Yes, the new Corrosion of Conformity is everything you think it will be. It is an amazingly composed, heartfelt blues-inspired record. And let me say, this new album is filled with instantly catchy tracks that are going to have you singing out loud with your friends as you cruise the Carolina woods late on a Saturday night. The first full song on No Cross No Crown is “The Luddite” and its classic C.O.C.; those distinct Pepper Keenan vocals, distorted heavy guitars, bluesy riffs and leads and pummeling drums. “The Luddite” picks up exactly where “Albatross” left off.
“Cast the First Stone” is an uptempo rocker with fuzzed out guitars and signature C.O.C. progressions. “Little Man” has an unbelievably catchy chorus that’s going to briefly remind you of Skynyrd. “E.L.M.” is a loud, powerful rocker. The leads on No Cross No Crown are the best I’ve heard from C.O.C. In their span of dormancy it seems that Woodroe and Pepper have explored some new avenues related to their guitar work. Now, don’t get me wrong, these avenues are still distinctly treaded by the C.O.C. caravan and you’re going to hear their familiar sound on tracks like “Wolf Named Crow” and “Little Man” but there’s no doubt that over the years there’s been some development and introspection in regards to their musicianship. Many tracks have the guitars going in some more nuanced directions that we haven’t heard on previous records.
Cuts like “Forgive Me” blend southern rock with Sabbathy essences. And songs like “Old Disaster” integrate a bit of psychedelia with deep bluesy lyrics at a slightly slower tempo. I love how the band layers the guitars on this particular track and, at the same time, gives the bass and drums a bit of space to shine in the mix. “Son and Daughter” integrates a small bit of a Brian May vibe. One thing you’ll notice on this record is Pepper’s vocal performance. He just sounds incredibly good. This, of course, is not surprising given his work on last Fall’s Danzig tour. C.O.C. was clearly on top of their game on that tour and there was little doubt that any rust was sanded off long ago.
As a complete work, C.O.C.’s latest record is an amalgamation of various new influences and directions yet still remains firmly entrenched in their roots. And the guys just nailed the sound this time – I mean completely nailed it.In all this is a record that is not going to disappoint and the band is surely going to pick up some new fans along the way. First day buy – easily.
No Cross No Crown will be released on January 12th on Nuclear Blast Records, and can be pre-ordered here.