A Lethal Dose of American Hatred (Sanctuary)
by Martin Popoff
Always believed in the force of Phil, and his stamp is all over Superjoint Ritual, including most of the music writing. But the premise doesn’t float my boat, this idea about fusing old-school hardcore with metal. What that usually means is a relentless monotone over that roundly polka-rounded snare and bass drum pattern that is a default to the simplest of drummers (actually there are two of these defaults: See “Personal Insult” and “Dress Like a Target” for the Ruddy rudiment lesson). Around these browned-out hardcore standbys, the band collapse into slower bits reminiscent of B-grade Pantera. And why B? Cos if it was A, it wouldn’t shred with enough punk cred.
So the whole thing is about under-achieving on the writing. Add to that a drum recording (especially the snare) that sounds like milk 18 hours before it’s officially undrinkable, and you’ve got a record that has tired as many fans as it’s emboldened. Still, it’s Phil, and the lyrics are greatly disturbing, the vocals varied and strong, and the riffs occasionally like good Pantera and good Down.