Someone should really check if Phil Anselmo is okay. Seriously, coming from a man who once claimed Black Sabbath and the Melvins as two of his biggest influences, Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue hits with all the subtlety of a jackhammer in the forehead. This is unquestionably one of the angriest and heaviest albums of Anselmo's career.
The album opens with "Little Fucking Heroes," a track that sounds like the result of a Napalm Death and Carcass abortion, and it just gets heavier from there. There are flashes of Immortal's Norwegian influence on "Utopian" and "Individual," while "Invalid Colubrine Frauds" sounds like a lost Jane Doe-era Converge collaboration. At the album's peak point of heaviness, "The Ignorant Point," Anselmo shrieks and gurgles like a man possessed, pushing his voice into previously unheard territory. He's on fire, sounding more like he's auditioning for Cattle Decapitation than the man who recorded "Cowboys From Hell" so long ago.
Outside of the bizarrely named and oddly flat "Finger Me," the album is a consistent success. Whatever Phil Anselmo's personal views and recent conduct, no one can deny that the man knows his metal, and if Choosing Mental Illness (and Phil's recent interview comment that "this is just the beginning" for the Illegals) are any indicators, Phil Anselmo is moving into the most downright brutal era of his career yet. (Housecore)