Posts Tagged ‘Trio’

cocCorrosion Of Conformity have had a lot of different line-ups over the years and a few very distinct career phases. Some of the most notable and best of which are the short-lived Blind era of the very early ’90s, where Pepper Keenan and Karl Angel joined the band and wrote a very dark, yet strangely melodic mixture of Sludge Metal and Groove Metal. Then Karl left, Pepper took over somewhat and they released three brilliant mixtures of Stoner, Southern Rock and good old fashion Metal with a bunch of diverse records that had acoustic sections, interludes, ballads and speedy-ragers all mashed into one record. Their final album in that line-up (well, with a new drummer actually, but close enough…) was very Doom Metal focused. Then Pepper left, and the Trio line-up from before even the Blind era reunited but instead of making Hardcore or Crossover Thrash like they did in the ’80s; they released two Doom albums with raw punky influences.

The celebrated and arguably most popular line up (the Pepper-in-charge on from the mid 90s-early ’00s) reunited recently and toured the globe with incredible reunion shows and now the time has finally come for them to put out some new music together. Its probably one of my most anticipated albums in a very long time. What on earth could it possibly sound like?
Well, the first track is a slow instrumental Sludge intro, bringing immediately to mind the Blind era. Next comes the third single, ‘The Luddite’ which is almost indistinguishable from the style on their Doom-focused In The Arms Of God album from 2005, which is interesting to hear with Reed Mullin on drums. It totally works. Speaking of that album, the creepy-ass title track here might remind you of a certain dark semi-acoustic track from there too.

Like their seminal Deliverance album, there are a few instrumental interludes and mood pieces sprinkled throughout. The first two singles, ‘Wolf Named Crow’ and ‘Cast The First Stone’ hark back to the Wiseblood sound, recalling hits like ‘Long Whip/Big America’ or ‘King Of The Rotten’ in a certain specific way that the instruments interact with each other and with the production style (by John Custer, who did Wiseblood too!) leaving the space at the end of sections and sounding very organic and Jammed-out-in-a-rehearsal-room, if you know what I mean. ‘Little Man’ has a very characterful and southern-fried sound, reminiscent of the under-rated 2000 album, America’s Volume Dealer, only without the over-polished production.

So far, so great. Towards the end, there are a also few slower, sludgy, dragged-out pieces that hearken back to both ‘Pearls Before Swine’ and ‘Bottom Feeder.’ It just wouldn’t be a C.O.C album without mixing in something slow and dirty sounding towards the end, would it now?

The overall feeling is a mixture of all the Pepper-era albums, with a warm and very earthy production. It doesn’t stand out as an immediate drop-everything, earth-shattering revelation, but it is a very welcome return (although they were never really that gone recently, and I’d still love if they threw ‘Demark Vessey’ or ‘Tarquinious Superbus’ into the setlist nowadays too!) that gets better with repeat listens. If you walk in expecting to be blown away like the first time you heard Deliverance you might be disappointed, but if you go in with realistic expectations you’ll find a very solid and rewarding album. My favourite track on the album is ‘Forgive Me’ which has a sort of Thin Lizzy vibe to its hook, but a very metallic breakdown, and Pepper’s vocals are very exaggerated and full of character like they were on ‘Volume Dealer.

To top it all off, there’s a cover of Queen’s very heavy and Sabbathy debut album deep-cut, ‘Son And Daughter’ and it really, really suits C.O.C’s sound. I remember Iron Monkey covering it in the past and it is a very suitable track for this end of the Rock & Metal spectrum. I know people imagining ‘Radio Gaga’ or ‘I Want To Break Free’ might raise an eyebrow, but Queen’s debut was a lot heavier than you remember. For Stoner, Doom or Sludge bands it is a natural fit.

In summary; without disrespecting the fine work of the trio line-up, its nice to have the four guys from Deliverance through to ‘Volume Dealer back playing together again with their unique chemistry. The album is pretty diverse, with a nice mix of fast and slow, clean and dirty, stoner and doom, sludge and hard rock, atmospheric and immediate. The production job is perfect and there’s a fairly decent proportion of the tracks would make it into any fan’s future dream setlists or best-of playlists. If you don’t immediately do a spit-take and have heart-shaped eyeballs the very first time you hear it though, don’t worry, it grows on you.

 

Corrosion Of Conformity - IX

Corrosion Of Conformity – IX

With long-time frontman Pepper Keenan busy in the supergroup Down for so much time, the older trio line-up of Corrosion Of Conformity decided to reunite rather than simply wait for Pepper to be free and available. This started off with a nostalgia tour, playing material from their early 80s albums and EPs like Animosity and Technocracy. In 2012, they released a self-titled brand new studio album.

To the surprise of many, the music on this album was not in the original Hardcore Punk/Crossover Thrash style, but rather something new. It was a mixture of the slow, Doomy, Sabbathy leanings of the band’s then most recent album (2005’s In The Arms Of God) with a raw, powerful edge of Hardcore spirit, and occasional bursts of speed. This style was continued on their brilliant 2012 EP Meglodon, which was given away for free online.

In 2014; a full 30 years after their debut record Eye For An Eye, it came time to release more material, and the band, still in modernized trio mode released IX, their ninth-full length studio album.

Stylistically, IX carries on very much in the same vein as Meglodon and the self-titled album. There is a rawer, messier, noiser sound, attitude and performance style than on any of the Pepper-era albums, but also a slower, doomier, more stoner-rock influenced sound than on any of the early albums. The band mix the two styles seamlessly here. Its not even on a song by song basis, but within the songs themselves. Like the last two albums, there’s also a more somber interlude piece, this time actually called “Interlude.”

Highlights include the speedy “Denmark Vesey” and “The Nectar” as well “The Hanged Man” and indeed the absolutely phenomenal and catchy “Tarquinius Superbus” (about the Emperor of the same name, and not some sort of excellent tour bus).

The riffs are big, bendy and exciting. The mix of tempos keeps things exciting. The raw dirty production is incredibly charming, and there’s some genuinely great songs on here that should stay in the live setlist even when Pepper returns. Can you imagine how fun that riff from “On Your Way” would be live in concert?

The album is brief, to the point and filler free. There isn’t too much experimentation. This constantly shape-shifting band found yet another perfect new identity on their self-titled album, and this album is an even more focused realization of everything good about it. Don’t overlook it because its not in the 80s style or because its not got Pepper on it, this is one bad-ass C.O.C album that is absolutely worth your time!