Anyone who says you can’t make it in the music biz without selling your soul needs to review the CV of Philip Hansen Anselmo. While Metallica landed a No. 1 album in ’91 with a tempered version of its signature progressive thrash, Anselmo’s former band Pantera accomplished the same feat three years later with Far Beyond Driven, a preposterously abrasive album that dialed the groove-powered vitriol of its prior efforts way into the red.
The NOLA native hasn’t had it easy in the intervening years, battling addiction and chronic pain, and coping with the fatal onstage shooting of Pantera comrade Dimebag Darrell in 2004. But lately Anselmo has parlayed his hefty cred into a thriving mini empire; along with his Southern-metal supergroup, Down, the frontman keeps busy with a homegrown label, Housecore. The imprint has just issued its highest-profile release to date: Walk Through Exits Only, Anselmo’s full-length solo debut, which he supports at this week’s show. The album is a protracted, intermittently enthralling vent—just like the personality that birthed it, it’s bilious, sardonic and maladjusted as hell.—Hank Shteamer
Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing