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A definite improvement - 74%

JamesIII, March 5th, 2010

Much of the metal community did not welcome Phil Anselmo's Superjoint Ritual with open arms after hearing "Use Once & Destroy." While I didn't particularly hate the album, it wasn't exactly very good as it managed to be everything that Phil's other two major projects, Down and Pantera, were not. "Use Once & Destroy" was not very memorable nor did it seem to serve much of a purpose other than display a new element to Phil Anselmo. In the end, it really sounded like a one time effort from a short lived side project.

Well, it wasn't one time effort from a short lived side project, because "A Lethal Dose of American Hatred" was their second effort. Released the very next year from the debut, I don't many metalheads who were anxiously wondering what SJR had in store for audiences. I broke down and bought the album, despite my reservations about doing so, all of which stemmed from my disappointment over "Use Once & Destroy." Well, all things considered, this is a superior album in every way imaginable.

This still isn't mind-blowingly incredible, nor is it close. Mostly, its a thrash variant of sludge metal, as ironic of a concept that may seem. The guitar tone is still very dirty, Phil still screams constantly (except he's also thrown in some lower tone spoken word sections that he's known for.) Hank Williams III, the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams is also present for bass duties. Granted, you can't hear him all too often but its interesting to note that the bloodline of country music stardom is in the same ranks as musicians from Pantera and Eyehategod.

The music here is a basic toss-up of styles, much like its predecessor. You get a sampling of hardcore, doom metal, a light touch of thrash, and some black metal tendencies (these are not overt, but they're there.) "Destruction of a Person" seems like a good example of all of these at work, with the slower passages and shrieks that Anselmo engages in. Unfortunately, that song right there is also a good example of the problems that plague some of these songs. Either they drag on for far too long or they simply repeat themselves over and over. A band like Superjoint Ritual isn't designed for that kind of songwriting, they are best suited for faster, straight for the jugular attacks of songs like "Waiting for the Turning Point" or "The Sickness."

Despite its flaws, "A Lethal Dose..." is definitely an improvement over its predecessor. The songs seem more focused, delivering short but punching numbers whereas on "Use Once & Destroy" these songs were all too forgettable. Even the longer, slower numbers warrant repeated listens on occasion, but there isn't anything here that is exceptionally good nor many tracks that stand-out as highlights. I can definitely say that SJR's collapse was probably a good thing (which was due to internal friction between members) since it allowed Phil to work on Down, whose recorded output tops this anyday.

When its all said and done, "A Lethal Dose of American Hatred" is something I can see both Superjoint Ritual fans and fans of the sludge genre getting into. If you liked the first album, you'll probably like this one too since not much has changed except the superior songwriting and sound quality. If you were none too sure about the first one, I can't really see this one changing your mind about the band in the long run. Instead, I'd suggest looking elsewhere in Phil Anselmo's recordings for your fix, perhaps Down's material, which has always been superior to this band in terms of memorable music and raw enjoyment of the listener, which is what any kind of music should shoot for.

Great Album - 98%

Jack_Torrence, October 3rd, 2008

I am probably one of the few users on this webstite that actually likes this album. Let me be the first to say that this album kicks ass. However, I will admit that this is one of those albums that it takes a few listens to get a good feel for, but once you get past that, it's amazing!

First of all, the guitar riffs are as tasty and groovy as fuck. Phil's guitar abilities don't disapoint. Also, if there were ever any doubts that Phil is one of the greatest metal vocalists ever, this confirms it. His flexible voice swings back and forth from screaming, singing, coarse singing, and a hardcore punk shout. He even takes a black metal style approach during a part of the song "Never to Sit or Stand Again" to fit a black metal esque riff.

The music combines elements of classic hardcore, groove metal, thrash, and even a little bit of black metal, as mentioned above, to make a completely crushing album.

Most listeners want to compare SJR to Pantera or Down, which is why they seem to be ill perceived. It's not because SJR is inferior to either, but because SJR is much rawer. Pantera/Down listeners expect a cleaner production and sound. When they get an album with a hardcore, and almost live vibe (with count ins on almost every song to add to the effect), they label it as shit. On the other hand, fans of more underground and raw music dislike the band because of the publicity the band got (due to Phil Anselmo's association).

