Corrosion of Conformity Announce West Coast Tour with Bl’ast and Brant Bjork

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Now, if you read the interview that went up last Tuesday with C.O.C. bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, or at least took a look at the comments, you probably figured out it was Bl’ast and Brant Bjork that Corrosion of Conformity would be touring with on the West Coast, but it’s always nice to have confirmation anyway, and as the PR wire informs, Portland death-sludgers Lord Dying will be opening for the trek. C.O.C.‘s new album, IX (short review here), is out tomorrow on Candlelight after a manufacturing delay pushed  back the original June 25 release date.

The legendary North Carolinian trio also head to Australia and New Zealand in July. All dates and info below:

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY: North Carolina Crossover Icons Announce North American Live Assault

With the official release of their new full-length, fittingly titled IX, now just days away, North Carolina crossover icons, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, are very pleased to announce their first North American live assaults in support of the offering. The near two-week run will commence on August 20th in Spokane, and come to a close in Vancouver on September 1st. The band will be joined by Bl’ast!, Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band and Lord Dying!

The trek follows the band’s live takeovers next month in New Zealand and Australia. “We are really fired up to bring COC back to New Zealand and Australia for the first time in over a decade,” says vocalist/bassist Mike Dean. “I’ve been with Vista Chino and had a great experience on Soundwave and the shows on the side. Our set is shaping up to include songs from IX, Deliverance, the self-titled, and Animosity.”

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
7/18/2014 Kings Arms – Auckland, NZ
7/19/2014 Valhalla – Wellington, NZ
7/20/2014 Churchills – NZ
7/24/2014 Crowbar – Brisbane, AUS
7/25/2014 NSC – Sydney AUS
7/26/2014 Reverence Hotel – Melbourne AUS
7/27/2014 Enigma Bar – Adelaide AUS

w/ Bl’ast!, Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band, Lord Dying
8/20/2014 The Hop – Spokane, WA
8/21/2014 In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
8/22/2014 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
8/23/2014 Sister – Albuquerque, NM
8/24/2014 Club Red – Mesa, AZ
8/26/2014 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
8/27/2014 The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA
8/28/2014 DNA – San Francisco, CA
8/29/2014 Catalyst – Santa Cruz CA
8/30/2014 Dante’s – Portland, OR
8/31/2014 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
9/01/2014 The Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC

Captured by the band alongside long-time friend and colleague John Custer, writing for IX commenced in the early months of 2013 with demoing and recording starting by Summer’s end. Completed in January, IX clocks in at nearly forty-five minutes. Sludge, doom, punk… it’s all in the grooves that fans have come to expect from CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.

The planned June 24th release date of IX was moved to July 1st with the 180-gram vinyl pressing expected later in the month. Fans that preordered the CD directly from Candlelight should be finding their copy in post boxes now as the eleven-song digipak continues to garner glowing reviews critics nationally.

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.candlelightrecordsusa.com

Corrosion of Conformity, “On Your Way” from IX (2014)

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Corrosion of Conformity Interview with Mike Dean: The Power of Expression

Posted in Features on June 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Next Tuesday, July 1, is the release date for Corrosion of Conformity‘s aptly-titled ninth album, IX, which also serves as the band’s second full-length through Candlelight Records since their reboot with the trio lineup of bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin, following on the heels of their 2012 self-titled (review here) and subsequent, Scion A/V-sponsored Megalodon EP. The latter, which was also released in 2012, seemed to solidify many of the ideas of the former, and helped to affirm the grooves and the varied approach that C.O.C., now 30 years on from their first album, Eye for an Eye, would present. IX (short review here), is consistent in progressing this roughness of sound and steady, rolling feel, but as cuts like “Denmark Vesey” and “Tarquinius Superbus” show, C.O.C. never completely let go of their roots in hardcore punk. Knowing that at any point they could immediately take off at top speed adds an element of danger to the proceedings, and Dean, Weatherman and Mullin sound only too happy to revel in it.

