Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown (Album Review)


Release date: 12th January 2018. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

No Cross No Crown - Tracklisting

1. Novus Deus
2. The Luddite
3. Cast the First Stone
4. No Cross
5. Wolf Named Crow
6. Little Man
7. Matre's Diem
8. Forgive Me
9. Nothing Left to Say
10. Sacred Isolation
11. Old Disaster
12. E.L.M.
13. No Cross No Crown
14. A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)
15. Son and Daughter

Members

Woody Weatherman
Mike Dean
Reed Mullin
Pepper Keenan

Review

Greetings All,

When I was offered the chance to review the new Corrosion of Conformity album, I jumped faster than a bullfrog with his ass on fire. CoC has been one of my favorite bands for many years now. For those that may not know, No Cross No Crown marks the return of Pepper Keenan to the fold, after a couple of albums as a trio. The band as a trio saw a return to the earlier, Animosity-era punk metal sound. Now as a four piece the band returns to a heavy southern style stoner sludge a bit more reminiscent of Blind/Deliverance. Although I love both styles, this is a very welcome return. CoC sounds amazing on this record. They are as a tight and rocking as humanly possible. It sounds as though they never were apart and hit the ground running on all cylinders.

The album spans an impressive 15 tracks, with a couple of those being brief instrumental interludes. There seems to be a repetitive theme throughout No Cross No Crown of symbolism, religion, and power which may very well be a reflection on the current political climate here in the US. The album is an absolute ripper from beginning to end. The proverbial all killer no filler with some absolutely amazing songs.

To the songs, the album kicks off with a brief fuzzy intro entitled Novus Deus before kicking your proverbial teeth in with the absolutely killer riffage of The Luddite. Cast the First Stone is the same style of ripper. The way CoC brings the heavy and melodic can be breathtaking. They truly are timeless, as some of these songs span 2 to 3 decades of musical styles in one song.

No Cross is another brief interlude that features acoustic guitar over some heavy bass drone. Wolf Named Crow is a southern style, groove heavy rocker that reminded me quite a bit of Pepper’s other band Down. It is a killer tune. Little Man rages next. There is a 70’s classic rock vibe to this song, but I also was reminded of last years amazing Obsessed record. The two bands have a similar storyline with reuniting and putting out killer albums. Matre’s Diem follows with a beautiful acoustic interlude.

Forgive Me comes at you next at a 100mph. This one features an absolutely killer hook. Bless you or Screw you if this song isn’t stuck in your head for weeks after listening. Nothing Left to Say brings in a sound that reminds me of early 90’s grunge and metal bands such as Alice in Chains with the quiet/loud dynamic, but I also got a bit of Pantera doing Planet Caravan.

Another masterfully delivered song. Sacred Isolation is another interlude that has electric guitar solos over what sounds like some distorted piano/synth sounds. Old Disaster and ELM bring more classic CoC, heavy killer riffs, wicked solos and amazing song writing and delivery.

The albums title track, No Cross No Crown is an interesting departure. An intriguing spoken word song that plays like a heavy, blackened synth driven dirge. A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void) is another smoking heavy track with a very epic sound and a bit of call and response, dual vocals.

The record closes with the astounding Son & Daughter. It comes with a stomping pace and some killer metal riffage. Again with a nod to the 70’s arena rock, but also a bit of Ozzy solo or Black Label Society in the mix. It is the perfect closer to this absolutely stunning record.

It is a joy and a privilege to watch master craftsmen at work. Corrosion of Conformity are masters of their craft. It is only a couple of weeks in to 2018 and we already have one of the best albums of the year. If you are a long-time fan or new to CoC, do yourself a huge favor and check this album out. (along with their other releases over the last 30 years)

No Cross No Crown is a masterpiece. Period.

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey


No Cross No Crown will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Nuclear Blast Records from January 12th 2018.

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