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Friday, 19 July 2013

Reviews: Phillip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Hinder, American Head Charge

Phillip H. Anselmo & The Illegals: Walk Through Exits Only (Housecore Records)

So here it is the full length debut of former Pantera and current Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, this solo album was proceeded by a split E.P with thrash band Warbeast who are signed to Anselmo's record label (the one through which he's released this album). Now I did enjoy the E.P. but it's only through listening to this album that I now know why, it's nice and short. Yes sorry folks but over the 8 tracks of this album Anselmo's fiercely underground aggression and noise heavy aural battering does start to grate on you and after about the third track Betrayed everything just gets a little bit samey. Though 'The Illegals' do try and mix it up with their instrumentation there are only so many times you can listen to super speed hardcore riffs backed by furious death metal drumming before it gets boring. The lyrical content to is also a bit too much in places with Anselmo ranting at music media, the government and all the usual targets but in places he just seems a little like a child having a tantrum to be taken seriously. Yes Anselmo has one of those unique metal voices however I find that he is better suited in Down who are in their prime at the moment. It is admirable that someone like Anselmo wants to hark back to the underground with a release that encompasses hardcore, punk, death and sludge metal (seen at its fullest on the final 12 minute track Irrelevant Walls And Computer Screens) but this album doesn't appeal to me personally and I find to be a bit like him making noise for noise sake rather than creating an album of well-constructed songs. 5/10

Hinder: Welcome To The Freakshow (Republic)

Hinder! A band that I am still following mainly because they keep releasing solid quality albums of Amercian Radio Rock, and while Buckcherry, Black Stone Cherry and others are further up in the food chain Hinder have continued to release radio friendly rock since 2005. Welcome To The Freakshow is another such album and kicks off with the hard rock punch of Save Me which has the bands signature hard rock riffs mixed with some powerful percussion, mixed with a half rapped vocals and a sneaky part of Kashmir thrown in. The twin guitars of Joe Garvey and Mark King are the core riff sound of the band but the highlight are the unique vocals of frontman Austin Winkler who leads the band in there album that encompasses loss, love, sex, lust and lots of drinking! There is however a problem with this album and it's one I've noticed with a lot of American bands more recent albums. This is that there seems to be a lot of  ballads I counted 5 on this album of 11 tracks they range from electric power ballads to acoustic love songs with Talk To Me and Get Me Away From You two examples of the latter coming one after another, it all does get a bit over powering in places, however when they rock they rock hard with the title track and See You In Hell being two examples although it does seem in short supply on this album, still its well performed and well written but it just needs a bit more rock. 5/10  

American Head Charge: Shoot (Self-Released)

After splitting in 2007, Industrial metal band reformed surreptitiously in 2011 and embarked on a 10 date tour of the USA and in the middle found time to record this 5 track E.P. And from the slow burning opening track we see that the band haven't missed a beat the riffs are low down and dirty, the bass is very heavy and the keys swell during the latter half of the track. This throws you immediately into the bass led heaviness of Set Yourself On Fire which has a vibe of Korn meets Marylin Manson with its shouted vocals, down tuned bass and eerie keys, the band also manage to throw in some Deftones with a the swirling middle and psychedelic vocal bridge. The hard rock stomp of Sugars Of Someday comes next and has the definite Korn vibe to it, before things get heavy, heavy, low, low on Sand which has a bass sound to rupture your bowels before the E.P ends with driving cover of Patti Smith's Rock N Roll N*gger which sticks to the all-out bluster of the original but is in keeping with the bands industrial style. The band are a very much stuck in the early 2000's but that doesn't matter as  their nearest sound-alikes Korn have moved into different avenues the fans that 'prefer the old stuff' will definitely get their thrills from AHC as they purvey the same style of music that made Follow The Leader a huge success. So if that sounds like your idea of heaven then give Shoot a shot, however if it fills you with dread then you may want to reload and avoid the gunfight (I'm sorry about the puns) 7/10

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