The latter track, which appears deep into IX‘s side B sandwiched between the high-grade Southern heavy rock of “The Hanged Man” and “Who You Need to Blame,” is particularly interesting for how directly it plays one side off the other, its five-and-a-half-minute runtime split between raging forward motion and righteous nod. It serves to summarize what C.O.C. have done best since coming back as a trio, which is to foster an approach simple enough in its elements but based around a quality of songwriting that speaks to the band’s legacy both in albums like 1985′s Animosity and 1996′s Wiseblood while still forming something new from them. In both their style and how they’re developing within it, Corrosion of Conformity circa 2014 are geared toward a natural sound and focused on capturing a live feel in their recordings. As an album, IX not only succeeds in this, but shows the band sounding more comfortable and confident in their approach as well.

We were on a bit of a rough line in terms of connection, but in the interview that follows, Dean discusses how they’ve arrived where they are, including their longtime collaboration with producer John Custer, with whom Dean worked on this album as an audio engineer, the progression they’ve undertaken since the self-titled was put together, touring, and how finalizing material in the studio as it’s being recorded can help give a record a sense of spontaneity. Also discussed at the end is Dean‘s time in Kyuss-offshoot Vista Chino and what the future might hold there. After some drama with the booking, Corrosion of Conformity will head to Australia this summer, and they have plans in the works for a West Coast tour this fall and will no doubt continue to support IX for the foreseeable future, keeping their momentum going at a clip to match their speediest riffing.

Full Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Buzz Osborne, Corrosion of Conformity, Blackout, Pale Horseman, Dwell

Posted in Radio on May 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click here to listen.

A couple big names making their way onto the playlist this week, with Melvins guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne‘s first solo album and the new record, IX, from the Animosity-era lineup of C.O.C.. Some other cool stuff as well from Blackout, Dwell and Pale Horseman, so if you get to check any of it out, it’s worth digging further than what you might already recognize. But that’s almost always the case. Here we go.

Adds for May 23, 2014:

Buzz Osborne, This Machine Kills Artists

If you were to sit down and draw up a blueprint for what an acoustic solo record from Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne might sound like, This Machine Kills Artists would probably be it. Especially if your blueprint just had the words, “Like the Melvins, but acoustic,” on it. For someone who’s long since been the master of his sonic domain to step out in any fashion from the formula is interesting — and Buzzo makes a habit of doing so, usually in the company of Dale Crover — but on his own, the 17-track collection he’s produced is mostly predictable if also largely inoffensive. Songs like “Everything’s Easy for You,” “Laid Back Walking” and “The Blithering Idiot” are easy enough to imagine as Melvins tunes, and I had to check twice to make sure “The Ripping Driving” wasn’t one, but nothing overstays its welcome, and if Osborne is beginning a creative exploration branching off from his main outfit, it doesn’t seem fair to begrudge him starting from the root. The constant critical suckoff of anything Melvins-related notwithstanding, This Machine Kills Artists could be the start of an intriguing progression of Buzzo as a solo artist, or it could be a whim dabbled in and left to rust. Melvins fans will be on its junk either way, so I doubt it matters. On Thee Facebooks, Ipecac Recordings.

Corrosion of Conformity, IX


There was a news story the other day floating around the interwebs where Pepper Keenan said the name Corrosion of Conformity or something and people started getting all gooey about the possibility of a reunion. Uh huh. In the meantime, the actual band C.O.C. have put together a second full-length of unmitigated kickassery sans-Keenan following their 2012 self-titled (review here) and subsequent Scion A/V-sponsored Megalodon EP, and while I get the loyalty to one lineup or another for any band, to discount the quality of what Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin are doing right now — right this second — is just fucking stupid. IX, released by Candlelight, is more cohesive, more grooved out than was the self-titled, but songs like “Denmark Vasey” and “Tarquinius Superbus” still retain their crossover hardcore edge. Elsewhere, “The Hanged Man,” “The Nectar” (which gets a reprise as the album’s leadout), and opener “Brand New Sleep” touch off high order Sabbathian sludge rock and make fools of those pining for records that dropped 20 years ago. This band is vital, this record a triumph. On thee Facebooks, Candlelight Records.

