Review: Superjoint Ritual

Superjoint Ritual
“A Lethal Dose of American Hatred”
(Sanctuary Records)

Phil Anselmo is still pissed off.  That’s cool at least.  Phil says, “This is the band I’ve always wanted to be in”.  It’s menacing for sure.  Punked up agro metal.  Heavy on that old school, hardcore punk approach.  No thrash that many have come to expect from the vocalist that, no matter how much he wants to, will never be able to just “move on” and have people view his work for what it is now without in someway comparing to what he’s done in the past.  Sorry, that’s just how it works.  (And I’ll even respect this new effort to the point of not dropping his previous bands name, if you don’t know, then cool, listen to Superjoint with an open mind).

Superjoint Ritual is good.  It’s aggressive and pounding tempos coupled with Phil’s scraping yells wrapped in this punked out metal works on many levels.  It is also sloppy, muddy sounding and holds none of the punch many will expect from Phil and music he’s involved in.  His favorite vocal attack on this album is to lay his own voice against his own voice, like a counter-call.  Phil#1 sings a line, then on a separate take Phil#2 counters against it.  Neat trick (overused it a bit), but I bet it doesn’t pan out live as well.

There are most definitely signs of great things to come from this band, check the intro to “Personal Insult”, but then the band shifts gears backwards in the super speed punk chops that most of this album mires itself down in (but SJR saves the track by getting all metal towards the end and that’s where Phil sounds best).  Superjoint is one of these bands you wonder how well they would be received without the pedigree of the members guaranteeing a certain level of respect before note one is heard.  This is good stuff, but not good enough to make you redefine which band Phil was in that was your favorite.