CD Review: Philip Anselmo & The Illegals/Warbeast – War of the Gargantuas

War of the Gargantuas features everything a metal fan could hope for in a split EP.



Review by David Feltman

Split EPs are simple pleasures that are slowly disappearing in the digital age. Like compilations, splits are meant to promote new or obscure bands. But most labels simply stream a couple of songs from the artist’s site and post up some YouTube videos to get the same effect. Luckily, Phil Anselmo is a creature of an earlier age. His Housecore label boasts plenty of YouTube videos on its site, but it also boasts a bonanza of comps, splits and samplers.

The newest such release, War of the Gargantuas, features everything a metal fan could hope for in a split EP. Featuring two songs each from Warbeast (formerly Texas Metal Alliance) and Phil Anselmo and The Illegals, the EP offers a sneak peak at some exciting new material.

Despite innumerable side projects in his 30-some-odd-year career, The Illegals marks Anselmo’s first solo effort. The Anselmo stamp of trudging mid-tempo southern metal is instantly recognizable. The vocals are more raw and caustic than Pantera or Down, but much slower than the crust punk of Arson Anthem. If anything, The Illegals is a groovier Superjoint Ritual riding syncopated waves of aggression. And that’s just wonderful.

Warbeast mingles its Texas underground metal with some serious old school thrash. The result sounds like the hate-baby of Slayer and Pantera. The band’s two tracks are wall-to-wall break-neck blast beats with fits of guitar shredding. These tracks also mark the last recordings with bassist Alan Bovee.

The name War of the Gargantuas originates from a Japanese kaiju film about two mega-sized yetis duking it out Godzilla style. It’s a name that couldn’t be more apt for this EP. Three of the four songs clock in around 4-to-5 minutes, making for a surprisingly meaty EP that you’ll want to play repeatedly. War of the Gargantuas isn’t just giving you a taste; this is the sort of appetizer you can make a meal of.

You can find more about Warbeast and Phil Anselmo on Facebook and at Housecore Records.

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