Reviewed: September 2003
Released: 2003, Sanctuary Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Philip Anselmo is a busy man. No longer happy with the confines of being in Pantera, he decided to try out a side project with Down in 1995. That creative freedom he felt must have sparked something because he was soon linked to a dozen or so other side projects (check out the banner at the top of www.philanselmo.com, if you don’t believe me!). While most have amounted to nothing more than a few sessions, the most successful have been Down and his latest project, Superjoint Ritual. Taking on equal parts punk, hardcore and sludge-metal, SJR is about as raw-sounding a band can get this side of a demo recording. Tracks are laid down at Phil’s home studio in a Louisiana barn on his property with help from Joe Fazzio, Crowbar’s Kevin Bond, Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower, and music progeny Hank Williams III.
A LETHAL DOSE OF AMERICAN HATRED follows closely behind last year’s debut from the band, USE ONCE AND DESTROY. This album didn’t immediately grab me as USE ONCE AND DESTRY did. On that album, the sound was raw and spontaneous, almost as if a mike was set up to capture a jam session. The songs on the new album seem more thought out and are definitely cleaner (but not that clean) sounding. This is a band made up of guys who subsist on a steady diet of booze, weed and cigarettes so don’t expect slick production and finely crafted opuses. What you will get is bottom-end heavy music with nods to Black Flag, Cro-Mags and Black Sabbath.
“Sickness”, “The Destruction of a Person”, “Never to Sit or Stand Again” and “Stealing a Page or Two from Armed & Radical Pagans” are my personal favorites from the album. They are the heaviest tracks with a fat bottom end and if you threw on a solo from Dimebag, they could easily be lost Pantera tracks. “Permanently” has a cool trippy intro that leads into a fast, tear-your-face-off riff for the next 2 minutes. “Personal Insult” is absolute crap that won’t appeal to you unless you’re a Rebel flag-waving redneck with a gun rack in the back window of your piece of shit pickup truck. “Death Threat” is a cool, thrashy song. The rest of the tracks really didn’t stick with me, though. I was a bit disappointed with this album, even after 3 or 4 listenings. USE ONCE AND DESTROY really got under my skin but the band’s sophomore CD just doesn’t quite measure up.
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