This album is pure energy. It's chaotic, heavy, and great. The only reason I gave it a 98 instead of 100 is because of a few repetitive riffs that get very annoying. First, the nearly two minute intro to "Symbol of Nevermore" is enough to drill out your eyes, which is too bad, because there is a kick-ass song afterword. The continual high pitched choards and intentional off-timing guitars make it impossible to listen to. Second and last is the ending of the last track "Absorbed." The outro is a cool and extremely distorted guitar riff. But cool turns into annoying after the riff repeats for a few minutes.

Give this album a chance, it is a great piece of work. You will be sure to bang your head to it after a few listens.

A Step Up for SJR. - 77%

woeoftyrants, May 7th, 2007

After the debut of SJR with Use Once and Destroy, most people did not respond positively; the vast majority of people despised the band's low-down and dirty blend of hardcore punk, sludge metal, and thrash. Ironically, the band didn't seem to care and continued to do whatever they wanted. The band's second album sees a few minor changes in the band's sound while maintaining the drug-fueled, merciless, tough-guy mentality that made them so infamous.

If one were to compare and contrast the two albums by this band, this one is undoubtedly more complex and forgoes most of the punk influence seen on Use Once and Destroy. Simply put, it's more metal. There are a few exceptions, such as the blitzkrieg of "Waiting for the Turning Point" and "Death Threat." A Lethal Dose of American Hatred seems more driven by anger and rage than the booze-and-drugs mentality of the debut. The breakdowns and sludge moments are only more massive and menacing, and the faster moments now resonate of old thrash bands rather than punk. What is seen on this album is not so much an evolution as a distillation; everything here is purely concentrated and clean-cut, but the band have also become slightly looser in their delivery. (Which is a good thing in this scenario.) There is more unbridled fury here, no bullshit or the stretching out of ideas.

Another aspect that has changed in the band's sound is the composition process. The approaches taken aren't so far from the debut, but this time around are more perverse and twisted. Many of the songs are still short bursts of violence, but what is contained therein is the point of focus; all of the guitar riffs have taken on a venomous, dark edge that exceeds the attitude of the first album, and the drum parts now switch pace more often in the context of the music. This makes for both a more dynamic and digestible listening session. Also, the band throw in some curve balls with slug-paced numbers like "The Destruction of a Person" and "The Knife Rises," while simultaneously pushing into heavier territory with "The Horror" and "Death Threat." Some natural but weird progressions are seen on "Stealing a Page or Two From Armed & Radical Pagans" and the anthem-like "Personal Insult." Overall, it's clear to see that things progressed, and for the better. This is where the real SJR attitude comes to life: the kind that will batter you to a pulp, leaving you for dead, and spitting in your face.

Phil's voice may not be as explicitly harsh as the debut, as he uses more of a mild rambling shout here. This suits the faster, more aggressive nature of the music, though; the relentless delivery on songs like "Sickness" and "Dress Like a Target" never falters, and the lyrics have gotten increasingly erratic, paranoid, and delusional since the debut. "The Destruction of a Person" graphically details Phil's heroin addiction, and "Permenantly" is a bitter realization towards human behavior. Other ones seem more society-based without being political, but maintain the dangerous edge that Phil has always possessed with his lyrics.

Following suit with the music, the production has also changed. This album takes a more gritty, raw sound and emphasizes the battering delivery behind the performances. Joe's drums sound more punchy and earthy, while being as precise as the drum production of the first album. The guitar tone holds more distortion and treble to it, and the dirty low end is rounded out with Hank's overdriven bass tone. In the context of the music it works perfectly, though the ones who prefer the cleaner sound of the first album will be turned off by the stripped-down aesthetics.

With several noticable improvements in the overall sound and approach to writing songs, A Lethal Dose of American Hatred lives up to its name. Like the first album, however, it wears out its welcome rather quickly with a bit too much repetition and lack of variety.

Favorite tracks: "Waiting for the Turning Point", "The Destruction of a Person", "The Knife Rises."

Wow, that sucked. - 40%

lord_ghengis, March 12th, 2007

Pantera was good, Down is good, surely Phil Anselmo's other band, which has repeatedly taken priority over both those bands, should be just as good. Shouldn't it?

Unfortunately, it turns out that Superjoint Ritual is average, being generous, and while this album has good moments, it simply doesn't possess anywhere near the quality of either of the bands I mentioned earlier. The album is flawed by slower sections which kill off the energy which most of the songs build up, and repetition of the faster catchier sections.

