Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown (Nuclear Blast)

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A mere 12 years since their last release as a four piece (2005’s ‘In The Arms of God)’; COC return with 14 tracks of Southern Rock tinged groove, that more than comfortably sits alongside their earlier Pepper spiced releases ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Wiseblood’. Opening up proceedings with a doomy Cathedral-esque intro (‘Novus Deus’), the re-energised quartet launch into ‘The Luddite’ a heavy assed stomper which wouldn’t sound amiss on ‘Down II’, although Keenan manages to out-snarl his former band-mate Phil Anselmo spitting the lyrics out with vim and vitriol. ‘Cast The First Stone’ captures the bands groovier side – think ‘Who’s Got The Fyah’ on steroids. The ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ vibe continues throughout the next few songs before the band go all NWOBHM on ‘Forgive Me’ and the clearly Sabbath inspired ‘Nothing Left To Say’.  Cleverly splitting the album with a few well-placed melancholic guitar instrumentals the band gives you time to draw a breath before pummeling you with the heavier tracks. Original members Woody, Mike and Reed seems to have kicked back into the Stoner/Southern Rock style of COC after a few years rediscovering their Hardcore/Crossover roots with no difficulty whatsoever  and Producer John Custer does his usual exemplary job of bringing the best out of the band, evoking a suitably 70s classic rock feel to the album. Good to see C.O.C back in the game… Ian Pickens

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