sun 09/08/2020

CD: Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

CD: Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

Southern US heavy rockers come back with all cylinders firing

Stonehenge, where the demons dwell...

As well as creating a true American musical phenomenon, led by from the front by Nirvana, the early-to-mid-Nineties grunge explosion opened a window of opportunity for multitudes of bands on its furthest fringes. South Carolina punk-metallers Corrosion of Conformity hit a career peak at the time, mingling an old-school hard rock sound with something bluesier and spacier, the whole thing marinated in the guitar and vocals of Pepper Keenan. He left to concentrate on his role in metal supergroup Down, featuring members of Pantera and others, but now returns for his first album since 2005 with the band that made his name.

The good news is that, after a patchy couple of albums without Keenan, Corrosion of Conformity’s 10th is an atmospheric beast, with an undertow of southern boogie, southern gothic and, as per its title and moody downtempo title track, a certain southern focus on religion. It also contains a decent selection of rolling riff-monsters, notably the slow-starting but epic “Nothing Left to Say”, the sludgy six-minute closer “A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)” and the hefty “Old Disaster”.

The showcase guitar work is also a treat. Corrosion of Conformity don’t go in for hyperspeed shredding, and give their fret-wrangling room to breathe. The stoned jam interlude on “Wolf Named Crow”, a song about Keenan’s dog, is especially rich in this vein. Unlike many metal outings, No Cross No Crown paces itself, dropping in occasional short instrumental interludes between tracks, and the band is happily not afraid of a proper tune either, with songs such as “Forgive Me” boasting an unlikely catchiness among the blues-squall assault absorbed on first listening.

To non-metallers, the cover art and nomenclature may be off-putting but Corrosion of Confomity’s latest demonstrates there’s fierce, authentic and enjoyable hard rocking to be had with this band.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Wolf Named Crow" by Corrosion of Conformity

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