REVIEW: SUPERJOINT – “Caught Up In The Gears of Application”
After a 12-year long hiatus, Phil Anselmo and guitarist Jimmy Bower have resurrected their good old project Superjoint Ritual as Superjoint with a change in the line-up which still includes guitarist Kevin Bond while bassist Hank Williams III and drummer Joe Fazzio have been replaced by new members. Stephen Taylor on bass and Joey Gonzalez on drums make a great rhythm section which speaks volumes of the group’s creative approach in all the Blues and Jazz inspired hardcore experimentation that goes on. Superjoint recently released their much awaited new album ‘Caught Up in the Gears of Application’.
The new record is yet another portrayal of Phil Anselmo’s immense musical credibility established by passion and artistic acumen through and through. It is yet another instance of unapologetic energy that Phil is known for, channelized mostly in a great way! ‘Caught Up in the Gears of Application’ is more than being just Phil’s project. The music is assertive and comprises of some solid compositions- a blend of a spectrum of influences ranging from Blues and psychedelic Jazz to Metal.
The record is a 38-minute mixed bag, mostly of incredible energy, memorable riffs and some punishing grooves. One of the most outstanding elements on the album is Phil’s vocals- the wonderfully executed growls and shouts. The creative genius of the record speaks of the vast musical experience each member brings into the band.
The record commences with “Today and Tomorrow”, a track that features some trademark Anselmo-elements like spoken words with a backdrop of guitar feedback. The vocals on this track provide just the kind of energy to set a record in motion. The next song “Burning the Blanket” is a catchy up-tempo track, reminiscent of Superjoint’s early years, especially in the grooves wonderfully laid down by Joey Gonzalez. “Clickbait” is yet another addition to Phil Anselmo’s rage against the media which seems a bit too tired in its approach while the title track, although thematically relevant has a lot more scope for compositional creativity and better structure. The other tracks too might invoke mixed reactions in the listener. While the energy is definitely a saving grace to the record, songs like “Ruin You” and “Asshole” seem to compromise on the lyrics. “Mutts Bite Too” is quite a catchy track and sure adopts a unique approach with some nice guitar solos. “Circling the Drain” shows glimpses of crossover thrash influences while “Sociopath Herd Delusion” lowers down the tempo and brings about a refreshing shift. However, the last track on the album “Receiving No Answer to the Knock” falls short of providing a perfect finish to the record.
In a nutshell, while ‘Caught Up in the Gears of Application’ showcases some great experimentation and creativity, the overall songwriting appears inconsistent especially as compared to Superjoint’s earlier work.