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SUPERJOINT Caught Up In The Gears Of Application

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 2:43 PM


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SUPERJOINT
Caught Up In The Gears Of Application

Housecore Records




Cult heroes SUPERJOINT RITUAL return after a decade-long hiatus minus several members from last time around, as well as with the “Ritual” part of the name - which probably has something to do with drummer and founding member Joe Fazzio’s absence from the current line up. Also absent is bassist Hank Williams III, who played on 2003’s A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred before the band imploded in a haze of substance abuse and internal strife.

The guts of SUPERJOINT, frontman Phil Anselmo, his DOWN bandmate guitarist Jimmy Bower and guitarist/formerly bassist Kevin Bond, however, reconvened with two members of Anselmo’s solo band - drummer Joey Gonzalez and bassist Stephen Taylor - and have been playing sporadic shows over the past two years. All of which has led up to this, the band’s third album.

Caught Up In The Gears Of Application essentially picks up where Lethal Dose left off, all the way back during the Bush administration. While its tone may be distinctly current – as evidenced by tracks like “Clickbait” - its delivery remains about the same: raw hardcore aggression, metallic bludgeon and Southern sludge in roughly equal measure topped by Anselmo's tense, spleen-vent vocals. The “BLACK FLAG meets BLACK SABBATH” tag the band earned – for better or worse – from before still applies today.

However, despite Anselmo and Bower's association with a host of other active bands, Gears certainly sounds more focused and purposeful than Lethal Dose, which seemed both slapdash and redundant and featured one of Anselmo's most grating vocal performances. But as he groans on Application's confessional “Circling The Drain”, “We used to be drug addicts, now we just take our medicine like men.” So there you have it.

After a somewhat trudgey, discordant start with “Today And Tomorrow” that recalls Anselmo's solo work - and revels in its “Today’s fuck off/is tomorrow’s fuck you” mantra - Gears hits its hardcore stride with “Burning The Blanket”, a 2:33 barnstormer that leads off a four-song series of similar numbers “Ruin You”, the title track and “Sociopathic Herd Delusion”. They're short, sweet and vicious and build a stampede-like momentum that the band, unfortunately, doesn't maintain.

The herky-jerk “Circling The Drain” stops and starts with just about every line and struggles to maintain its balance, whereas the leaden “Asshole” repeats the same riff again and again, with a hardcore sprint in the middle, while Anselmo keeps hollering something to the effect of “shit comes out of it.” Which would certainly make sense.

“Clickbait” kicks up the tempo again, but at 5:31 is just goes on for too long, drifting off in the middle on a shrill, almost VOIVOD-like tangent that seems like another song entirely. Length is also an issue with otherwise nicely chuggy closing track “Receiving No Answer To The Knock”. Between them, though, “Mutts Bite Too” and “Rigging The Fight” ramp up the intensity with “Mutts” busting out a few gut-punch breakdowns.

If nothing else, Caught Up In The Gears Of Application shows SUPERJOINT can still bring it with the fervor of old, as it doesn't really aspire to anything else, though it does tidy up some of the mess left by Lethal Dose way back when. And if that's all Anselmo and company intended, then mission accomplished.

3.0 Out Of 5.0

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