Corrosion Of Conformity – “No Cross No Crown” (Nuclear Blast)
One of the early 80s pioneers of the crossover style, Corrosion of Conformity are still as eclectic as ever, these days trading their hardcore angst for a rich blend of stoner groove, swamp sludge and southern fried rock! An undoubted influence on this was the arrival of guitarist and later vocalist Pepper Keenan, who would find greater fame as one of the founders of Down. With Keenan, the band would achieve their biggest selling album in 1994’s “Deliverance”, and despite follow up albums not being commercial hits, built a legacy that would culminate in the band’s final 2005 album “In The Arms Of God”. Thereafter, the band – guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin – announced their reformation, toured and recorded 2 albums as a trio in 2012 and 2014 respectively, although it was stressed to all that Keenan had not left the band. Soon after, Corrosion Of Conformityannounced they would reunite with Keenan, undertaking a UK tour where they got the inspiration for the title of this 11th album. Essentially 2 different animals, the band err back to “Deliverance” here with Keenan as opposed to the hardcore outfit, and that’s exactly where “No Cross No Crown” is at: 14 tracks of stoner groove, swamp sludge and southern fried rock! From the droning Sabbathy riffs of ‘The Luddite’ to ‘Wolf Named Crow’ – named after Keenans dawg with its cool Southern stoner groove and more doom warbling to the outright jamming trip of ‘Nothing Left To Say’, the power is immediate and the hooks go right in, some more prominent but others less so, reflecting a band that is not just tightly together performance wise, but equally so in their collaborative composing. Fans of Down will no doubt love ‘Old Disaster’ with its slow choogin’ groove and Southern geetar melding perfectly with Keenan’s Southern drawl while headbangers will die for the instantly addictive doom grind of ‘A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void)’ with its dirty swamp guitars and Mike Dean’s heavy, rumbling bass. Some 12 years on and Corrosion Of Conformity have returned with probably the best comeback album of the year.