When Pantera front man Phil Anselmo blasted Metallica for making safe music, he wasn't just talking shit. Unexcited at the prospect of sullying his band's legacy with an overly polished piece of mega-metal, he pulled the plug on his multiplatinum act, choosing instead to focus on his least commercial major project, Superjoint Ritual.
Skimmed from a decade of Anselmo's basement tapes, last year's Use Once and Destroy was both Superjoint's debut and a best-of. The disc had plenty of brilliant moments, but didn't exactly work as an album. Arriving a year later, A Lethal Dose of American Hatred spent less time in the blast furnace, but emerges harder and sharper. Entirely removed from the metal-core movement that has smelted hard-core and metal into an inseparable alloy, Superjoint's old-school crossover lurches between the two. The band injects Sabbath-style stoner boogie into tracks like "Sickness." Sanguinary obsessions -- addiction, murder, religion, guilt and self-destruction -- weigh on Anselmo's mind, and he articulately vents them in a tissue-tearing baritone. Agile and vicious, this street-lethal crew's style is no longer obsolete.