I thought I would be OK watching Superjoint Ritual's first live DVD from the safety of my own living room. But when one of the opening images in the video is of certain members in the rowdy crowd already being clobbered down by burly security dudes, I had a feeling I wouldn't be in my living room for long. At least not spiritually and mentally. Indeed, shortly after singer Philip Anselmo and his four hardcore partners in crime -- guitarists Jim Bower and Kevin Bond, drummer Joseph Fazzio and bass player Hank Williams III (!) -- took the stage, I began to smell the weed, taste the sweat and feel all sorts of demons being excised. This is the real deal. Except there was no one to mosh with.
Anselmo, looking a little like Christ and a little like Satan and seemingly enjoying his hiatus from Pantera, puts his limited on-stage vocabulary to good use, inciting the audience before and after nearly every song. His monstrous baritone, though, is less audible in a live setting than it is on Superjoint Ritual's 2002 debut, Use Once and Destroy, from which all 11 of the tracks aired here were culled. Anselmo's intensity and the band's brutality is augmented by fantastic (and probably life-threatening) camerawork in the crowd, capturing the aggression of the mostly male audience candidly and vividly. The concert, filmed in Dallas on June 28, 2002, ends with a slew of fans yelling into the camera. But their images are blurred and their voices distorted -- giving the whole scene an eerie life-after-death and descent-into-hell kind of vibe.
As far as extras go, there's not much here -- a small photo album and two low-budget promo videos (one truly gross) for "The Alcoholik" and "Fuck Your Enemy" for a total of less than five minutes. The best footage outside of the concert comes during between-song interview excerpts with individual band members. Their comments are insightful and actually lend more credibility to the music. Plus, one of the audio options is DTS Digital Surround, for a complete aural assault. Considering the concert's running time is only about 52 minutes, this DVD could have used a little extra weight. Still, considering how I felt after just an hour of being pummeled by Anselmo and Co., I'm not sure I could have taken anymore.
I gotta go shower.