Released: 2013, Housecore Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The first taste of Pantera/Down/Superjoint Ritual frontman Philip Anselmo's solo work comes as a two-song sampler on this four-song split EP with Texas thrashers Warbeast, whose debut Krush The Enemy Anselmo produced and released on Housecore, his own label. And if the tracks here, “Conflict” and “Friends, Family and Associates,” typify what Anselmo and his band The Illegals have in store, the upcoming Walk Through Exits Only album is gonna put a big ole boot up peoples' asses.
Both are dense, brisk and brutal, taking the freewheeling intensity of Superjoint Ritual, molding it into something more speed metally and then bringing the hammer down. Powered by José Gonzales' double-bass battery and Marzi Montazeri muscular, bracing riffs, the tracks shudder and race while Anselmo hollers and grinds his teeth over the top like a man possessed. There's no bluesy introspection here, it's all about rage, power and provocation, with both tracks delivering it all in spades.
Warbeast offer more traditional, old-school thrash metal with their contributions, “Birth of a Psycho” and “IT,” echoing Exodus, Heathen and, especially, Sacred Reich, with Bruce Corbitt's vocals and delivery bearing an startling resemblance to Reich's Phil Rind. They, too, emphasize aggression here, and hold their own against Anselmo's mob over this relatively short bout. Scott Shelby and Bobby Tillotson Jr.'s screeching, squealing lead interplay is really quite spectacular, especially on the dive-bombing “IT.” Both tracks will be included on Warbeast's upcoming, and apparently fittingly titled, second album Destroy.
Guess we'll soon find out if the main event can match the preliminaries, but Anselmo and company make a mighty big first impression here. And Warbeast prove their yeoman's work in round one was no fluke.