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Corrosion of Conformity - IX

Label: Candlelight
Format: CD
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: James Rausse
Rating: 8/ 10


Fans are going to have their opinions about a Pepperless COC. The self-titled album and “Megadolon” E.p. were met with love it or shrug it reactions, both for good reason. Those pieces sounded like COC getting to know each other again and finding where they stood as a band. “IX” shows they are on solid ground (though a shoelace or two may still be untied). Overall this album is my favorite since 1996’s “Wiseblood”. For a band that has successfully changed it's sound on the drop of a dime, “IX” has taken all these elements and created a modern COC retrospective.

 

‘Brand New Sleep’ and ‘Elphyn’ begin the album like Siamese Twins joined at the hip. Pepper-era COC with even more 70's infusion. In fact, this album is much more of the Pepper-era style than the last, but the boys lean more Sabbathy than Southern in most of the songs. If you have heard ‘On My Way’ already, then you have an idea. ‘Trucker’ is steeped in this style and has to be my favorite COC song since they returned. Tasty riffs, tastier solos that just emotes classic COC. ‘The Hanged Man’ follows suit. ‘Who You Need To Blame’ sounds like it could have been on “America's Volume Dealer” (not everyone's favorite album, but this is a solid track).

Don't worry, “Animosity”/”Technocracy” fans, tunes ‘Denmark Vesey’, ‘Tarquinius Superbus’ and parts of ‘The Nectar’ will bring your fix. ‘Tarquinius Superbus’ is COC's thrashiest since ‘Fuel’ off of “Wisebood” and bridges the gap between the “Animosity” (1985) and “Blind” sounds. ‘The Nectar’ works hard to bring all of COC's history into one song. It sorta works, but comes off a bit clumsy (think of the over-riffed ‘The Day That Never Comes’ from Metallica's “Death Magnetic”).

Woody Weatherman's solos are back in full swing, producing some of his best licks ever. Reed's playing is a lot better on this album than the self-titled, where I felt he tried to do too much. They are definitely more lock-step as a band.

Where COC Trio Mark II stumbles are the transitions between some riffs. This plagued the last album from being stellar and cohesive straight through. While this album is much cleaner, it does get clunky at times. Also, I'm a fan of Mike Dean's voice with COC, but he tends to come in too soon on some parts and holds phrases too long in others, making some awkward riff transitions even more awkward. I know the band was going for more of a "raw live" sound, but they would be better served if they didn't go full-on abandon sometimes.

“IX” is definitely a worthy pick-up for all metal fans who enjoy a sprinkling of crossover with their sludge. I only hope with all this talk of Pepper returning that these songs don't get tossed aside in the set.

 
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