Hard to believe that Walk Through Exits Only is the first actual solo album from legendary Pantera/Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, though to be honest he's assembled a band here called The Illegals to help him on his journey. Be warned however, if you are expecting something along the lines of his other act, the New Orleans doom/stoner entity known as Down, then you've come to the wrong place. Take some of that mid-period Pantera, and up the extreme ante and what you get is Walk Through Exits Only, a noisy, brutal, frantic, and furious display of thrash, hardcore, sludge, grind, and death metal (sort of) as only Anselmo can deliver.
Along with Marzi Montazeri (guitars) and Jose Manuel 'Blue' Gonzales (drums), Anselmo has been working on this album for a few years now, and for true fans it will be worth the wait. This is some angy, pissed off stuff here, with Anselmo screaming and bellowing up a storm on crushing numbers like "Betrayed" and "Battalion of Zero" alongside the killer guitar riffs and fills of Montazeri, who no doubt studied his Dimebag licks well. "Usurper Bastard's Rant" contains some truly brutal riffs and cool pinch harmonics from Montazeri in what is possibly the most Pantera-ish song on the album. Fans of Phil's other band Superjoint Ritual will most certainly get off on the raging maelstrom that is the title track or the violent yet groove laden "Bedroom Destroyer", with Gonzales working overtime on the drums under a cacophony of maniacal screams and brutal riffs. "Bedridden" is simply pulverizing (there's no other wait to describe it!) and "Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens" is a mosh pit instigator waiting to happen.
It's a good possibility that the casual Down or Pantera fan will be in for a shock after hearing Walk Through Exits Only (and actually RUN for the exits!), but, if you think you can stomach that unique voice brutalizing over the top of some truly crushing, angry, extreme material, this is a very fine album, and a real grower. Pantera on steroids and this is what you get.
1) Music Media is My Whore
2) Battalion of Zero
4) Usurper Bastard's Rant
5) Walk Through Exits Only
6) Bedroom Destroyer
8) Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens