Album Review : Corrosion of Conformity – IX

I didn’t start listening to Corrosion of Conformity till 1994. It was the next phase in their sound. Before the album Deliverance they were a hardcore punk band. They had street cred and lots of hardcore punk fans. But Deliverance saw the band head in more of a dirge-filled, Sabbath-oozing direction. Pepper Keenan as lead vocalist the band embarked on a journey to take over alternative music one song at a time. Wiseblood was just as good as Deliverance, if not better, and they continued to mix and match doom and gloom metal with a punk attitude until 2001s America’s Volume Dealer. That album bordered on southern rock and made me want to forget the name Corrosion of Conformity. They attempted to redeem themselves with In The Arms of God before taking a hiatus till 2010. Their self-titled was a return to their hardcore days with the original trio finding that Animosity-era magic. With IX they continue the streak and add in some of that doom and gloom magic along with some classic thrash. This is Corrosion of Conformity in classic form. Look out, you little whippersnappers.

“Brand New Sleep” is a sludge-filled dirge, with a penchant for Sleep-filled doom and a dusting of 70s dizziness in those phaser pedals. It’s a classic, bluesy doom song that opens the album on the right note. “Elphyn” brings Sabbath into the fold opening with the distant sound of thunder before blasting into a “Children of the Grave” hustle in the rhythm. Woody Weatherman’s guitar tone is a calling card, with it’s overpowered Gibson howl and this song howls all over the place. “Denmark Vesey” is a straight-up thrash song, sounding like a cross between classic Venom and Overkill. As much as I love their albums with Pepper Keenan at the helm, they just weren’t hitting these thrash and speed metal tunes with Keenan. A song like “The Nectar”, with it’s breakneck rhythm and classic speed metal vocals, just wasn’t an option on an album like Deliverance or Wiseblood. A little over a minute into this song we shift down to first gear and trudge along like some post-apolcalyptic war machine destroying everything in its path. This is southern metal sludge, something Mastodon and Kylesa used to do really well. Corrosion of Conformity are showing these younger bands up on IX.  Neither one of those bands have recorded a song like “On Your Way” in years. A meaty riff that could feed a village and metal drums that sound like a beast running through the wilds. “Tarquinius Superbus” sounds like a Helloween and Bad Brains mash-up. It’s pure adrenaline and has a chorus that sticks in your head all day. “Who You Need To Blame” has a groove that brings to mind some of those classic earworm riffs from Deliverance. For the all-around metal fan or for someone like me who grew up in the 80s listening to bands on Metal Blade Records and lots of thrash this album is a smorgasbord of metal goodness.

If you lost interest in CoC after America’s Volume Dealer like I did, you should revisit them. IX is a new metal classic. Hardcore, thrash, speed, and sludge-y doom are awaiting to destroy your hearing and give your whiplash.

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