taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY — Corrosion of Conformity

Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman, Reed Mullin. It’s been 27 years since the album credits on a Corrosion of Conformity record were so simple. The Raleigh thrash meal outfit’s turnstile lineup has made a handful of classics over the years, all depending on who you ask. Blind gave the aggro-blues set a nice diversion before they caught on to Clutch, while Deliverance allowed the band the chance to graduate from late-night “Headbanger’s Ball” exile into daytime MTV rotation. Yet, it’s 1985’s Animosity, with its Bad Brains-meets-Black Sabbath swagger, which has always proven to be the band’s touchstone release. On their long, long, long awaited reunion album, out on Eurogrind label Candlelight Records, CoC revisit that Animosity’s rowdy, maleficent crunch while addressing practically every expectation that could conceivably come with it. One sticking point with the CoC of the mid-‘90s to 2000 was Pepper Keenan’s oftentimes soulful vocals, while a vital ingredient in their commercial success, undercut the spirit of the band in the minds of the earliest fans. Meanwhile, Weatherman was farming goats outside of Wake County while CoC was reinventing themselves yet again, but it’s his return that has the most direct impact on the band. His introductory grunt on opener “Psychic Vampires” establishes the album’s bellicose tone, never mind the title itself suggest this is going to be stoner-to-the-core-metal. The extreme nature of their new label home hasn’t quite seeped into the mix so much as a couple of decades of good Southern metal has entrenched itself, most notably heard on “El Lamento De Las Cabras,” though for all intents and purposes, CoC’s instrumentals are often regarding under separate criteria. Nevertheless, there’s the aptly titled “The Doom” the weaves the nervous highs and torpid lows of a meth ride into five exenterating minutes. It’s almost ironic that this album come at a time when heavy music is becoming too arty and precious for its own good; the classic trio is quite familiar with this landscape and ultimately, this is exactly what one would want out of a focused CoC comeback.


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