Fans of Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) surely know that the band has been rocking for over 30 years now. And while their heyday was 20 years ago, those Carolina boys still know how to make some bitchin’ rock music. After a second hiatus in 2006 that led to a return in 2010 (sans Pepper Keenan) and 2012’s self-titled album, the original lineup of Reed Mullin (drums), Woody Weatherman (guitar) and Mike Dean (bass, vocals) have just released their ninth studio album, IX.
What I like about CoC is that their music comes with an authenticity that’s hard for new bands to match. But the real problem a lot of people have involves Pepper Keenan, who left in 2006 to play and tour with Down but isn't "officially" out of the band (yes, there's hope for you Pepperheads). Many consider him to be essential to the Southern-fried sound (Keenan being from Louisiana) of the band, having been the vocalist for their most successful album, Deliverance. And while Mike Dean, the band's original vocalist, is no Pepper, his vocals fit the music on this album just fine. The success of this latest LP will have to depend on its merits and not Pepper-era fans. And I think it should succeed, as this is some of the best doom metal tuneage I've heard in a while. The riffs are bigger than a wall of Marshall stacks and the groove is slicker than the bottom of your plate after a mess o' Carolina barbecue. So check it out.
The Bottom Line: Fans of the original, pre-Pepper incarnation of CoC will likely appreciate the return of their sound to its punky, groovy roots. But new fans, unburdened by the weight of a band's glory days, should find a lot to like here too with music that's thoroughly rocking irrespective of its context. So smoke 'em if you got 'em, and enjoy.
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