Corrosion Of Conformity
No Cross No Crown
1/5/2018 - Review by: Eric Compton
Heavy, Sabbath doom stroked in the fires of North Carolina's southern rock
Corrosion of Conformity are back to loading with full metal jackets. Pepper has reunited with Mike, Reed, and Woody to place the band firmly in the arms of God--heavy, Sabbath doom stroked in the fires of North Carolina's southern rock. Pepper's return to the fold pulls the band back into the realms of heavy metal, loosening the punk chains that have restrained the band for the last six years. 'No Cross No Crown' is the ultimate COC version, melding the brick-breaking riffage of 'Deliverance', 'Wiseblood' and 'In the Arms of God' into a surefire album of the year nominee as we sit here in January of 2018. In simplistic terms...this is a fucking beast.
Like a victorious cry that celebrates the band's newfound unity, "The Luddite" proclaims to "Grind down the iron gears!". It's a steadfast lyric that is a testament to the album--fight, protest, destroy while citing 19th Century English textile workers and their war with modernization. With one of the band's most persevering riffs (think Iommi's menacing bite on 'Born Again'), "The Luddite" is a phenomenal opening track that shows the band in top form. The album's lead single, "Cast the First Stone", follows with a mid-tempo to faster track that has a hint of punk's restlessness while maintaining some twin guitar harmony and Pepper's poetic nuances--"forget the war is won, said the God behind the sun, desperate hold him down, beware the cross and crown". "Old Disaster" continues the push into more metallic realms, a slow burn with a beefy block of groove and distorted vocals. "E.L.M." pushes the envelope, exploring what I have always loved about this band; the seemingly reincarnation of Thin Lizzy in construction and sound. That same approach injects a host of melodies into "Wolf Named Crow" and the hard rock strut of "Little Man".
'No Cross No Crown' is the record we desired and required in 2018. It's loud, melodic, bombastically heavy and scrapes the back gravel roads in the pursuit of tenacity. There's some career potholes and a fragmented regime in the rearview, but Pepper is back and this band has "A Quest to Believe". I'm anxious to see what the band does with their newfound magic and power--take over the world or just the city?
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