Blackout, Converse EP


So apparently Converse have access to a studio in BBQ aficionados Blackout‘s native Brooklyn, which makes sense in this brave new world of corporate patronage of underground heavy, and they invited the three-piece down to record a couple cuts last week. Yup, last week. And the EP’s out now. Welcome to the future. Three tracks capture Blackout in raw, pretty live form, more fuckall tossoff than was their 2013 We are Here debut (review here), but doubtless that owes to the circumstances. Tones are huge all the same. They begin with the insistent push of an eponymous song, a heavy roller that’s short at 3:34 compared to the farther-ranging “Tannered,” which follows in likewise thickened Melvinsian form, some screams and growls thrown in for good measure lead to a plodding slowdown at the end, and for a sendoff, Blackout offer a take on Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain” that’s probably less ironic than it seems on the surface. Kind of a stopgap release, but it’s a free download and heavy as hell, so you’ll get no complaints out of me when it comes to Blackout‘s bacon-wrapped riffage. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Pale Horseman, Mourn the Black Lotus

Mourn the Black Lotus, the second long-player from Chicago bruiser rockers Pale Horseman comes topped with a Godfleshy Justin K. Broadrick remix of the song “Fork in the Road” from their 2013 self-titled debut. Not exactly representative of the burl in earlier cuts like “Running for the Caves” or “Conquistador,” both of which have riffs that seem retooled from ’90s-style hardcore, but a neato ending anyway, and it does provide some different context for the echoes on the throaty vocals throughout. Pale Horseman aren’t light on groove or really anything else, and the bulk of Mourn the Black Lotus is given to pummeling weight, though it’s not without atmospheric moments as well in lead sections. A clicky kick-drum aside, the album has a clean, crisp, metallized sound, but the groove in “Grudgulence” belies some crustier heritage. This is consistent with their first outing, which was also put to tape with Bongripper guitarist Dennis Pleckham at Comatose Studios, though there’s some progression in their aggro-sludge push. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Dwell, Far Dark Helm


Slow, as dark as its cover would indicate and straddling the line between post-metal angularity and doomed atmospherics, Far Dark Helm from Oakland, CA, trio Dwell — likely not named for the interior design magazine — periodically shift from the nod of “To Scry on Lamentations” into blastbeaten extremity. It doesn’t last too long, and if you’re previously hypnotized by that track’s repetitions, you might miss it, but it’s there and the changes add depth to the band’s approach. Far Dark Helm is comprised of four tracks, all between nine and 10 minutes long, and the remaining three make up installments of a title-track that don’t necessarily bleed into each other directly, but flow well nonetheless. Samples strewn about a rough production give Dwell‘s second full-length a sludgy edge, but the three-piece seem most in there element when exploring a grueling churn like that which rounds out the second “Far Dark Helm” leading to the sharp turns of the third. Including the opener seems to draw away from the theme of the record, but the ambience is consistent. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Also added this week were records by Harsh Toke, The Cult of Dom Keller and Begravningsentreprenörerna. For the complete list of updates, click here.

 

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Weedeater Announce Australia/New Zealand Tour with C.O.C.

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

This week, even as they made ready to head to Desertfest, sludge mavens Weedeater unleashed a new Scion-sponsored single called “Hot Doughnuts Now,” and needless to say, but it features both their signature lurching tones and unmitigated charm. To wit, it’s about doughnuts. And “doughnuts” is spelled right. Not that there was ever any doubt, but Weedeater remain on the ball.

In addition to the new song, which is the first Weedeater studio track to surface since their signing to Season of Mist for the release of their next album, the band have announced a tour in Australia and New Zealand alongside Corrosion of Conformity, the two bands serving as ambassadors together of some of the best in heavy that the American South has to offer.

The PR wire digs it:

WEEDEATER announce new tour dates in Australia, New Zealand

Infamous sludge outfit WEEDEATER (“Dixie” Dave Collins – Bass, Vocals; Dave Sheperd – Guitar, Vocals) has announced a new tour in New Zealand and Australia. The tour, which begins on July 18 in Sydney, will travel through Melbourne, Perth, and more before ending on July 28, and will see WEEDEATER play alongside CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. A full list of confirmed dates can be found below.

