[See our profile of Phil Anselmo here.]
Pantera, Cowboys From Hell (1990)
The first “real” Pantera record, on which the band shed its early glam image to focus thoroughly on thrash metal. If you aren’t seeing stars by the end of Dimebag Darrell’s guitar solo on “Domination,” you need to take a good, long look at your life.
Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
At its core, this album represents the catharsis that metal has always been about. You’d have to be a robot not to feel empowered by the choruses on “Walk,” “By Demons Be Driven,” “This Love,” “Fucking Hostile”—the whole record, really.
Crowbar, Crowbar (1993)
Technically, Anselmo just produced and did a few guest spots, but this is a landmark sludge-metal record. Oh my God, those riffs. Guitarist Kirk Windstein used to be in Down, too, but recently left to pursue Crowbar full time.
Down, Nola (1995)
One of the first albums to prove modern rock with down-tuned guitars and a heavy groove could thrash as well. Its Southern swagger, mixed with riffs as thick as weed smoke, laid the groundwork for so many bands over the past 19 years.
Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Walk Through Exits Only (2013)
This record took a bit of time to sink my teeth into. It seems frantic and disjointed at first, but after a while, the unconventional time signatures start to make sense. Also, dare I say that Marzi Montazeri’s axe-slaying, paired with Anselmo’s growls, fills a tiny bit of the void left after Dimebag Darrell’s death?