Now, I’m not one of those people who worships the ground Phil Anselmo walks on. (Hell, I skipped Down to catch Beelzefuzz at Psycho Las Vegas.) And I don’t really remember Superjoint Ritual all that well—I couldda sworn I had a copy of Use Once and Destroy somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it. I must have only used it once…
So, the fact that this is a de facto Superjoint Ritual reunion doesn’t really register with me. What piqued my interest in Caught Up… was the early press describing this record as a concept album about public shaming and the internet hive mind. And sure enough, this one has song titles like “Ruin You,” “Sociopathic Herd Delusion” and “Clickbait.” It’s a shame the promo doesn’t come with a lyric sheet!
The album gets off to a swirling start with a spoken-word intro that reminds me of Mike IX. There are a couple meaty EHG riffs on this one—the band is powered by Bower, after all—but they’re intercut with a menacing, rumbling stop-start verse and the refrain “Today’s fuck all/is tomorrow’s fuck you” before Anselmo repeats “Trust no one” about a dozen times toward the end…in case you’re wondering where his head’s at after the whole Dimefest debacle.
“Burning the Blanket” is two-and-a-half minutes of sludgy hardcore fury, the band channelling Discharge d-beat with a bit of NOLA sludge thrown in for good measure. “Ruin You” starts off with a flourish, with Anselmo repeating “It strikes again” a fistful of times above a punishing Motorhead backbeat. This might be the catchiest track on the album. The title track is another cascading crash of vitriolic hardcore with some wicked sludgy breakdowns… this pretty much punches Pantera in the face.
“Circling the Drain” is perhaps the best Bower riff he’s written in a while, literally interpreting the song title with a circling, buzzsaw neckwrecker. Gawddamn! Tracks like “Asshole,” “Mutts Bite Too” and “Rigging the Fight” only thicken the toxic mixture. Revenge is a dish best served sludgy!