WEEDEATER released a new track as part of the “SCION AV Presents…” series. The track, titled “Hot Doughnuts Now” can be streamed and downloaded here. The North Carolina-based band is currently writing new material for their first Season of Mist recording, slated for release in 2014.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

For more WEEDEATER news and tour information, please visit the Season of Mist website, and the WEEDEATER website and Facebook page.

WEEDEATER TOUR DATES:
All dates with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
7/18 Sydney NSW @ The Factory Theatre
7/19 Canberra ACT @ ANU Bar
7/20 Melbourne VIC @ 170 Russell
7/22 Auckland NZ @ The Kings Arms
7/23 Wellington NZ @ Bodega Bar
7/25 Adelaide SA @ Fowlers Live
7/26 Perth WA @ The Rosemount
7/28 Brisbane QLD @ The Hi Fi

http://www.season-of-mist.com/
http://www.weedmetal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal

Weedeater, “Hot Doughnuts Now” (2014)

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Corrosion of Conformity are Recording Their Next Album

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last year, Corrosion of Conformity‘s Scion A/V-sponsored Megalodon EP continued to win the long-running North Carolina outfit favor in the wake of their 2012 self-titled (review here), their first album as a trio since 1985′s Animosity. As the studio footage of drummer Reed Mullin recording some vocal parts demonstrates, work on a follow-up is underway now.

It’s funny to think of a band who’ve been at it since 1982 — and who are back in their original lineup — as having something to prove, but with the C.O.C. audience contingent who can’t or don’t want to move beyond the fact that guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan isn’t in the band at this point and may or may not rejoin them at some future date (he’s in Down if you’re looking for him), the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Mike Dean (also Vista Chino), Mullin and guitarist Woody Weatherman seem to still be pushing against expectations born of their Deliverance era. I’m not going to argue that’s not a great, landmark record, but it was also 20 years ago, and you’re only cheating yourself if you miss out on the quality output from modern C.O.C. – who, again, are also the original C.O.C. – because of Keenan‘s absence.

My two cents. Check out Mullin belting out a new song below, followed by some PR wire info courtesy of the band’s label, Candlight Records and the link to the event page for their upcoming show at The Underworld in London on March 13:

C.O.C., Back in the Studio

Raleigh, North Carolina legends Corrosion Of Conformity are recording their next album, the follow-up to the well-received self-titled record issued via Candlelight Records in late February 2012, the reissue of their “Eye For An Eye” debut, and the released Scion A/V EP “Megalodon”. The forthcoming CD, untitled at this time, will again feature the trio of vocalist/bassist Mike Dean, guitarist Woodroe Weatherman, and drummer Reed Mullin. A new video clip from the studio can be seen below.

The initial work on the new album found the band not long out of the recording studio, having recently completed their “Megalodon” EP. The special EP was included free to all customers to the band’s official webstore. Dean said: “The EP was written, recorded, and released in two months’ time. It really challenged us in a good way.”

Formed in Raleigh in 1982, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY quickly transformed heavy music. Politically charged and socially aware, the band has influenced countless others and today remains humble about their accomplishments. With over 1.1 million albums sold in the United States, the band continues to find new fans via nonstop touring.

C.O.C. on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records on Thee Facebooks

C.O.C. at the Underworld event page

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Corrosion of Conformity are Writing New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

…And it seems like it’s going to be a permanent situation. No harm there — C.O.C.‘s self-titled (review here) was killer and the subsequent Scion A/V EP, Megalodon, scratched a similar itch, so if the North Carolina stalwarts want to kick out another full-length as a trio on the quick, I’m not going to complain. The PR wire sends along word of the new album, recent touring, and an upcoming appearance at Metal Fest in Chile.

