking back to the movie “Slingblade” with Morris’ lyrical recitation of “I stand on the hill/not for a thrill/but for the breath of a fresh kill…” It's hard to tell if Moseley's wandering prose is methodically intentional a la Lou Reed or just plain batshit crazy. But as left of center as these songs might lean, there's something about them that crawl into your ears and get you rockin'. There's a whole gamut of sonic flavors to be heard, but there's a consistent heavy vibe that threads everything together. I don't want to give too much away as I'd really recommend anybody give this a listen just for its uniqueness factor, but tracks like "Corpus Crispy" sound like ZZ Top tripping acid with Tony Iommi and "Tonight's the Night We Die" could've been a Zakk Wylde BOOK OF SHADOWS outtake.
Bill+Phil is definitely the type of project that will appeal more to devotees of either of their namesake contributors than casual metal fans. But - it's also a 100% free and fluid project that serves no other purpose than to act as a vehicle for the pair's creative indulgences. Call it art for the sake of art - you don't hear too much of that anymore. Enjoy at your own risk.