Corrosion of Conformity No Cross No Crown
Veteran metal band Corrosion of Conformity has gone through multiple lineups over the course of 30-plus years, but the most successful, both commercially and artistically, was the version led by singer-guitarist Pepper Keenan, who recorded four albums as the band’s frontman during the ’90s and ’00s. No Cross No Crown marks Keenan’s return to the band for his first album since 2005’s In the Arms of God, and he rejoins core trio Woody Weatherman (guitar), Mike Dean (bass) and Reed Mullin (drums) as if no time had passed at all.
Songs like “Wolf Named Crow,” “Forgive Me,” “E.L.M.” and lead single “Cast the First Stone” have the same catchy riffs, driving rhythms and swampy tones that made the band’s Keenan-led albums perfect combinations of thrash metal and Southern swagger, topped by Keenan’s drawling, snarling vocals. The production and arrangements are a little less polished than on the band’s ’90s albums, and there are a few slow, sludgy dirges that go nowhere. But anyone who discovered COC at the band’s popular height should be satisfied with this effective return to the familiar.