Former PANTERA vocalist, Philip H. Anselmo, recorded the first two SUPERJOINT RITUAL albums right before the tragic on stage murder of his former guitarist, the late Dimebag Darrell. I remember seeing the band live several times in and around the years 2002-2003 at Danzig’s Blackest of The Black concert and a couple other gigs that were held at House of Blues clubs in Anaheim and Hollywood. I always told my friends they were a truly explosive act when witnessed in person, much like his old band, but in a way even more pissed off and dark if that is even possible. I always wanted to hear the third album as a fan and have waited many years for this moment. Can Anselmo still recapture their early raging sound or will SUPERJOINT (the shortened version used now due to legal reasons) fall flat on its face like a punch drunk fighter who has long seen his glory days? There is a bit of a lineup change this time around, obviously, Phil does not get along with the first drummer any longer – and Hank III is not playing bass like the second coming of Cliff Burton. In their places are the more than capable Jose Gonzalez and Stephen Taylor. Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond thankfully return on guitar duties. These two cats and their wicked riffs define this great band in my opinion.
The simply slamming collection of tracks kicks off with “Today and Tomorrow”, and let me first comment on how angry Anselmo’s voice comes across. “Trust no one”, over and over he yells at the end of the opening cut. He sounds downright more evil than ever before in his rock music career. What does this dude eat for breakfast lately? Shards of glass? Phil’s blood curdling screams and ear bursting shouts in his late forties would undoubtedly make a twenty-something horror scream queen run crying in the other direction. Up next is the punk charged “Burning The Blanket”, followed by the speedy “Ruin You” and the haunting title track “Caught Up In The Gears Of Application”, an instant classic.
Track five’s “Sociopathic Herd Delusion” is my favorite song on the album, however. Anselmo truly digs deep for some pure animosity. The momentum does not slow down one damn bit on the next pit-worthy tracks “Circling the Drain” and “Asshole”, definitely my second favorite tune out of the collection.
“Clickbait” is track number eight and will pummel you into total submission if you aren’t there already. “Mutts Bite Too”, “Rigging The Fight” and “Receiving No Answer To The Knock” bring it all to a conclusion. This gem of a record is not only comeback album of the year, but I believe many critics will agree that this is by far the best metal album of 2016. The only lame thing is that I know a lot of people won’t even give Anselmo and his music a chance right now because of the Dimebash controversy. Those people who choose to deny this masterpiece are only missing out on one of the heaviest albums of all time.
SUPERJOINT – “Caught Up In The Gears Of Application” (CD)
1. Today and Tomorrow
2. Burning The Blanket
3. Ruin You
4. Caught Up In The Gears Of Application
5. Sociopathic Herd Delusion
6. Circling the Drain
9. Mutts Bite Too
10. Rigging The Fight
11. Receiving No Answer To The Knock