Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
I’d heard of Corrosion of Conformity before, but this is my first real listen. I’m surprised (and kicking myself) that I hadn’t given them a go before, considering my leanings towards sludge metal, stoner rock and punk. All of which COC seem to have been straddling/meshing for some time. IX is their ninth album; returning to a three-piece whilst vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan is busy with Down.
This was much more sludgy than I expected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the vocals are on the whole quite Ozzy. A sleepy, talk-singing drone just holding off on reaching the quintessential Ozzy wail. I love Sabbath, but even Ozzy’s voice just gets too nasally narcoleptic for me after a while, so I had that same feeling here. However, I appreciated them varying it with more punk vocals and tempo on Denmark Vesey and my probably my favourite track the awesomely titled Tarquinius Superbus.
Musically it’s a great blend of sludge with a spattering of punk and 70’s groove. Again, no complaints. The riffing is low, heavy and hypnotic sprinkled with bluesy guitar solos. Brand New Sleep kicks off all Hendrix Star Spangled on you, then proceeds to get even more psychedelic before sliding down into a doomy Sabbath-style riff. Denmark Vesey is the aforementioned punk track. Raw punk vocals and chants chasing the rapid fire tempo.
Their frequent tempo changes wards off complete doom. Trucker begins beautifully slow and melodic, guitar wailing laconically – before it heats up to a heavier faster riff. Tarquinius Superbus is my thrashy, vocally unleashed favourite. Named after the last king of Rome, according to my history (read: wiki search) knowledge. I think interspersed with a few more tracks like this and this album would have me totally hooked.
This album isn’t exactly what I expected or hoped for, but it’s pretty damn close. If nothing else, I have definitely developed a love and respect for this band that will have me going through their back catalogue and keeping a keen eye out for future releases.