Superjoint – Caught Up In The Gears Of Application
Released by: Housecore
Released on: November 11th, 2016.
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Superjoint Ritual broke up in 2004 but last year frontman Phil Anselmo brought it back, this time without the Ritual attached to the name. This time around Anselmo is playing with founding members Jimmy Bower on guitar and Kevin Bond on bass with new recruits José “Blue” Gonzalez on drums and Stephen Taylor on bass. A few short tours later and now we’ve got the band’s first new album since 2003’s A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred. Original members Michael Haaga, Hank III, Joe Fazzio and Marzi Montazeri are nowhere to be seen, but this incarnation hits has hard and as fast as anything from the band’s past.
Today And Tomorrow starts things off with a three and a half minute pronouncement that Superjoint is back, and they’re still ridiculously pissed off. This is a barrage of sludgy, stop/start hardcore that grabs you by the ears and kicks you in the teeth. Anselmo’s repetitive screaming of ‘trust no one’ over and over again over top of the increasing hostility that is provided by the instrumentation is nothing if not intense. Burning The Blanket blasts out of the gate full speed ahead. One of the fastest and most powerful tracks on the record this is a nasty, grinding, track that screeches to a halt two and a half minutes later – but somewhere in between there’s a seriously heavy groove, pulling from some of the doomier influences that creep into this band’s sound.
And then there’s Ruin You, just shy of two and a half minutes in length. It’s an assault on your ears in the best way possible, again it’s fast and intense and heavy and just pure, sonic anger the way that the best Superjoint songs are. The title track, Caught Up In The Gears Of Application, doesn’t change the albums sound or style at all but it is noteworthy just for how completely unhinged Anselmo’s vocals are on this track. Here he switches back and forth between some searing screeching and that guttural growl that is basically his trademark but he sounds like an absolute behemoth here. Sociopathic Herd Delusion is a rage against the system that hits like an atom bomb with a riff heavy enough to level a house serving as its backbone. Gonzalez’s drums really stand out on this one. His work is solid on every track on the record but this one in particular sees him really go off a few times.
The second half of the album kicks off with Circling The Drain, a longer track at four and a half minutes. The whole thing switches up so often that it’s tough to describe but it’s got a fairly traditional hardcore spine to it off of which the band spin some majestic riffs and sludgy bass and drums underneath. Clickbait is also on the longer side, clocking in at over five minutes. It’s a mainlined dose of speed and anger, pure and uncut. Again, it’s a showcase for the band’s talent and Anselmo’s insane vocal delivery. Asshole, as you’d probably have guessed by now, is also pretty ferocious. It’s just short of three minutes’ worth heavy, stonery sludge - much slower than anything else on the record in some ways, but no less heavy and devastating.
As the album winds to a close, Mutts Bite Too delivers four minutes of fairly traditional hardcore that, vocals aside, sounds like it could have come off of an early Agnostic Front album even if it does have a more obvious metallic bent to it. The two and a half minute long Rigging The Fight follows suit, switching back and forth between the speed demonstrated on Burning The Blanket and the sludgier side of the band’s sound courtesy of some ridiculously tight bass playing. It all winds to a close with Receiving No Answer To The Knock, the last track on the record clocking in at five and a half minutes. It opens with a bit of feedback and then bulldozes its way into a dark, demented sound that chugs along with almost mechanical precision, Anselmo’s off kilter vocals the wildcard here. It’s an appropriately dark sounding track and a killer way to finish off this ridiculously good comeback album.