The second coming of North Carolina crossover legends Corrosion of Conformity has been a big success so far, and that looks like continuing with their ninth album, the imaginatively titled “IX”. Following on from where their previous eponymous album and the ‘Megalodon’ EP left off, it has become obvious that living up to such a strong legacy hasn’t phased them one bit, and instead, the gnarled veterans seem to be going from strength to strength. The founding trio of Woody Weatherman (guitar/vocals), Mike Dean (bass/vocals) and Reed Mullin (drums/vocals) have crafted another fine collection for your listening pleasure.
The eleven songs offer up more of the classic COC sound – huge riffs, memorable hooks and a laid-back attitude that seems to be an amalgamation of all of the different periods of the band’s history. After a fine stoner rock opener in ‘Brand New Sleep’ the band pay some serious Sabbath worship on ‘Elphyn’ before the punked-up duo of ‘Denmark Vesey’ and ‘The Nectar’ hit, allowing the brief instrumental ‘Interlude’ to calm things down once again. It is a fine start but only part of the story of this latest release.
The second half of the album is a more chilled out affair, with ‘Trucker’ and ‘The Hanged Man’ totally different to the earlier tracks, and with the exception of ‘Tarquinnus Superbus’, which harks back to the earlier tracks on the album, it shows a more expansive and experimental side to the band. COC are more at ease opening up solos and longer songs that are allowed to develop rather than stick to any normal pattern. It makes for a more interesting album and shows how much can be packed into an album that doesn’t stick around too long at around forty-five minutes.
“IX” is another fine album to add to a catalogue already packed with classics. What makes this band special is the way they seem to appeal to fans across many traditional rock and metal boundaries, with stoner rock and hardcore at opposite ends of the spectrum. This album will only build on that reputation once again, and with not one bad album amongst the nine they have now released, they have certainly earned the status they have achieved. There is also seemingly an open-ended invitation for Pepper Keenan to return one day when time allows, and while that would be pretty special, they seem more than capable of releasing fine music as a three-piece.