SUPERJOINT, formerly known as SUPERJOINT RITUAL, reunited to perform at the 2014 Housecore Horror Film Festival a decade after it had disbanded. Original members Philip H. Anselmo and guitarists Jimmy Bower (DOWN, EYEHATEGOD) and Kevin Bond (CHRIST INVERSION, ARTIMUS PYLEDRIVER) joined up with the new rhythm section of drummer José "Blue" Gonzalez (WARBEAST, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS) and bassist Stephen Taylor (PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, WOVEN HAND, 16 HORSE POWER) and continued marching forward with a couple of tours prior to writing its long-anticipated third album, "Caught Up in the Gears of Application", a much more dirty and coarse affair compared to both 2002's "Use Once and Destroy" and 2003's "A Lethal Dose of American Hatred".
The band's iconic vocalist has been no stranger to controversy over the years, but Anselmo's well-documented "white power" statement and "Sieg Heil" gesture from the stage early this year at the Dimebash memorial and fundraiser sparked an ongoing media frenzy. He has since apologized for his actions, and he also happened to be working on multiple albums for his various projects including SUPERJOINT.
"Caught Up in the Gears of Application" is about modern technology's impact upon the way we live, and for Anselmo that involves his music, obviously. "But when looking at the broader spectrum, computer-land has given everyday people a platform in which to bellow like carnival barkers about anything and everything, humdrum or political, whether qualified or not, some with good intentions, some with disingenuous intentions, and some with ideas that lay somewhere in the middle, creating a mishmash of results,” Anselmo stated via a press release.
One can only speculate to what extent this sentiment reflects the aftermath of what happened at Dimebash, but it's certainly germane and will presumably manifest itself during live performances considering that a song is entitled "Clickbait". What's more, the track "Burning the Blanket" includes the lyrics "SJW are cowards," words hurled off his tongue with a significantly more gruff voice than he's used in the past. In case anyone was wondering, it doesn't seem like Anselmo is going to refrain from being confrontational any time soon.
However, the lyrical and conceptual content isn't isolated to those issues exclusively, it seems. On "Circling the Drain", which is driven by an absolutely addictive sludge riff, Anselmo shrieks, "We used to be drug addicts. Now we just take our medicine like men." Wild living and hard drug use can lead to an early death, which Anselmo has only nearly escaped on a couple of occasions. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale. SUPERJOINT has become more filthy, musically anyway. "Caught Up in the Gears of Application" is ugly dirge and sludge with an even more prominent hardcore aesthetic than before.
"Today and Tomorrow" kick starts the album with squealing guitars, pummeling rhythmic beats and an authoritative spoken word part that preludes a fist-pumping punk rock riff. Elsewhere, a memorable, repetitive riff propels the triumphant stomp of "Asshole" that also skips into a hardcore charge before a menacing lurch takes over. And the equally appealing old school punk riff stays with you long after you've listened to "Ruin You".
The Kid was knocked down, but yet again, he proves that he's not down for the count. Whatever one may think of Phil Anselmo as a person, his tenacity seems undeniable, and that spirit shines through "Caught Up in the Gears of Application" from beginning to end.