heavy metal

Superjoint Ritual Bio

Superjoint Ritual
Band members
Phil Anselmo - vocals
Jimmy Bower - guitars
Kevin Bond - guitars
III - bass
Joe Fazzio - drums


About an hour north of New Orleans, where the Louisiana bayou seems to run aground at the banks of hell, Phil Anselmo's house rises from the ground like a faithful tribute to everything extreme. From the horror movie posters that adorn his walls, to the array of books, CDs, LPs and cassettes scattered about the house, you know this isn't the house of your average rock star. Instead, it's the house of a rock star obsessed by the art that inspires him. "There's a whole different feeling that's coming from down here, and it's not like the rest of the fucking world," says Anselmo. And he's not kidding.

Only a stone's throw away, in a barn-turned recording studio/rehearsal room, Anselmo, guitarists Jimmy Bower and Kevin Bond, the bassist known as III, and drummer Joe Fazzio have just finished rehearsing. Apart, they are known from their work in more widely known bands like Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Hank Williams III, Eyehategod and Down. Together, they are known as Superjoint Ritual, and their music is the manifestation of more than a decade of work sure to turn their previous works on end. Extreme is more than a word, it's a commandment, and they live it to the hilt on their debut release Use Once And Destroy.

Influences? Try Black Flag, Righteous Pigs, Celtic Frost and Voivod, to name just a few, and, according to Bower, "getting fucking loaded, and loud, in-your-face, making you want to bang your head constantly kind of music." There's a bit of it all on the 16-track depth charge disguised as their debut, an album aimed at reshaping the way we examine heavy metal. "Superjoint is that band with the perfect 15-year-old mentality of having everything loud, everything on 10, getting loaded, and letting whatever happens, happen," the guitarist continues. "We just go with it and have a good time."

Call it what you will, but the music slams from disgruntled and disturbing, to diabolic and deadly, careening with a force that harnesses the power of punk, the energy of hardcore, and the unstoppable force of heavy metal the way it was meant to be played. "We're a band that needs to happen in today's music ­ Our influences aren't Korn and Limp Bizkit, and this music is a reflection of that," reasons Bower ­ But there's little room for reason. "You're dealing with a bunch of fucking different emotions coming out of me, and I've got to get them out," adds Anselmo of the urgency of Superjoint Ritual. "The lyrical content is pretty fucking extreme on this record, and I think the music really calls for that ­ It wouldn't make sense without really tripped-out, out-there outlooks."

With the members of Superjoint Ritual representing more than a dozen bands outside the confines of their thrash-metal haven, where do they draw inspiration for the ominous barrage of "Everyone Hates Everyone," the pounding reverberations of "The Alcoholik," the colossal crunch of "Ozena," or the brute force of the devastating, album-closing title track? "It's the different group of people you're in the room with," nods Anselmo, with Bower in quick agreement. "There's a different chemistry with the members of every band ­ When we get together as Superjoint, it sounds like a really violent sounding car wreck, and everything that goes with that."

That sound is what attracted bassist III, the grandson of country music legend Hank Williams. "Just hearing Phil's voice and the power of the band, is awesome," says the country-bred metalhead. "Growing up and listening to metal, I thought I'd be a drummer ­ I never thought I'd write songs of my own, sing, and do all of that in my own band. Now, to be able to just sit back and play, in a band this heavy, is just fucking cool." Guitarist Kevin Bond agrees. Bond joined the band in its formulative stages as a bassist, and now handles the task of playing Anselmo's guitar parts live, allowing the frontman to fully unleash the stage presence we've come to expect in Pantera. "I never really wanted to stay playing the bass, but to be in this band, fuck it, I'd do anything," he laughs. "When it finally came down to taking the band seriously, it turns out I'll get to play guitar like I wanted to, so it's perfect."

Perfect mayhem, and Anselmo can't wait to be at the helm. "It all goes back to not having the talent to do both," says the frontman of handling double guitar and vocal duties live. "Even if I had the talent, it would be too restricting, and I'd much rather just have the microphone and be able to go off?"

Recorded in Louisiana with Dave Fortman at Balance Studios, Use Once And Destroy is a two-year-old recording of tracks charting Superjoint's decade-plus existence as a band. They started in a basement, and while the sound has been refined, they haven't strayed far from it, as nothing can prepare listeners for the live onslaught, which was brought to an apex by the addition of Hank III. "We couldn't have found a more mellow guy offstage, but onstage he can whip his head as hard as I can, and I like that," says Fazzio, who has drummed for Hank III's country/metal outfit for the past two years, and brought the final piece into the Superjoint fold. "We were looking for a lot of energy, and he brought that to us." Bond laughs, as if it's overstating the obvious, "It's just going to be fucking brutal!"

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