I'm not one of these metal guys who demand that songs should have a single goal and stick to it, nor am I against groove and sludge metal, my problem here is that Superjoint suck ass and putting these slower breaks into their songs. For instance the first two songs, they can be both described the same way as they are pretty much the same song. Both have quite catchy, very hardcore sounding verses, which basically make up the song, and after repeating itself a few times, a usless slower sludge riff is thrown in, and it simply sounds out of place. Just for good measure the verse is then repeated a couple of times again, then the song ends. Apart from being far from exciting to listen to, the energy is completely sucked out of the song because of the sludge riff, nullifying the song's only redeeming aspect.

When they do pull this off correctly, it is quite good, "Deaththreat" for instance, while the groove outro is unnecessary, it still sounds alright because it doesn't completely kill the song to add in the groove.

The songs which don't pick up so much speed and energy, still manage to sound like shit, even if they don't have any major mismatch in styles. Due to plain uninspired musicianship, and abysmal vocals and lyrics. Songs like "The Destruction of a Person" are unlistenable due to the stupid lyrics and the lack of actual music, instead we get repetition of single notes over and over again, rather than actually trying to write a groove or sludge riff. Topped off with Phil trying to over sing to make the music interesting, resulting in him barking in a half scream/half screech about nothing in particular.

Simply, there doesn't seem to be a large well of talent in the band. With consistently pathetic guitar work and drumming that, while I admit has it's moments, generally sounds random. However, that could just be because the guitarists have no musical skill, and there is no rhythm to follow.

Now, to be completely honest, it's not the worst music ever released, it's just of no importance, the elements that are good are done better by other bands, and the parts which suck are done well by other bands. This simply a below average to poor album, with no individual song or amazing moment to lift it out of it's hole. This band relies on having Phil's name on it, where bands like Down provided a quality which made it more than 'that-band-which-has-that-singer-in-it'. While it's OK at times, don't bother with this.

Alice Cooper wants his riff back. - 30%

AzzMan, May 27th, 2004

An atrocious album. Horrible. Shitty. This is what happens when someone with a possible talent (Albet overrated as fuck though) ditches an above average, catchy band, and a pretty good, groovy band. He thinks he's god and everything he touches will be godlike.

It's not. Jesus fucking Christ, it's not. Not only did one of the tracks (I forgot which) just take the riff from School's Out, but opening a song with "one two three four" once, on an album, is kind of cool. Doing so on every song is NOT. Ready for the ironic part? I can see it as an opening for the opening track of an album. The opening track on THIS album is the only one WITHOUT it.

The riffs are repetitive, the drumming is kind of random at best... and the vocals are pretty much just screaming about drug addiction and death, or whatever Phil meant. I honestly haven't even touched this album for over two weeks... but its shit like this that you never forget. It's that bad.

Droning in parts, the slowness they try to pull as "different" and "moody," comes off as "stupid" and "fucking gay." I can safely say Phil talked to the band and said, and I can probably even QUOTE, "Hey guys! What do you think we should do for the next album? I'll scream, and you guys can suck at everything and steal some riffs! The kids'll love it!"


The only album I ever returned to the store.... - 2%

Antikrist, March 16th, 2004

This is probably my least favorite metal album ever. As I said in the title, every metal album I ever bought or downloaded, even though there were some I wasn't too fond of, I never deleted or got rid of them. This one, I went through hell with just to get back to the store (I actually spent an hour rewrapping it just right so the store would think it was never used) and used the credit to get Bob Dylan CD for my mom.

This is just plain awful. It's nothing more than noise with screaming. Any Pantera fans know about "Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills"? This is like a whole album full of it. And don't think I'm saying this because it's just too brutal for me. I enjoy Deicide, Napalm Death, Carcass, Anaal Nathrakh, and many other more brutal bands. The difference between them and this is that with those bands their riffs have some musical quality. This sounds like just random power chords with Phil just screaming "AAAAHHHOOOOOAAAAAAAAHOOOAAAAAAAHHHH" at the top of his lungs. I can't believe that Phil Anselmo deserted Pantera and Down, two excellent and credible bands, for this. There is absolutely no creativity in it, and it's not some sort of psychadelic sound or even a hint of psychadelic-ness in it as many drug-driven albums are. Please avoid this album at all costs. I am very open minded to most things, I can enjoy anything from old Micheal Jackson to Disavowed, but not this. I'd choose any of the other "magnificent failure" albums over this...St. Anger, Bringer Of Blood (that's Six Feet Under for those who don't know), both 10000 times better than this crap.

Use Once And Destroy had a couple nice songs on it that made it tolerable, this has absolutely nothing.

