Currently embarking on a large US tour, the three-piece version of Corrosion Of Conformity blasted back into the music world with a stunning return to form on their self-titled album earlier this year. Moving away somewhat from the southern-rock groove that had been injected into their sound in recent years (via the increasing prominence of Pepper Keenan as a songwriter within the band) the last album was a refreshing punch in the face and harked back to the “Animosity” days. It has always been that brash punk element to their sound that has underpinned what is so vital and ferocious about C.O.C. and so it seems timely that Candlelight Records are re-issuing their frenetic debut “Eye For An Eye”. This was their only recording to feature Eric Eycke on vocals and although he was a fine shoutist, his departure paved the way for bassist Mike Dean to take the mic and let those leather lungs bellow. Fittingly we are treated to the “Six Songs With Mike Singing” EP as a bonus.
If we take a trip back to 1984 the worlds of metal and punk were not always the best of bedfellows. The two scenes were very separate in the minds of many fans and there was much animosity between the factions and often violence would erupt at or near gigs. The “crossover” style of bands like C.O.C., D.R.I., Gang Green and Suicidal Tendencies was a driving force behind a new wave of hardcore that had a more metallic edge as well as metal with a more punk attitude, and so a glorious blurring of the lines ensued.
The sound was exciting to a geeky metalhead like me who was, at the time, just embarking on my journey into heavy music with the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Kiss and Anthrax. Fast forward to 2012 and putting this album on again still gives me chills.
From the fuzzed-up twang of opener “Tell Me” – which of course dissolves into high-adrenaline punk riffery very quickly – to the aggro-stomp of “Indifferent” this debut earmarked the band as something special. The dual charge of “Positive Outlook” and “Negative Outlook” and the positively chaotic title track are, like everything on here, brimming with youthful exuberance, snotty aggression and a real thread of musicality that was often absent from much of the hardcore songwriting in the eighties.
An inspired cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “Green Manalishi” rounds off the proceedings on the album proper, but the bonus six tracks are a fine dessert. With Woody’s guitar sounding sharper and Reed’s drumming more precise, this is a much finer-tuned aural bludgeon and very much a taste of what was to come with their following two albums. Not as seminal or as well-crafted as “Animosity” or “Technocracy”, but a furious and brilliant manifesto for these crossover kings that really bears repeated listens even in 2012.
Available to stream in full for a limited time here.