The Ritual Continues

Nov. 4, 2016


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The Pitch: After being defunct for almost a decade, the dirty amalgamation of southern groove metal with hardcore punk returns.  Featuring Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Scour), Jimmy Bower (Down, Eyehategod), Kevin Bond (Christ Inversion), José “Blue” Gonzalez (Warbeast) and Stephen Taylor (Woven Hand, 16 Horse Power).

What I Like: Rarely are things both so ugly and interesting at the same time.  It's the sonic equivalent of being hit repeatedly by a caveman's club, but this particular caveman has some combat training.  Certain riffs had me scratching my head, as it can be hard to predict where they are going.  Phil's voice is as smoke-addled and alcohol-stained as ever, and there are plenty of hooks to go around.  I am especially fond of the slightly more melodic "Ruin You," which sounds like a rough Queens of the Stone Age cut from the Rated R era.

What I Don't Like: The aforementioned lack of predictibility can swing in both directions.  There are plenty of times where the train seems to derail and the dissonance becomes more grating than anything else.  And despite enjoying "Clickbait" in terms of energy, some of the lyrics make me wonder if Phil is externalizing his recent negative publicity.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it.  Finally, given the heavy influence of punk music on this record, the songs should stay short.  Dragging them out for over 5 minutes diminishes their effect.

The Verdict: I enjoyed Caught Up In The Gears Of Application more than I initially thought I would.  I found myself likening it to Damaged-era Black Flag meets Kyuss.  Despite the Hulk-smash qualities, the instrumentation is engaging and even challenging at times.  Unfortunately, it's also an inconsistent album that would benefit from trimming the fat.  Major props to all of these musicians for managing to put this out even while working on so many other projects.

Flight's Fav's: "Ruin You," "Sociopathic Herd Delusion," "Clickbait."