Saturday, July 26, 2003 @ 3:09 PM
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A Lethal Dose of American Hatred is a bloody, mangled conglomeration of pure rage and antagonism, fueled by political intolerance and a blatant disregard for social acceptance. Influenced by quart after quart of Crown and Jaeger and driven by unadulterated hostility, Superjoint Ritual’s sophomore effort not only raises the bar for all other metal bands, but blows ‘em away like a suicide bomber.
When SJR vocalist Phil Anselmo sang the tag line on Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven -- “Becoming… GOD SIZE!” – he knew exactly where he was going then. Even after a very successful romp with Down last year, Anselmo made clear that SJR was his current focus – that’s where his creative energies would remain indefinitely. And for as much as I cringed upon hearing that at first, I now know why he chose this path.
A Lethal Dose of American Hatred follows up last year’s Use Once and Destroy with a significant maturity, a defined strength and a huge step forward in the voracity of this band. The songs here are more diverse with an array of tempos and the lyrics, although tainted with severe mental insanity, plummet into the depths of self-inflicted torture.
Some of the more bone-crunching, moshpit-evoking tracks include: “Permanently,” which evolves from a strange, backwards-sounding keyboard-type intro; “Death Threat;” and “Never To Sit or Stand Again,” in which Phil begs you to “kill youself” and “die for” him. “Sickness” has Anselmo kind of swapping vocals back and forth with himself, and “Waiting For the Turning Point” is fast and malicious, clocking in at 1:27.
The first single off the album, “The Destruction of a Person,” is laden with the burdens that have plagued Phil over the years:
“I had some friends once before/ Whose not much my friends anymore
I was very influential in their lives (so they say)/ And when I lost my mind
They followed me through multiple deaths
The destruction of a person/ Builds character/ Invisible
There we were on the floor/ Slumped over and sliding downward
With syringes hanging out of our arms/ Another night, anyway we could…
I said, ‘Tust me, trust me, trust me, trust me, trust me…’”
“Personal Insult” fucking rages with animosity for those who harbor hatred towards Americans:
“A holy war you will get/ You can get/ Jihad is a joke
Fight us/ The American citizens/ The most pissed off motherfuckers in the world!”
The guitar riffs on that are just intense and the song as a whole... it just shreds with a militant gouging.
And never ones to shy away from saying exactly what they mean, “Dress Like a Target” seems to be aimed at the media who “sucks up” and “The Horror,” although it barely spans a minute and only contains five lines, is presumed to acknowledge AIDS, or at least STDs: “The horror is the virus/ (It travels faster)/ One short fuck does the trick.” I suppose you’ll have to deduce your own theory there.
“Stealing a Page or Two From Armed & Radical Pagans” and “The Knife Rises” are most likely to be the fist-pumpers at a show, as they are pretty much the only ones that you can keep up with the lyrics! “Symbol of Nevermore” slows things down a bit, with a two-minute instrumental interlude.
“Absorbed” exceeds all expectations. This track will make you want to fight, fuck, break shit, throw things across the room… It’s got this super-sexy, lackadaisical skipping riffage soaked in monster vocals. Slightly more than halfway through the song, bassist III drones on for two minutes with this sultry, train-chugging bass riff, repeating over and over. I imagine they could use this to open their live sets with… that throbbing, demonic bass line pummeling through the dimly-lit smoke, an occasional light flickering across the stage, briefly illuminating their silhouettes just before they give in to the climactic stench of malice and burst onstage with sensory-annihilating, mind-bending brutality.
There is not one bad song on this album. It’s an amazing blend of crushing tracks that stand apart from one another. If the “destruction of a person builds character,” then I hope Phil & Co. continue to passionately loathe all inequalities and injustices in this world, because it makes for one hardcore, psychotically heavy, intelligently written monster soundtrack for all of us with that deep-seeded aggression sitting at the pit of our souls.
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