Released: 2004, Sanctuary
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Superjoint Ritual put on a hell of a show. I saw them at this year’s Ozzfest and their performance was marred by Philip Anselmo utilizing the stage as a soapbox to denounce Pantera and proclaim Superjoint Ritual as the future of heavy metal. Take out the chin wagging and the band undeniably kicked serious ass. Backed by a punishing rhythm section of Hank III and Joe Fazzio with Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond on guitar, Anselmo and crew pack a mighty wallop. That energy, talent and charisma is documented on the band’s new DVD, LIVE AT CBGB 2004. While short on length (a barely forty minute set) and special features (a 14-minute interview section and two music videos), LIVE AT CBGB 2004 captures Superjoint Ritual at the top of their game as they tear down the legendary venue and leave ashes in their wake.
Bare bones is an understatement here. No booklet, a 38-minute set and minimal extras don’t exactly put LIVE AT CBGB 2004 at the top of the value scale, but it is the show after all that is the meat and potatoes and the band certainly does deliver. Recorded in Dolby 2.0 Stereo, the audio track could be better but this is sloppy music and doesn’t exactly warrant a spread-out 5.1 mix. CBGB is a small club and one can almost feel the claustrophobia set in when witnessing the place packed wall to wall with hot, dirty people. The fans are encouraged to get on stage and thrash about with plenty of stage-diving and mosh pit activity. Anselmo seems to waver between points of absolute clarity to that hazed-out euphoria he is so famous for. It appears that his stage banter has been edited to make the show flow better for the home viewer (wise decision) but there are still plenty of calls to “Hail Satan” and his immortal wish that “everybody eat pussy ‘til the day they die.” The crowd seems to have had their Wheaties before the show as spin kicks and haymakers are delivered in the mosh pits, while headbanging and stage diving surely caused many a bruise and scrape at the end of the night. Of the ten songs, five are taken from 2002’s brilliant USE ONCE AND DESTROY and five from the less-than-stellar follow-up, 2003’s A LETHAL DOSE OF AMERICAN HATRED. Despite having only two albums to their name, the band unleashes brutal versions of “Antifaith,” “Personal Insult,” “The Destruction of A Person” and “Waiting For The Turning Point” to show that, on this night anyway, they are all killer and no filler. Superjoint Ritual might be ugly, sloppy, hardcore-infused metal but damn they do it well!
The no-frills bonus features include music videos for the tracks “Waiting For The Turning Point” and “Dress Like A Target,” which features some seizure-inducing visuals and seems very avant-garde for Superjoint Ritual but is worth checking out. The interview portion runs about 15 minutes and covers the entire band but focuses mainly on Anselmo who sits at the back of the band’s bus smoking cigarettes, pontificating on life and watching boxing. If Anselmo isn’t high here, I’ll eat my hat! His paranoia, mildly slurred speech and half-shut eyes just are not the traits of a clean and sober individual. Kevin Bond and Jimmy Fazzio are equally deserving of being named poster boys for what too much weed can do to a person as they seem just completely out of it. In fact, Joe Fazzio seems to be the only person in the band who seems aware of what is going on around him!
LIVE AT CBGB 2004 is an excellent live representation of Superjoint Ritual. Short but sweet, this DVD takes the metalhead couch potato and makes him or her feel like they are right in the thick of things, drenched in sweat and being hammered from all sides by flying elbows, fists and feet.