Since the original/core members of Corrosion of Conformity decided to carry on sans Pepper Keenan they’ve been on a tear. 2012 saw their “comeback” self-titled album. Then came the Eye for an Eye reissue and Megalodon EP. Now just in time for Summer, Reed Mullin, Woody Weatherman and Mike Dean deliver unto us a new full-length in IX.
IX sounds a little closer to “classic” CoC, depending on which albums you consider the classics. For many Deliverance and the southern metal that came with that stands as the go-to record. For those, myself included, IX has plenty of that silky smooth and groovy flavour. Having Dean’s more high pitched and doomy vocals over the fuzzy Sabbathian riffs ensures this is modern day CoC though.
Reed Mullin lays down some vocals too. He’s more gruff and tough, snarly and gnarly on tracks like the punked-up “Denmark Vesey” and the hook-laden “Tarquinius Superbus.” Of course his drumming is great too. Heavy hitting with a light touch as well. Sludge, doom, punk, he can smash it all.
That leaves Riffmaster General Weatherman. Dude flat out kills on this record. He’s got classic CoC tone to spare even on the more uptempo numbers. Super fuzzed with a bit of the expected twang/drawl, his guitar is all over the record in more ways than just the obvious fact that this is guitar based music. He’s got riffs galore packed into every nook and cranny of your ears. But it’s all so smooth that nothing feels forced. Oh, and the solos! Screaming, scorching, shredding and all around killer.
IX starts with “Brand New Sleep” and “Elphyn.” Both tracks bring the heavy, swampy riffs of varying tempo. Both throw serious props to Black Sabbath. You could even say they are both wearing fairy boots if you catch my drift.
The previously mentioned “Denmark Vesey” and “The Nectar” draw from the band’s punk roots with Dean bringing a doom tone, both in his voice and bass. “The Nectar” also draws in a pounding sludge and southern groove.
“The Trucker” starts off almost like a Down track before hitting the gas with driving, mean machine riffs and some of Mullin’s best drum work. Near the track’s end they do put ‘er in cruise control and groove out.
The standout track though has to be “Tarquinius Superbus.” It’s loaded with so many hooks you have to wonder how the bus doesn’t blow the engine. The riff that opens it feel like something out of the Flash Gordon movie. Weatherman simply tears it up. It’s crunchy, thrashy and sludgy. Weatherman throws some crazy fretwork around before dropping into a groovy flow. Catchy riffs and catchier vocals from both Mullin and Dean will have this barn burner rattling around the noggin for a long time.
IX is pretty much what to expect given the dynamic the trio set forth on Corrosion of Conformity. It’s a mix of the band’s early and later work. The absence of a second guitar does thin the sound out a bit but Weatherman and Dean bring enough to warm it up and weigh it down. The signature southern metal and punk attitude mesh well and all members sound driven and enthusiastic. Weatherman especially is at the top of his game. CoC set the bar so high with the genre defining Deliverance that it’s hard to say anything will surpass it but the 2014 Corrosion of Conformity certainly give it a good go. The longer you spend with IX the better it gets. Some tunes are great enough that given time IX could be considered a classic CoC album as well.
Crank it up and let the good times roll!
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