It’s hard to conceive of a figure who’s contributed more to the evolution of Southern metal than Philip Anselmo, whose throat-shredding roar and scorched earth lyricism have breathed vitriolic potency into the legacies of Pantera, Down and his own Philip H Anselmo And The Illegals, even if his rather heinous discretions have undermined them.
Though collaborators change, every Anselmo-fronted project of the past two decades has carried the deadening force of a steel pipe hitting your skull and his bare-knuckled hardcore project, Superjoint (formerly Superjoint Ritual), are no exception. Back with guitarists Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond, and with Illegals drummer Joey ‘Blue’ Gonzalez and bassist Stephen Taylor, Superjoint have ended a 13-year studio hiatus with a marauding recommitment to the paint-stripping tempos of East Coast hardcore and the swampy riffage of Southern sludge. The blazing Burning The Blanket and Mutts Bite Too vividly conjure the punchy claustrophobia of a sweaty circlepit fuelled by cheap keg beer and testosterone. Although more of an 80s throwback than 2003’s A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred album, the new material is neatly balanced by grimy, blues-driven riffs on tracks like Today And Tomorrow and Ruin You. First and foremost, however, Caught Up In The Gears Of Application delivers an unrelenting siege of pugnacious, old-school hardcore, lacking only subtlety and restraint.