After announcing a string of UK and European tour dates metal heavyweight Philip H. Anselmo brought Choosing Mental Illness 2019 Euro Tour to the long-standing live music venue The Underworld, London for the second sold-out night on 29th June along with his band of musicians The Illegals. With Red Method providing support- be prepared for an unforgettable night of music that embodies danger, power and brutality, and seething aggression!
Tonight’s support slot solely belonged to Red Method as Raging Speedhorn were sadly forced to cancel their performance due to guitarist Jim Palmer falling seriously ill hours before the show (get well soon, Jim!) London’s relatively new death metal sextet featuring ex Defiled and Meta Statis members immediately had the crowd gripped as they unleashed fury during their short yet fierce set. These guys have it all! Their stage presence reminded me of Slipknot – killer beats, ferocious guitars, hard riffs and vicious verses by vocalist Jeremy Gomez, not forgetting the aesthetic appeal! Red Method certainly brutalised the crowd as they took us on a blood-curdling journey prepped for the chaos that was to follow.
As the energy intensified Pantera fans welcomed The Illegals who entered in the usual low-key fashion to dimmed lights and to a chorus of cheers. All hell broke loose when the main man Phil Anselmo walked on to the stage. The guys went full force into opening track “Delinquent.” The chugging riffs and gnarly choruses caused utter chaos in the pit which saw many fans retire to the back just two songs in. Anselmo’s stage presence was unrivalled. He worked the crowd into a frenzy and never broke momentum even when he was talking between songs to catch his breath, this only excited the fans as they chanted his name making him feel “embarrassed.” Nevertheless, the great frontman showed immense affection for the crowd.
Best known as the lead vocalist for Pantera, it was clear from the setlist that this show was all about paying homage to Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul as the show became a tribute to the late metal legends and gave fans the opportunity to relive the Pantera era. The response was pure hysteria when we heard “I’m Broken” which saw the first of many mass sing-alongs. The sudden storm of beer showers on this hot and sticky evening only fuelled the feeling of rage in the pit. I thought things were dangerous, the risk of injuries was high, but I was wrong! Pantera anthem “Walk” proved to be the biggest hit of the night and undeniably a fan favourite making Phil almost inaudible as the crowd took on vocal duties. It’s certainly one of my top tracks and I’m grateful to have heard it live albeit without the original band. This show was all about Philip H. Anselmo, however, the Illegals are musicians of unequivocal talent. Lead axe Mike Deleon played superbly doing justice to all guitar solos, and the rest of the band absolutely nailed each note!
It was a night of pure metal. Red Method bludgeoned the crowd with a short and punchy set. They deserved a bigger stage. Headliners Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals blasted the crowd with brute force as they performed an ample number of Pantera tunes as well as original material which were received as classics. The tour continues across Europe so be sure to catch them in a city near you.
Review by Nadira Cee | All photos by Fernando Bonenfant