Philip H. Anselmo / Warbeast, ‘War of the Gargantuas’ – Split EP Review
In one of the more interesting splits we've encountered as of late, Philip H. Anselmo, who requires not a single word of introduction, courtesy of his legacy, and Texas thrashers Warbeast have released their 'War of the Gargantuas' split through Anselmo's own Housecore Records. The four-song EP boasts two songs per artist, and is historical simply because it is the first time Anselmo has released any solo music (with the Illegals as his backing band) during his 30 years of active service in the name of heavy metal.
We've never had all of our senses assaulted at once, but how we assume that sensation would feel is created by this short, blast of an EP. It's tightly constructed. It's loud. It's extreme. It's all the things we like in our metal.
It's like each artist is trying to "out metal" the other and that's a good thing for metal fans. Inside, you'll find lots of squeally vocals, galloping solos and heavy metal that never, ever compromises.
The first track,'Conflict,' which is one from Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, is shrieky, post-Pantera Anselmo, but he still has the same dangerous bark and damaging bite. How a man who has been destroying mics for decades can still summon this much strength and deliver this kind of bone-liquefying vocal terror is beyond us. He is no mere mortal, nor mere metal. He is an elite frontman with few (if any) peers, especially when he lets 'er rip, as is the case here.
The next track, 'Birth of a Psycho' by Warbeast, is a hulking slab of dirty, gutter-dwelling, sludge-caked punk rock with a little bit of blackened grime and some deathy riffs thrown in for good measure. It culls influence from several metal sub-genres. The band takes guitars grooves and vicious vocals and throws 'em all into a gnarly, metallic bonfire.
The brilliantly titled 'Family, 'Friends' and Associates' is an Anselmo track which gets the point across in a few words, and is loaded with screamy vocals, with Anselmo's authoratative spoken words behind it. The vocal spasms are supplemented by chunky, extra fast riffery, squalls and some Motorhead-y solos. When Anselmo barks, "I'm calling you out," you have a choice to either meet him in the ring or cower in the corner. We think most people will be doing the latter, based on the ferocity in which he makes the statement. Hands down, it's the best track of the four.
The EP ends with 'It,' a Warbeast track that is also fast with machine-gunned riffing, and some smash-til-your-arms-fall-off drumming. It's an exercise in extreme metal, and the right amount of groove. No wonder Anselmo chose to appear on an EP with them and sign them to his label. No false metal here. It's about as trend-free and trend-killing as it gets.
Anselmo's music often has a touch of melody, which he forgoes here. But everything is equally as memorable. Warbeast are just that - a fighting, battling beast.
We wish 'War of the Gargantuas' was a bit longer, but it offers a nice taste of what to expect on Warbeast's upcoming full-length, 'Destroy,' and Anselmo's debut solo album, both due this year. In the meantime, pick up the EP at iTunes and catch Anselmo's band Down on tour with Warbeast this winter.