Dig it:

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Writing New Material

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY has begun writing material for their next album, the follow-up to the well-received self-titled record released via Candlelight Records late February 2012, the reissue of their Eye For An Eye debut, and recently released Scion A/V EP Megalodon. The album, untitled at this time, will again feature the trio of vocalist/bassist Mike Dean, guitarist Woodroe Weatherman, and drummer Reed Mullin.

Last week the band announced their first live performance for the New Year at the annual Metal Fest Chile on April 13th. It will be the first CORROSION OF CONFORMITY appearance ever in Chile. Mike Dean comments, “We have been talking about going to South American forever and with Chile being a big source of so much of our Facebook traffic, I know it’s going to be epic. Another chance for us to do a festival with Down is always a very good thing.”

The festival follows the completion of the band’s recent US tour that concluded in southern California alongside High On Fire. The trio was also a featured participant on Barge From Hell that left Florida shores on December 7. Dean notes, “The cruise was pretty awesome. We had Rick and Jonathan from Torche masquerading as our crew and watching their antics alone was worth the trip. The seas were calm so there was no hurling over the bow.”

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY continues to promote the self-titled album in interviews with media as well spreading word on their recently released Megalodon EP. The EP, sponsored by the amazing folks at Scion A/V, is available for free now via various outlets. Dean says, “The EP was written, recorded, and released in two months time. It really challenged us in a good way. It feels good to get two releases out in one year and I expect that we will continue that level of productivity.” Continuing he shares, “The self-titled album is holding up very well for me. There is a wide variety of material there. It’s all definitely COC but at the same time everything is really a stretch for us. Within the realm of never being totally satisfied, I am very happy with how it came out.”

Formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1982, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY quickly transformed heavy music. Politically charged and socially aware, the band has influenced countless others and today remains humble about their accomplishments. With over 1.1 million albums sold in the United States alone, the band continues to find new fans via non-stop touring.

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce New Batch of Tour Dates with ASG and Royal Thunder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I think I’m gonna go to this show. I don’t know yet whether I’ll go to Brooklyn or Philly, but I haven’t seen trio C.O.C. — whom I’ve been secretly referring to as “C.O.Three” to myself mostly because I don’t have any friends who would know what I was talking about if I said that kind of thing to them — since they played last New Year’s Eve with Clutch, and, well, I’d kind of like to sing along to “Psychic Vampire” and maybe pick up a t-shirt if they have appropriate fat-dude sizes. Their self-titled album (review here), has an enduring appeal that’s hard to ignore as 2012 winds down and list time comes.

Dig the good news, fellow worshipers:

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announce North American Fall Tour Presented By Scion A/V

Eye For An Eye Reissue To Drop November 6 Via Candlelight Records

Following a hearty summer of live takeovers throughout North America and Europe, today North Carolina crossover kings CORROSION OF CONFORMITY announce a string of Fall and Winter dates through November and December. Presented by Scion A/V, the tour will include support from a host of esteemed ear-bleeders including Zoroaster, ASG, Royal Thunder, YOB, and Saviours. Additionally, the band will play a string of special shows with High On Fire, Goatwhore and LoPan on select dates. See full itinerary below. Tickets for all CORROSION OF CONFORMITY headlining shows go on sale TODAY through all local ticket outlets. Go HERE to get yours now!

The journey comes in conjunction with the North American release of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s Eye For An Eye full-length, set to drop November 6 through Candlelight Records. Originally issued in 1984, the special reissue has been remastered/packaged and includes the Six Songs With Mike Singing EP, both of which have been long out of print. A deluxe digibook edition of the album, limited to 1000 for North America, will be available at limited retailers and via Candlelight’s official webstore. The digibook version includes extended liner notes and a rare pictorial gallery.

