Corrosion Of Conformity - COC for short - are a band that have a very rich history. Starting off in 1982 they were firstly a trash/punk cross over before morphing over the years into a more Southern metal sludge act, notably around 'Deliverance' (Cleverly linked to a review here). However in 2006, the band split up before reforming again in 2010 as a three piece. To be honest, as I mentioned in my review of 'Deliverance', my favourite time for the band was the early days and I have also enjoyed their most recent out put more than the time when they were releasing albums such as 'Wiseblood'. Not that they were playing bad music, it was just not the version of the band that I enjoy the most. IX was released in 2014 and once again, I am leaving it to the last minute with some of my reviews. Lets see how this one shapes up...
The album starts off with “Brand New Sleep” which begins as much as expected, Black Sabbath worship with a huge slice of NOLA punk blues which swings along with a focused attitude. Starting slowly and keeping that foot down without any intention of shifting. The riffs are so dense and heavy, you could probably use it as a weapon to wound people if you threw it at them. It does feel as if they have been taking some notes from the likes of Crowbar and Down (which features Pepper Keenan who used to play for them). It is a fantastic whirlwind of rock and heavy bass work as well. Starting with a thunderstorm “Elphyn” follows “Brand New Sleep” without messing with the formula too much; it has a similar beginning to “Brand New Sleep” but once you get to the chorus, the band turn this into a much more powerful number. The loose drumming mixed in with that chunky riff, which is driven home by the bass is brilliant; add to that the middle bridge breakdown and this is an instant stoner classic for me. “Denmark Vesey” is more punk than metal, this fast paced ball of spite and bile rockets into existence with no care for anyone but to kick ass and rock. The speed element is brilliant adds something else to the first two slabs of sludge.
“The Nectar” is the fourth track here, this is a halfway house between both styles – it has a classic rock base with that wonderful riff and vocal delivery, but there is a punk/Motorhead need for speed which courses through the best majority of the song. Even when it slows down and the riff becomes sludge, it still has that possibility of exploding at any second and the solo is really good as well. “Interlude” follows and does exactly what it says on the tin with quiet guitars and percussions, before giving way to “On Your Way” which keeps the band on that metal path that they have been forging throughout the album. It is great to heat a band get this sort of song right, especially when there is a lot of band who have apparently forgotten the simplest part of this type of music – it has to rock first and foremost. This tune is a great rock/metal classic song writing and how to make the guitar sound as if it is singing to tempt angels from heaven. “Trucker” is a slow burning song, which starts off with a drawn out riff that breaks into another punk fuelled metal anthem, which will probably steal as many narcotics and ladies of pleasure on the way out of the door. It is a very simple tune which once again is only there to rock, it must be complicated as hell to play as some of those riffs in the song sound thunderous; it is just the talent of the band which is making it sound simple, even when they drop into sludge mode towards the end of the song.
“The Hanged Man” could have once again been wrote by the original Black Sabbath line up back in the day, it is not the best song on the album for me; but do not mistake this for me saying this is not a good number – I do like it an awful lot. It is just that compared to the other songs, it is the one of the album which is just ok for me. Each album has a track like that for everyone, but I still enjoy what the band has done here. “Tarquinius Superbus” has the mixture of speed, trash, punk and metal in a perfect storm of aggression that once again makes the hair on my neck stand up and makes me want to jump around and go crazy. The penultimate track is called “Who You Need To Blame” and it is my pleasure to report that it keeps up the great work that has been done for the best percentage of this album. It is just a straight up rock/metal number again and it does not attempt to be anything else, no messing around and that is fine by me – when songs sound this good, it is always a pleasure. Ending the album is “The Nectar Revisited” which is a lot of drums, the riff being played again and ending the album on a brilliant high.
This is a simple formula that so many bands tend to get wrong, but not these guys – monster riffs, thumping bass, drums which sound both solid and loose and combine. Considering that for a long while these guys were not existing, I just find it hard to comprehend why they are not bigger than they currently are. Maybe it is because people think they know them for their previous efforts, I myself am guilty of making that assumption. Now though, now I will be trying out as many of their albums that they have made as a three piece as possible. A great sludge/punk/speed metal hybrid that just keeps on giving.
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track – On Your Way
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the COC website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
For our Deezer users, you can listen to IX here