A Drug-Induced Ego Trip - 50%

mike584, February 20th, 2004

Isn't it amazing how drug use destroys creativity unlike what some have said. This album is a fine case in point. There was a reason why Superjoint Ritual's first release, 2002's Use Once And Destroy was as good as it was. Phil Anselmo wrote many of those songs when he was either the tough strong-willed fighter of old, or the depressing herion addict of the mid nineties. That's a period of at least a decade. So either way you put it, Anselmo had ample time to make a good album, and that was a very focused record. It was a reflection of it's creator himself in that it was perhaps the most intense album he had done. It touched on the hardcore spirit with it's Black Sabbath meets Black Flag approach. And to boot, it was recorded in 2000, as Pantera were releasing what became their last album, Reinventing The Steel. Fast forward three years later. Anselmo, always seen high as a kite now, has decided to ditch his former Pantera mates without warning and focus all of energy into Superjoint. It's a shame because with the exceptions of "Waiting For The Turning Point" and the backwards guitar ladden, spine-tingling "Permanently", the songs are the most lifeless of Anselmo's entire carreer. Drummer Joe Fazzio is an excellent drummer, but it does nothing to cover the hard truth - Phil is an ego maniac. Just maybe is he laid off the ganga for just five minutes, he'd realize that he is not the king of hardcore. Minor Threat can do better than this garbage because they're actually listenable. The same goes for Black Flag. Despite what Anselmo thinks, just because you grow up during a certain scene doesn't always mean you are able to touch upon it, like this poor man believe he is doing. This is why drungs are bad after all.

So much filler - 33%

UltraBoris, December 2nd, 2003

The breakdown between 'good' and 'bad' on this album is actually very, absurdly simple. The fast stuff = good. The slow stuff = bad. Simply stated, this band knows how the fuck to thrash, and thrash decently well, especially when they're ripping off Raining Blood. It isn't awesome thrash, but it's still quite enjoyable. Simple banging riffs and catchy songs.

Then when they try to be slow... imagine Pantera at its worst - namely, Great Southern Trendkill. Remember Phil's really annoying 'scream' voice? No, not the one on Power Metal. The "with special guest, Seth Putnam from Anal Cunt" vocals. Imagine that, distorted even a bit more. It's grating and fecal and has no redeeming value. Then, throw in Phil's muttering/whispering bullshit and you get pretty much... well, honestly, you get a Pantera album. I'm not sure why people are so pissed that Pantera broke up. This is pretty much the same thing. If it were a Pantera album, all the Pantera kiddies would be drowning in their own ejaculate matter.

Anyway... the good, the bad, the ugly - it's not really worth describing in great detail, because the whole thing kinda blends together. "The Knife Rises" is just an absolutely awful song, though, as is "Destruction of a Person". If you should want to kill someone, make him listen to that song. Trustmetrustmetrustmetrustme......... then the usual mumblemumble. "Should I blame myself for having introduced them to the devil?" No, blame yourself for that execrable pile of putrid wastes you have introduced us to.

"Personal Insult" a pretty damn good song, and "Permanently" is fun as well. If they just decided to thrash, they'd do really well and be a fun band. It's just when they break down into face-squeezing trowel-on-a-chalkboard 'groove' when it really becomes unlistenable. If they took all that out, you'd actually get a decent album that's about 26 minutes long... this way, I have no idea how long it is, but it's too long.

Oh yeah, a final comment. Putting "one two three four" as the intro to one song is cool. Putting it on six songs reeks of uncreativity. Oh yeah and Alice Cooper wants his riff back. I forget which song has the 'School's Out' riff, but it's there.

...the same goddamn album... - 57%

langstondrive, October 24th, 2003

Ok, what the fuck?! This sounds identical to the first SJR release, only much worse. Gone are most of the screams that characterized the first album and are replaced with PUNK styled vocals. The rest of the band sounds exactly the same as on Use Once and Destroy. Exactly. I think half the riffs are the same too. If they are not simply stolen from Use Once and Destroy, they are ripped off of Pantera songs. (ie: 5 Minutes Alone, Hard Lines, Sunken Cheeks).

A typical hardcore album with nothing else to offer. I still can't believe Phil left Pantera for this. If I had to pick decent songs, I could salvage: Waiting for the Turning Point for it's breakdown into the slow doomy riff which is pretty cool and Personal Insult which has a fairly good beat. The drums are very good on this album, probably the best aspect. The rest of the songs basically all sound the same and offer no real appeal or variety.

Don't buy this. Get the DVD if you need to listen to SJR.