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WLM Reviews: Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross No Crown

January 7, 2018
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One of the more revered names in the Metal community kicks off 2018 with a blast of sonic artillery destined to be an album we enjoy now and look back at with respect.

Corrosion of Conformity has been around forever, having release Eye for an Eye around the time I was just getting into Metal. Of course, back then they played music in the Punk/Crossover genre, eventually morphing their sound into the sludgy, southern sound of today. With No Cross No Crown on Nuclear Blast, COC proves to have “it” when it comes to heaviness. The riff is the thing with this band.

COC – circa 2018 – sees the return to the fold of Pepper Keenan, reuniting the mid-90s lineup, along with Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean, and Reed Mullin. This structure seems to be as solid as ever and comes in with fresh, if familiar, sounding songs.

Aside from the handful of mellower instrumental interludes, No Cross No Crown is dominated by Keenan’s and Weatherman’s riffing while strongly supported by the thundering foundation laid down by Mullin and Dean. Yeah, this is some good ol’ foot stomping, Southern tinged Heavy Metal.

There are certainly some highlights, songs that, even though I’ve heard a number of times now, I love hearing the progression and anticipate the different sections with a smile on my face. The Luddite starts off No Cross No Crown and might be one of the best songs the band has ever recorded. Keenan’s return is felt down to the core here. “Grind down the iron gear!” Cast the First Stone is defined by the riffs, both in the verses and chorus. Simple but effective, as is Wolf Named Crow. Forgive Me is right there too as an up tempo offering, while Little Man reminds somewhat of Sabbath.

Nothing Left to Say also evokes a bit of Sabbath feel, maybe something like Planet Caravan. There are, however, heavier sections unlike the aforementioned track. COC lays down a serious groove. Old Disaster continues the ton-of-bricks heavy groove assault, once again relying on the riff mastery of the guitarists. This is some laid back Southern Metal at its finest. E.L.M. is far from laid back, crushing the listener all throughout, as does A Quest to Believe – and even more so. One of the heavier songs on the album. The band concludes the album with a cover of Queen’s Son and Daughter. Very nicely done too.

From Keenan: We took what parts we thought were great from the old days and weren’t scared to go backwards. It kinda wrote itself that way…We’re not chasing anybody around. We’re not gonna worry about what the new trends are.”

Check out Wolf Named Crow:

The year is off to a great start with such a crushing, soul jarring album from a band that’s been around for well over 30 years. Younger bands could learn a lot from Corrosion of Conformity and No Cross No Crown.



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