It looks like it could be a good year for fans of Corrosion of Conformity with the return of Pepper Keenan back in the fold, and an European tour about to commence, as well as hints of a possible new album to boot. So to tie in with this current burst of activity sees the re-issue on Prosthetic Records of Pepper’s first album with C.O.C., ”Blind’’ first released back in 1991. What we all know now is Pepper’s eventual taking over of the song writing and vocals went on to produce their most commercially successful, and as it turns out also their most influential period on the metal scene, with 1994’s ‘’Deliverance’’.
So going back to the album that precludes the sound they are more known for, the obvious difference is Karl Agell’s vocals. Also, while it retains some elements of their earlier Hardcore Punk edge, especially with its political lyrical content, it primarily takes a more metallic direction.
This newly found metal style is best on display with ‘Dance of the Dead’, the Tony Iommi inspired big riff in ‘Buried’ and also the Black Sabbath esque ‘Break the circle’. There are also signs of the big impact Pantera had around that time with Pepper Keenan’s lead vocal on ‘Vote with a bullet’ with its crunchy guitar sound and a concise to the point song structure. This track also, with hindsight, gives the biggest indication where C.O.C. will be heading and for me, the vocals of Pepper’s are stronger and there fore add more steel than Karl’s, so it’s the track that packs the biggest punch.
There are a few tracks that don’t hold and grab your attention like ‘Painted smiling face’ despite its good opening riff, ’Mine are the eyes of God’ and ‘White noise’. As well as a couple of short instrumentals with the opener’s controlled feedback of ‘These shrouded Temples’ and the mellow ‘Shallow ground’, so before you know it you have reached the three bonus tracks. A short burst of guitar feedback with a political rant/message over the top leads into a cover of MC5’s excellent ‘Future now’. Then to finish proceedings what sounds like an impromptu jam combining Elvis Presley’s ‘That’s alright mama’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom prison blues titled ‘Jim Bean and the coon ass’.
‘Blind’’ is considered a landmark metal album and it has its moments but it sounds like to me a band in transition, and what followed moved them further away from their hardcore roots, but secured their influence on the Metal scene.