CORROSION OF CONFOMRITY Fall/Winter Tour 2012
11/06/2012 Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Zoroaster, Royal Thunder
11/07/2012 Kingdom – Richmond, VA w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/08/2012 North Star – Philadelphia, PA w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/09/2012 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/10/2012 El ‘N’ GeesNew London, CT w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/11/2012 Mavericks – Ottawa, ON w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/13/2012 Revolutions – Kingston, ON
11/14/2012 Corktown Pub – Hamilton, ON w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/15/2012 London Music Hall – London, ON w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/16/2012 Harpo’s – Detroit, MI w/ ASG, Royal Thunder
11/17/2012 Mojoe’s – Joliet, IL w/ Zoroaster, Royal Thunder
11/18/2012 Cosmic Charlies – Lexington, KY w/ Zoroaster, Royal Thunder
12/11/2012 The Biltmore – Vancouver, BC w/ Saviours
12/12/2012 The Crocodile –  Seattle, WA w/ YOB, Saviours
12/13/2012 Dante’s – Portland, OR w/ YOB, Saviours
12/14/2012 Oak Street Speakeasy – Eugene, OR w/ YOB, Saviours
12/15/2012 Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA w/ YOB, Saviours
12/16/2012 Uptown Theater – Oakland,CA w/ Saviours
12/18/2012 Catalyst – Santa Cruz,CA w/ High on Fire, Goatwhore, LoPan
12/19/2012 The Brickhouse – San Diego, CA w/High on Fire, Goatwhore, LoPan
12/21/2012 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA w/ High on Fire, Goatwhore, LoPan

Formed in Raleigh in 1982, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY quickly transformed heavy music. Politically charged and socially aware, the band has influenced countless others and today remains humble about their accomplishments. With over 1.1 million albums sold in the United States, the band continues to find new fans via nonstop touring.

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Buried Treasure and the Mountains Underground

Posted in Buried Treasure on March 14th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

There’s always something special about a basement record store, so I was only too glad to descend the flight of stairs leading to Boston’s Armageddon Shop during my recent trip there to see Black Pyramid, Gozu and Infernal Overdrive at Radio in Somerville. I’d been to the Providence location before, and found it much to my liking, so the Boston one seemed an obvious choice to pass some time before the show.

From what I understand, it’s relatively new, and it looks it. The walls, but for a large cork bulletin board overflowing with flyers, were painted bright white — very neo-black metal — and the floor was clean and unscuffed, kind of emphasizing a minimalist look. It wasn’t cramped, as a lot of record stores are, and the entire right side of the store and most of the left as well was devoted to well-spaced bins of vinyl. A shelf directly across from the entrance had some tapes on it, so I went there first.

It doesn’t appear in the picture above, but that’s only because I’ve been so unwilling to remove it from my car since I made the purchase. For $3.99, I got a cassette of C.O.C.‘s Wiseblood, and of all the money I spent that night, that was hands-down some of the best. CDs took up a whole section of the back wall (there were some dollar boxes as well that I glanced through) with the discs positioned sideways so you had to crane your head even as you bent down to look at the bottom rows.

Turned out to be worth the effort. I bought The Body‘s Anthology, because hey, it’s New England, and Paracletus, by Deathspell Omega, because I figured I’d want it eventually and I might as well spend the money there rather than give it to Amazon or whoever. There was a cheapy copy of last year’s Aphotic by Novembers Doom, and I’ll probably never listen to it, but I got that anyway, just to have it, and a used version of The Late Great Planet Earth by Mos Generator that I figured (rightly) would do my rockin’ soul some good.

The finds of the trip, though, were an original CD issue of Parliament‘s Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome — which fucking rules — and the first Witch Mountain record, Come the Mountain. I’m sure I could find all kinds of reissues of Funkentelechy if I wanted to, but it was cool to hear a first-run pressing (cooler still because it too was $3.99) and Cordell Mosson‘s bass and Bernie Worrell‘s keys make the whole thing. And the Witch Mountain I just figured I’d missed the boat on and would never find, what with it being released over a decade ago, the label Rage of Achilles being defunct and the band being on the other side of the country.

I guess you never know what you’ll find, which is probably the reason I keep going to these places even as they seemingly all start to phase out CDs in favor of vinyl. General compulsion you could consider as a secondary factor, but either way, I was glad I had the chance to hit up this Armageddon Shop, because like the other one in Providence, it was a cause definitely worth supporting. Check out their website here.

