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Corrosion of Conformity - "IX" (CD)

Corrosion of Conformity - "IX" CD cover image

"IX" track listing:

1. Brand New Sleep
2. Elphyn
3. Denmark Vesey
4. The Nectar
5. Interlude (instrumental)
6. On Your Way
7. Trucker
8. The Hanged Man
9. Tarquinius Superbus
10. Who You Need to Blame
11. The Nectar Reprised

Reviewed by on June 25, 2014

"Does 'IX' contain any radio friendly songs like 'Clean My Wounds?' Probably not. Is the album rife with killer riffs, harmonies, and style changes? Absolutely."

Few bands return to the sound of their origins. Usually, they prefer to move forward even if their early material was their strongest. In 2012, Corrosion of Conformity revisited its punk-thrash roots with a self-titled effort and the "Megalodon" EP later in the year. This was the return of the "Animosity" power trio lineup of Mike Dean, Reed Mullin and Woody Weatherman. While Pepper Keenan no longer handled the mic, the band didn't forsake the southern metal that defined his period. Two years later, COC is still a three-man band not afraid to mix up their tempos with the "IX" album.

On "Brand New Sleep," C.O.C. kicks off the album with more than a minute of instrumentation via guitar melody and pedal hymns. Much like Black Sabbath, which seems a strong influence throughout the album, Dean's vocals don't come into the mix until the band plays a strong groove. Southern-fried licks and even a couple of stand out bass lines define this song. The following track "Elphyn" features heavily distorted guitar swagger which hits a Sabbath-like groove around the 3-minute mark. A solo comes into the mix around the 4-minute mark that really helps the song move along.

With a sped-up tempo and yelled lyrics of "kill, kill, kill” the band flips the bird with punk rock attitude on "Denmark Vessey." Corrosion Of Conformity keeps the punk vibe going into the next track "Nectar," but with more of a hardcore taste. Once the chorus line comes into the mix, though, the band finds a doom-y groove through ringing chords, soaring guitar lines, and bending notes. Another move back to the hardcore parts draw a line for a chugging bruiser around the 3:30 mark. While much of the album is upbeat in its stoner and punk rhythms, this part is a diabolic smasher. What a great way to end a song! "Trusker" encompasses both bluesy notes with the type of metallic heft that made "Dance of the Dead" a hit track back in the day. "On Your Way" then has the distinction of the best Sabbath-like riff on the album.

With Keenan Pepper, C.O.C. had a ticket to the mainstream rodeo. While none of the three musicians have as strong of a voice as Pepper, they've found ways to harmonize their vocals in a manner that works. Does "IX" contain any radio friendly songs like "Clean My Wounds?" Probably not. Is the album rife with killer riffs, harmonies, and style changes? Absolutely. We probably won't hear "IX" on the radio, but fans of all eras of C.O.C. should enjoy this record.

Highs: The band's ability to change styles without sounding out of place really defines this era of C.O.C.

Lows: The vocals still lag behind the days of Pepper Keenan.

Bottom line: A solid output from 30-year veterans. Stoners and punks take notice.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)