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Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

Corrosion of Conformity
No Cross No Crown
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 February 2018, 7:50 AM

Before I praise this album and its glory, I want to talk about interludes. Specifically, I want to talk about how worthless they are and how much I hate them.  If I had a magical wish granting Heavy Metal genie, I would wish interludes away down to the depths of whatever unfathomable hell they came from.  With rare exceptions, they do nothing at all other than waste my time and keep one less full length song from being on an album.   This album is so good I wish it did have one more song, if only so I can listen to it a little longer.  What takes the place of this unheard, unseen magical song?  Three interludes. Three goddamn interludes that have no value whatsoever.  The icing on the cake?  This album also as an intro.  An intro and THREE interludes?   How about an intro and no interludes?  Or no intro and no interludes?  Any combination I could come up with wouldn’t have any interludes. By the way, I’m sick of interludes.  Ok, I’ve said enough about them.  DEATH TO INTERLUDES! I’m really done now.

*sigh.  That felt good. Still, even after taking way the intro and three interludes, there are still great tracks on this rocking album, one that just oozes with atmosphere and personality. Although they existed a long time before he joined them, and made a couple of great records, I always felt Pepper was that missing link they needed to really pull their sound together.  Despite not being an original member, he is definitely the heart and soul of the band.  After 2005’s “In The Arms of God”, he voluntarily left the band to explore DOWN a little bit more.  While DOWN was busy making boring music, the other members of COC (no snickering, please) went on to record three excellent releases, consisting of two full lengths and an EP.   Pepper was always set to return and now that he once again lends his hand to COC (you can snicker now), was the wait worth it? You bet your southern fried heavy metal ass it is.

The Luddite,” is a stunning opener, or rather it would have been if not for the bland intro of “Novus Deus.”   The riffs kick in almost immediately, a nice meaty crunch that has a dirty sludge feel to it. Backing up the well-toned riffs is the insane drumming of Reed Mullin, who surely by now as cemented himself among the greatest metal drummers.  This is his first COC album with Keenan since 2000’s “Americas Volume Dealer,” and it must had re-energized him.  Throughout the entire album, there isn’t one part of his kit that isn’t beaten to a broken mess.  What did he do during the making of this album?  Go into a booth and just drum solo whatever he could come up with and then paste it behind the rest of the album?  That sounds bad, I know, but he somehow makes it work.  He is miles ahead of the band at times but his sound, his beat, compliments the band even while he leads them into heavy metal bliss.

Equally as empowering is Keenan’s vocal assault, which is a southern drawl mixed with guile, grit, determination, and just straight up Metal.“Cast The First Stone,” has some groovy riffs that sound like a faster CROWBAR.  I doubt there will be an album released all year that has as many badass riffs at this album, so kudos to Keenan and Weatherman for making their fingers bleed, because no doubt that is how much passion they play with. “Old Disaster,” is one of the albums highlights because it is full of guitar harmonies that work for the song rather than become the song, bringing the entire band to a great finish.  Almost as soon as it ends, the band keeps the train rolling with “E.LM”., a track with an awesome chorus and more of those lovely harmonies.

Remember my above rant about three interludes?  Change that to four.  The disappointing title track may be longer than a regular interlude, but it’s nothing more than a boring, bland stop gap to the last track, “A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void).” This track is a very sludgy dirge with some somber harmonies and solos, creating a dirty mix of desperation and yet hope.  Another album highlight. Despite a bunch of you-know whats- , one message rings clear:  Pepper Keenan is back with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and all is right in this metal world. Also, their website is  Say that out loud.  Sorry, had to do that. *Snicker.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. The Luddite
2. Cast The First Stone
3. No Cross
4. Wolf Named Crow
5. Little Man
6. Matre’s Diem
7. Forgive Me
8. Nothing Left To Say
9. Sacred Isolation
10. Old Disaster
11. E.L.M.
12. No Cross No Crown
13. A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void)
Pepper Keenan – Guitars, Vocals
Mike Dean – Bass, Vocals
Reed Mullin – Drums, Vocals
Woody Weatherman – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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