Phil Anselmo And The Illegals -Warbeast – Author & Punisher: Live At The Palladium Worcester, MA

_DSC0664Most people in the current generation never got to see or hear Pantera live. Even if you did, it’s sadly been over a decade since that band played it’s final notes. Even though their surviving members have continued to make music, some of it excellent, nothing will ever quite duplicate that fury and fun for a lot of people who remember them. Phil Anselmo has continued to make music with the likes of Down and other projects, but outside of some his recent work in the metal masters, fans haven’t had the chance to him cut loose and get back to his brutal musical past. With his recent album Walk Through Exits Only (Housecore)  and his new backing band, The Illegals, Phil is back to doing arguably what his does best: crushing stages and having fun on the ‘The Technicians of Distortion Tour’.


Upstairs there was some good support from local bands such as Black Mass and Vivsepulture. Downstairs in the main room, Author & Punisher was up first and you could just feel the “wtf?” in the room with groans and sighs. I love it when an artist challenges a crowd just by_DSC0336 being there. A one man sonic and multimedia experience, the room that was waiting for some thrash and groove, guitars and screaming, and they just couldn’t handle it. Tristan Shone is the man behind A&P and you have to give him his props, based on impassioned performance and dgaf attitude. This was an inspired choice to open the show even if barely anybody in the building “got it”. Warbeast was up next and fell more in line with the expectations of the swelling crowd. Playing some Texas sized thrash metal songs, hot off of their recent Anselmo produced Destroy (Housecore) album, the band woke the droopy crowd up with a bang. Playing songs such as ‘Nightmares In the Sky’, ‘Birth of A Psycho’, and ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ really activated the pit. Front man Bruce Corbitt stalked the stage and sang his balls off as usual. Guitarists Scott Shelby and Bobby Tilotson provided the firepower shred-wise. Of course, Phil watched their entire set from the side of the stage and even came out to sing for a few songs, including some old Rigor Mortis jams which was terrific.



_DSC0686Finally, Phil and troupe left the stage, only long enough for them to clear the gear and show a very sparse stage of gear. A massive, simple banner hung as a backdrop: Phil’s visage in a silhouette of his face and head with his band name only. They could tell tonight was going to be a special show. After jamming a bit of ‘Black Houses’ by Portal, the band launched into ‘Battalion of Zero’. It was great to hear Phil just growl it out as he hasn’t really done in years on stage much. He just let it fly and he sounded flawless. ‘Betrayed’ was next and the crowd was just whipped in a frenzy with a chaotic pit happening. It was also cool to hear people had the new album, and were singing along too. His band was as killer as advertised, especially Marzi Montazeri on guitar. The band ended up playing the entire record over the course of the night and Phil gave little explanations of what the thought was behind each song. Phil chatted it up, but thankfully kept his banter short, or short for him. There were also some epic surprises all night long, the first being the late-era Pantera classic ‘Death Rattle’. It was just sick to hear this song live, which has closely followed by Superjoint Ritual‘s ‘Fuck Your Enemy’. Later in the set the band messed around with the opening of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Dazed and Confused’, which sounded so doomy and sludged out. I appreciated the notion, even if I giggled at the delivery. Even though people cried out for his more popular songs, it was cool to hear most of Phil’s stops in his musical journey represented, such as the Arson Anthem killer ‘Wrecked Like Clockwork’. After playing a nice mash-up of Pantera treasures like ‘Domination/Hollow’ with a little ‘By Demons Be Driven’, and for a second I caught myself thinking it was 1998 again. Closing with Agnostic Front’s ‘United and Strong’, Phil and his band definitely delivered a fun show of new music, old hits and some influences.

















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Words: Keith Chachkes

Photos: Echoes In The Well