Philip H. Anselmo & Warbeast - War of the Gargantuas (Split) (2013)


Have you ever looked at Bigfoot, and thought that he looked kind of familiar? One look at his likeness on the cover of "War of the Gargantuas," and his face may seem oddly so. Whether or not he is, in fact, the fabled Sasquatch aside, Philip Anselmo of Down, Pantera, Superjoint Ritual fame is posied to release his first solo album ever. And while these tracks won't be found on that disc or anything other, it was a prime opportunity to show off before the time comes. Paired with him this time around are Texas based thrashers Warbeast who, for their own part, have built quite the following since the release of their debut album in 2010. With two tracks from each gracing this disc, the drool might start to roll down your chin, in anticipation of what both parties have coming down the pike.

Anselmo brings his signature voice immediately on "Conflict," with help from his backing band, The Illegals. But more than that, it sees him tread new ground musically. The southern grooves that he had become known for get moved to the back burner. Instead, you have an all out thrashing affair in the short term, a unbridled aggression that he has yet to front. With top notch guitar work all throughout the track, it is a treat to hear contrasting styles come together this way. Each verse sees high speed, looping riffs; the chorus and bridge sections take the tempo down, and lean heavily on massive distorted riffs. And while his second track, "Family, 'Friends', and Associates" is not as overly beastly, it sees Anselmo more in the comfort zone we have grown to know of him. The work of his band, with Jose Manuel Gonzales at the drum, deserves boat loads of praise, delivering on every level. The only drawback here is the length of the track, clocking in at only three and a half minutes. With a mix this packed, it would seem like a five minute run might suit it better.

For their part, Warbeast bring a massive amount of distortion to the party on their two tracks. "Birth Of A Psycho," a tell tale track title, is a thrash masterpiece. The sheer speed and precision of the guitar work is enough to convert a lot of fans. With the vocal delivery coming through raw and unrefined, it is easy to find yourself focused more on the instrumental. But don't lose track of the big picture, because everything has a place here. Guitarist Scott Shelby is a bonafide virtuoso in his own right, with his riffs coming at break neck speed. And while "IT" is more of the same, it is not to be ignored. The breakdown section here steals the spotlight, giving you some of the most intensely heavy, but technically sound, guitar work that will ever grace a thrash track.

With both bands looking forward to the release of their respective albums, a split of this nature is an appetizer before the main meal. For Anselmo, he considers these two songs to be "Tame" as compared to what the first solo album of his 30 year career will bring. And while “Walk Through Exits Only” has been pushed back to an early summer release, this should be enough to wet your whistle until then. For Warbeast, you know exactly what to expect from their sophomore effort, titled "Destroy," when it sees the light of day in March: unrestrained, deranged riffs with a side of blissful devastation. If their efforts here are any indication, they might be the cause of the next great natural disaster.

8/10

Philip H. Anselmo
Official Site - http://www.philanselmo.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/philipanselmo

Warbeast
Official Site - http://www.warbeast.org/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/warbeast1