If you’re visiting this particular website and reading this particular review, I’m going to make a wild assumption that you’re already familiar with the state of affairs surrounding Corrosion of Conformity in 2012 and forgo the usual introductory hullabaloo.
Sufficed to say, there’s been a ton of hype, curiosity, and trepidation around what CORROSION OF CONFORMITY was going to sound like, and after several listens to the new disc I’m left with mixed emotions. Those of you expecting to hear a total crossover rager or ANIMOSITY 2 will likely be disappointed. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is a pretty good listen, but its DNA is much closer to the band’s more recent material than I think many of us expected it to be.
Listening to last year’s YOUR TOMORROW single in hindsight, the general mood and tone of that track was more of an indicator of the band’s current creative direction than it was given credit for at the time. The 13 tracks on the new disc are definitely more upbeat and aggressive than anything in the Pepper Keenan-era catalogue of the band, but they’re also just as rhythmic and groove centric as much of the Keenan-era tunes. If anything, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY sounds like a convergence of the band’s two phases. Following the lead of album opener “Psychic Vampire,” most of the tracks balance big, sweeping doom laden riffs with moments of accelerated, thrashy momentum. Tunes like “River of Stone,” “The Doom” and the jangly “Time of Trials” gets the formula exceptionally right, while others like “The Newness” and “What We Become” come across a little “meh” and bog down the second half. And yes, there are a couple of old school flavored tunes in the form of “Leeches” and “Rat City,” both of which inject some welcomed energy into things, but make you wish there was a little more of that energy across the rest of the disc.
The other potentially more contentious piece of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is the production job. Once again helmed by longtime partner in crime John Custer, the album sounds really polished. Which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but the trio delivers a relatively stripped down performance that comes off a little thin when paired together. Additionally, Mike Dean’s bass is criminally low in the mix here; I would have loved for his four string rumblings to have a more pronounced role in the proceedings. But as the saying goes, if wishes and buts were candy and nuts, oh what an album this’d be.
On the whole though, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is indeed a worthy listen and an interesting new chapter in the band’s history. It will likely take several listens for you to find your footing with the album and conjure an opinion of your own, but in the end I found that the high points managed to overshadow most of the low. Check it out for yourself when Corrosion of Conformity’s new self titled opus hits the streets on February 28th.
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