Corrosion of Conformity return with No Cross No Crown, their first effort with Pepper Keenan since 2005’s In The Arms of God. The band had been working as a three piece and released the stellar albums Corrosion of Conformity and IX in recent years.
If you were looking for a return to the sounds of their most successful era in the early ‘90s, specifically Deliverance and Wiseblood, you will be satisfied with the results. The band went so far as to bring back Mike Frazier who mixed Wiseblood in 1995, something which bassist Mike Dean says added to the sonic focus of the record.
There is a lot to like about the album as it feels like a true continuation of that ‘90s sound during which they pioneered a sound known today as stoner metal. “Wolf Named Crow” is a song that feels like it came right from those original recording sessions.
Heavier tracks like “Cast The First Stone” showcase the band as a whole with Reed Mullin’s drums in high focus with Dean’s bass, Woody and Pepper’s guitars behind Pepper’s vocals. You get a sense of their influences on full display, specifically Thin Lizzy and Captain Beyond; a lot of their sense for guitar harmony can be found way back in 1974.
The album can at times feel a bit too long as individual songs are fantastic but some of the in between tracks can come off as a little forced and are reminiscent of the intro to Blind, which is fine if this happens once, but not four times. But as an entire package the album works and isn’t dramatically different time-wise than the albums of whom they are bringing back into the fray.
No Cross No Crown doesn’t tread any new ground for the band, merely revisiting a time of great success. This entire foursome hasn’t recorded an album together since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so consider this the first of that era in almost 20 years. This is another quality album from one of the most successful bands in the genre and you can hear exactly why.
(released January 12, 2018 on Nuclear Blast Records)
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