Bill & Phil – Songs of Darkness and Despair

If you find yourself seeking a soundtrack to a belligerent, drug fuelled weekend look no further than Songs of Darkness and Despair (Housecore Records), the new collaboration between the iconic Phil Anselmo and horror movie mainstay Bill Moseley.

This collection of irreverent and, at times, outlandish songs is the result of a three-day session between Bill and Phil, together with Superjoint guitarist Kevin Bond, Squizzy Squires of King Parrot and Jose ‘Blue’ Gonzalez of Philip Anselmo and the Illegals. With that in mind, the listening experience is coloured a little, because this sounds exactly like what it is – a bunch of guys improvising a few tunes together and putting them on record as soon as they have a coherent number.

There’s a certain amount of musical range on display, with opening track ‘Dirty Eye’ sounding like the sort of NOLA heavy fare that Anselmo has become known for. Meanwhile ‘Corpus Crispy’ and ‘Tonight is the Night We Die’ both have a Southern Rock vibe to them, though commendably each of these songs retains its own individuality. ‘Corpus Crispy’ is particularly noteworthy as perhaps the most spacy track on the record, replete with high-pitched guitar wails and lyrics reverberating around in the listener’s ear thanks to some stylistic production.

There are some odd moments. ‘Widder Woman’ is a thirty-second interlude that sounds like it was thrown in for the sole purpose of freaking out those who may be particularly wasted while they’re listening to this collection. Overall though, there is definite charm and strong character on display throughout this extended play. ‘Catastrophic’ is a wonderfully brisk rant against the cosmos, while closing number ‘Bad Donut’ serves as a bass-heavy diatribe aimed almost in jest at the hazy listener.

A fun way to start your musical year.

7.0/10

MICHAEL DODD