Former PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS guitarist Marzi Montazeri has accused Phil Anselmo of “ripping off” EXHORDER frontman Kyle Thomas‘s vocal style.
Asked in a new interview with “The Classic Metal Show” how he would compare the experience of working with Anselmo to playing with Thomas, Marzi said (hear audio below):
“Well, they’re both very talented people. But I will tell you this, from working with both of ’em: they’re both very intelligent people.
“Kyle Thomas is an original. He is entirely original. His voice, his presentation, his lyrics, the way he writes — everything about Kyle Thomas is an original.
“I love Phil. I worked with Phil, and I enjoyed working with Phil. Phil, at his best, is imitating Kyle. So there lies this pretentiousness about him. And I’m only saying this because you asked me about the experience.
“I walked into it knowing… Regardless of what his demeanor may be, all this stuff — I get it; I get the ‘tough-guy’ thing; I get it. But put all that aside, man — put that act aside — and what you’re gonna end up getting is someone pretending to be someone else. Kind of like David Lee Roth did with Jim Dandy. David Lee Roth did a great job at it. And Phil, with PANTERA, did the same thing.
“He did Kyle, at that time, better than Kyle did. He ripped off his style, his vocal style… ’cause he was doing Rob Halford stuff back then, when he first joined PANTERA. And when ‘Cowboys [From Hell]’ came, he wanted to be in EXHORDER so bad, he went back and said, ‘We’re gonna sound like these guys.’ And he took it, simplified it, and [they] became the biggest band in the world. But the formula was that.
“Again, I’m not bashing no one — I’m just telling you the truth… I mean, did they write great records? Did they write great songs? Sh*t, yes, they did. Is [late PANTERA guitarist] Dimebag the greatest metal guitar player? Goddamn right. He was my best friend. He was PANTERA. His style, his lead playing is just unmatched, man — unmatched.
“So that’s basically the gist of it. One is completely an original and influenced by a hell of a lot, but the other is trying to be the original, and doing a really good job imitating him, but in the end, it’s just one guy trying to be somebody else.”
Asked if he thinks Anselmo‘s vocal approach in DOWN was also influenced by Thomas‘s singing style in Kyle‘s post-EXHORDER band FLOODGATE, Marzi said:
“Man… [Laughs] Okay, yes. Yes, absolutely, man. Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. When you have the ability to do things, and then you see something else happen, you take it. Some people don’t care if they rip something off. In fact, they’re blatant about it.
“There’s a riff on [PANTERA‘s] ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ that he played for me, and when he played it, I looked at him and I said, ‘Man, that sure sounds a lot like HELMET.’ And he goes, ‘Where do you think I ripped it off from?’ He boldly told me that. And the guy from HELMET, he took him to the back of the bus and he played that riff for him, and he had to get up and leave.
“The dude from HELMET just got up and left, ’cause he was, like, ‘Wow! I can’t f*cking believe this.’ It wasn’t like an homage; it was a blatant ripoff. Like, ‘This works, so I’m just gonna take it, because I’m at a point right now, no matter what I do, people think I’m coming up with it.’ So, that’s just a game being played. And at the end of the day, truth comes out, good music comes out, and stuff like that. And I’m not discrediting anyone. But you’re asking honest opinions about comparisons.”
In the 1990s, Marzi hooked up with SUPERJOINT RITUAL, with Anselmo as lead vocalist, and appeared on the band’s first two demos. By March of 2010, Marzi rejoined forces with Anselmo to work on what became Philip‘s first solo project since PANTERA, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS. Marzi recorded THE ILLEGALS‘ debut album, “Walk Through Exits Only”, and toured with the band before exiting the group in November 2015. Two years later, Marzi joined Louisiana metal veterans EXHORDER, who are cited by many as the originators of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA.