Wednesday, 16 November 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Superjoint - “Caught up in the Gears of Application”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/11/2016
Label: Housecore Records



This is gnarly and nasty music made by a figure that is both revered and reviled. Through all the controversy, one thing keeps me coming back to listen to Anselmo: the quality of the music. And the music is as potent as ever. A storming return.


“Caught up in the Gears of Application” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Today and Tomorrow
02. Burning the Blanket
03. Ruin You
04. Caught Up In The Gears Of The Application
05. Sociopathic Herd Delusion
06. Circling the Drain
07. Clickbait
08. Asshole
09. Mutts Bite Too
10. Rigging the Fight
11. Receiving No Answer to the Knock

The Review:

Superjoint Ritual, as this band effectively is, made a couple of records in the early 00's and then disappeared as Down reignited and- by my estimation- stagnated. Now, Anselmo is back with a rather different line up but still peddling the same angst ridden mix of sped up/metalled up EHG/Saint Vitus and Black Flag.

Song lengths are fairly concise, the anger is almost tangible and overall this is an unholy racket of rather hardcore proportions. Anselmo recreates the vocal stylings of his early 30's self to good effect. Naturally, he remains (now more so than ever!) a divisive figure- but I'm not here to write about politics; so the music is the focus here.

The likes of “Ruin You” are punk-ish blasts of anger and Phil really does turn in a good vocal performance of raging fury; his best in years. The title track is just a ferocious beast, as is... the rest of the album. Certainly, this record proves that Anselmo's writing and performance have not been hurt by years of drug abuse, scandal, grief and whatever else has been negative grist to his mill. When he screams “we used to be drug addicts!” in “Circling the Drain”, you know that he speaks from a place that you don't really want to go to (no, not Bradford).

Naturally, there is no experimentation here, no subtlety and certainly no ballads. This is horrible and pitch black stuff. In every sense, the album feels like a natural successor to “A Lethal Dose...” combining the bile of the previous two records with the propensity for throwaway song titles (“Asshole”- a nasty little track) and the raw production values. Through the latter stretch of the album, from the lengthier “Clickbait”, the bass intro sporting “Mutts Bite Too”, the sharp “Rigging The Fight” and so on, there is not one backwards step. The record just marches relentlessly onwards.

By the time it ends with the five and a half minutes of “Receiving No Answer to This”, it is quite a relief. This is gnarly and nasty music made by a figure that is both revered and reviled. Through all the controversy, one thing keeps me coming back to listen to Anselmo: the quality of the music. And the music is as potent as ever. A storming return.

Caught up in the Gears of Application” is available here


Band info: facebook || bandcamp

FFO: Black Flag, Philip Anselmo & The Illegals, Exhorder, Eyehategod


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