With long-time frontman Pepper Keenan busy in the supergroup Down for so much time, the older trio line-up of Corrosion Of Conformity decided to reunite rather than simply wait for Pepper to be free and available. This started off with a nostalgia tour, playing material from their early 80s albums and EPs like Animosity and Technocracy. In 2012, they released a self-titled brand new studio album.
To the surprise of many, the music on this album was not in the original Hardcore Punk/Crossover Thrash style, but rather something new. It was a mixture of the slow, Doomy, Sabbathy leanings of the band’s then most recent album (2005’s In The Arms Of God) with a raw, powerful edge of Hardcore spirit, and occasional bursts of speed. This style was continued on their brilliant 2012 EP Meglodon, which was given away for free online.
In 2014; a full 30 years after their debut record Eye For An Eye, it came time to release more material, and the band, still in modernized trio mode released IX, their ninth-full length studio album.
Stylistically, IX carries on very much in the same vein as Meglodon and the self-titled album. There is a rawer, messier, noiser sound, attitude and performance style than on any of the Pepper-era albums, but also a slower, doomier, more stoner-rock influenced sound than on any of the early albums. The band mix the two styles seamlessly here. Its not even on a song by song basis, but within the songs themselves. Like the last two albums, there’s also a more somber interlude piece, this time actually called “Interlude.”
Highlights include the speedy “Denmark Vesey” and “The Nectar” as well “The Hanged Man” and indeed the absolutely phenomenal and catchy “Tarquinius Superbus” (about the Emperor of the same name, and not some sort of excellent tour bus).
The riffs are big, bendy and exciting. The mix of tempos keeps things exciting. The raw dirty production is incredibly charming, and there’s some genuinely great songs on here that should stay in the live setlist even when Pepper returns. Can you imagine how fun that riff from “On Your Way” would be live in concert?
The album is brief, to the point and filler free. There isn’t too much experimentation. This constantly shape-shifting band found yet another perfect new identity on their self-titled album, and this album is an even more focused realization of everything good about it. Don’t overlook it because its not in the 80s style or because its not got Pepper on it, this is one bad-ass C.O.C album that is absolutely worth your time!