Artist of the Week [2/22/13]: Philip Anselmo

Music entrepreneur Phil Anselmo is MusicTalker’s Artist of the Week for February 22, 2013. Best known as lead singer of bands like Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual, Anselmo is a true entrepreneur of the music industry.  He also runs his own metal record label, Housecore Records, in addition to producing records of bands on Housecore Records, such as Warbeast, who supported Down on their latest North American tour.

In January, Anselmo released two new solo tracks via a split album with Warbeast, titled War of the Gargantuas.  In discussing the split release, Anselmo told Houston Press, “My solo stuff covers a lot of ground…So I picked these two songs for this EP because, in my opinion, they fit better with the straight-ahead thrash thing.”

As Warbeast play “straight-ahead thrash,” that was a very knowledgeable route to take for Anselmo.  Still discussing the two new songs, he added, “They’re very different, in my opinion, than the full-length record, which is more unpredictable.”  That is an interesting statement and provokes questions of what listeners should expect from the full-length release.  The CD is expected to arrive this summer.

Additionally, according to the interview with Houston Press, this extremely busy heavy metal legend is in the process of writing a memoir.  Writing memoirs seems to be a common venture among musicians today.  Everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis to Lady Gaga has written or is writing an autobiography/memoir.  While, for them, it may be for some extra cash, it is a special experience for their fans to learn about these musicians’ lives firsthand in great detail.

With that said, Anselmo has a full plate with creating pieces of different mediums to appease both himself and his fans.

Five noteworthy Phil Anselmo-related songs are “This Love,” “Cemetery Gates,” “Pillars of Eternity,” “Rehab,” and “Hole In the Sky.”  “This Love” is off of Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power, acclaimed by many fans as the band’s best album.  This one song is a good example of reasons for the high acclaim.  “Cemetery Gates,” off of Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell, is a depressing metal ballad which has become a classic in many fans’ eyes.  It has also been covered by many newer bands, such as Between the Buried and Me and Evile.  I actually played this song twice on my former radio show as tributes to both of my late grandmothers, on separate occasions.

“Pillars of Eternity” and “Rehab” are songs off of Down’s debut album, Nola, which is easily a fan favorite.  The former is as fast and heavy as a sludge/stoner metal band can get with their sound and the latter is more melodic and requires more clean singing from Anselmo.  As for “Hole In the Sky,” many readers may recognize that title belonging to a Black Sabbath song.  This fifth highlight of Anselmo’s career repertoire is indeed a Black Sabbath cover.  Pantera’s version of “Hole In the Sky” is as pleasing to the regular metal listener’s ear as the original, if not more so.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for all of Anselmo’s upcoming project releases.

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