When you mention Philip Hansen Anselmo, most heavy music fans known him primarily, if not exclusively, as the vocalist of Pantera.
Alas, Anselmo’s time as the front-maniac of those metal titans is just the beginning of how New Orleans’ loudest and proudest son has impacted music—and so much more.
Phil Anselmo continually creates, shapes, promotes, and inspires extreme rock—along with films, art, festivals, and other media—in an ever-evolving variety of vehicles and guises. And all of Phil’s undertakings, rest assured, definitely fall under the classification of “extreme.”
In 2015, Anselmo’s Superjoint group embarked on their first tour in over a decade, and his annual Housecore Horror Festival is gearing up to once again soak Texas with sonic and cinematic boodle-letting. So now is a perfect time pay tribute to this tireless one-man metal mayhem factory with a salute to ten of his coolest, and heaviest, projects.
To simply listen to Phil Anselmo’s ferocious singing voice is to, understandably, perhaps miss out on how hilariously good-humored he also happens to be. One performer who picked up on that side of Phil is comedian Dave Hill. Together, they created Metal Grasshopper, a web series in which Anselmo schools Hill in the uproariously definable art of being, at all times, metal.
Phil Anselmo’s vocals pummel listeners like an onslaught of prizefighter combination punches, and to watch him in performance is see clearly how the sweet science impacted Phil’s stage presence. Anselmo comes by this association way more than honestly: as a lifetime fight fan, Phil frequently speaks about the sport, and reguarly serves as a writer and correspondent for the industry’s bible, Boxing Insider.
Aleister Crowley aka "The Great Beast" was a world-changing British philosopher, occultist, multimedia artist, and champion mountain climber familiar to heavy metal fans through a multitude of venues, including Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mr. Crowley” and Jimmy Page taking up residence in the old sorcerer’s castle on Loch Ness.
Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and three years later authored The Satanic Bible. Ever since then, both the book and/or some representation of LaVey’s chrome-domed, arched-eyebrowed visage have been as required fixtures in every budding headbanger’s bedroom alongside black-light posters, skull t-shirts, and Sabbath records coated with weed-rolling residue.
In creating a new high-concept persona, Phil Anselmo combined the two unholy icons as “Anton Crowley.” He’s used the name while playing guitar for death metal gore hounds Necrophagia, singing lo-fi black metal with Viking Crown, screaming in the name of Satan for Christ Inversion, and other undertakings as he so feels possessed by the Anton Crowley spirit.
The two friends bonded over Phil’s mammoth collection of old hardcore punk records, and decided to they needed to contribute something of their own to the art form.
Housecore Horror Festival
In the 13th year of the 21st century, Phil Anselmo partnered with his friend and fellow movie and metal fanatic Corey Mitchell to create the Housecore Horror Festival, an annual three-day avalanche of superstar live bands, hair-raising film screenings, cult movie star appearance, and a marketplace of vendors peddling books, videos, clothing, art, toys, and other collectibles related to terrifying entertainment. Tragically, Corey Mitchell died suddenly after the second fest, and, as he would have demanded, the event carries on each year in his honor.
Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals
For a guy who’s been pumping forth new music in a vast array of forms at a superhuman rate for decades, it’s amazing and kind of amusing to realize that Phil Anselmo didn’t make his proper solo album debut until 2013. Walk Through Exits Only by Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals landed smack in the swelter season of that year. It was, and will always remain, an instant classic.
Beyond the aforementioned Necrophagia and Eyehategod, Phil Anselmo just can’t seem to stop turning up on other artists’ albums—and who would ever want him to?!
Among the other acts to which Anselmo has contributed vocals, musicianship, or both are Tony Iommi, Anthrax, Crowbar, Biohazard, Cattle Decapitation, Soilent Green, Jarboe, Vision of Disorder, Anal C—t, and… whoever else he’s in the studio with right this minute!
Superjoint Ritual emerged as a loose-knit, but musically hyper-tight, Phil Anselmo side project that ran concurrently with Pantera throughout the 1990s.
The band’s sound encompasses vast elements of extreme music, drawing primarily, though, from the three genres’ with which Phil is most famously associated: groove metal, hardcore punk, and black metal.
Exclusively a live act during their first decade, Superjoint Ritual finally issued an LP in 2002, Use Once and Destroy, followed a year later by A Lethal Dose of American Hatred.
After a long time off, the group, known now simply as Superjoint, reunited at the 2014 Housecore Horror Festival and hit the road a few months later.
Phil Anselmo founded Housecore Records in 2001, and it has carried on into the new millennium the tradition established in the ’80s by pioneering extreme indie labels on the order of Megaforce, Metal Blade, Earache, Roadrunner, Nuclear Blast, and SST.
Artists on the Housecore roster include, of course, Anselmo’s projects, along with Eyehategod, Crowbar, Warbeast, Child Bite, King Parrot, Evil Army, Exactly Violent Style, Haarp, and Rat in a Bucket.
Centered on the core trio of Anselmo on vocals, Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity on guitar, Kirk Windstein of Crowbar on bass, and Jimmy Bower of Crowbar and Eyehategod on drums, Down formed in 1991 and has issued just five releases.
Beginning with the epic, before-and-after line-in-the-swamp NOLA in 1995 on up to the dual EPs Down IV – Part I in 2012 and Down IV – Part II two years later, each record has been a masterpiece.
Live, the group is pure brutal glory, as evidenced by the killer 2010 documentary, Down: Diary of a Mad Band. Do not miss it. Do not miss them.