 

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Corrosion of Conformity Interview with Mike Dean: Riding the Current on a River of Stone; Enter Now to Win Free Vinyl!

Posted in Features on January 12th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

You have to understand, even if the forthcoming self-titled Corrosion of Conformity full-length wasn’t their first as a trio — as this trio — since 1985′s Animosity, the record would still be a landmark, just for the fact that it’s C.O.C. The stalwart North Carolinian heavy Southern rockers haven’t had a record since 2005′s In the Arms of God, mostly due to guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan‘s ongoing tenure with the supergroup Down, leaving bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and returned drummer Reed Mullin the task of picking the band back up and moving forward as a three-piece.

But the announcement yesterday that this lineup of C.O.C. will headline Sunday night, April 8, at the London Desertfest is just the latest endorsement it has earned. Dean, Weatherman and Mullin toured twice in 2011 with Clutch, including their New Year’s tour last month, and played the 2011 Maryland DeathFest and Roadburn festivals (among others), supporting the single Your Tomorrow on Southern Lord. The track “Your Tomorrow” would wind up as one of the strongest on the album Corrosion of Conformity as well, but the record does an excellent job meeting and surpassing any aesthetic expectations that could be put on it.

Because, hey, let’s face it, if you’ve got a trio lineup of C.O.C., they’ve got a lot to live up to. Animosity is a crossover classic, and coupled with everything the band was able to accomplish after Keenan joined, then Corrosion of Conformity needs to cover a lot of ground to be a success. The album’s greatest attribute, however, is that it seems to ignore all of that in favor of just rocking out on some killer songs. As a result, cuts like “Rat City” and “Leeches” and “What We Become” hone in on the band’s hardcore past without seeming like a put-on while “Psychic Vampire,” “The Moneychangers” and “Come Not Here” bring in elements of the riffy Sabbathian groove that was always present in their sound, however prevalent it may or may not have been.

If you’re interested, the full album review is here. Just prior to their heading out with Clutch to put 2011 to bed, Dean and I spoke about what brought C.O.C. back together in this form and how it was composing the new album without Keenan, recording it with longtime producer John Custer, his own process for composing lyrics, and much more. Like the music on the self-titled, he was honest and straightforward in his responses, as you can see in the interview that follows here.

–Special thanks to Candlelight Records for letting me give away THREE copies of the new C.O.C. album on vinyl! Enter to win by sending your name and address below. Contest runs until Jan. 20!

[Please note: This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered.]

Complete Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Corrosion of Conformity, Corrosion of Conformity: Reclaiming Their Tomorrow

Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

From their teenage punker beginnings to being a Grammy-nominated major label darling to influencing a generation of heavy Southern bands, few acts can claim either the enduring relevance or creative scope of Corrosion of Conformity. The North Carolinian band, which passes its 30th year in 2012, and true enough to form, they do so with the beginning of a new age – or at very least, a bold new foray down a familiar path. 2010 saw C.O.C. regroup and tour with what was billed as the Animosity-era lineup, meaning the trio of guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin. They released the Your Tomorrow 7” and hit the road to much acclaim from traditionalists who’d been aching for some of C.O.C.’s earlier, crossover-style material. Absent from this mix was guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, who’d joined on guitar for 1991’s Blind and come to take the vocalist position as well, leading the band through their commercial peak on Columbia Records albums Deliverance (1994) and  Wiseblood (1996). His ongoing tenure in the Southern metal supergroup Down seemed to be the stumbling block keeping C.O.C. from getting together to issue a follow-up to 2005’s excellent In the Arms of God (Down released their third album in 2007 and toured extensively to support it), and Dean, Weatherman and Mullin – the latter who didn’t play on the last record but was back in the fold after playing with Dean in his Righteous Fool side-project – eventually decided not to wait any longer. Their new album, Corrosion of Conformity (Candlelight Records), is the band’s first studio LP as a trio since 1985.

This in itself makes C.O.C.’s latest a landmark, but moreover, it’s the defiance of expectation that really sets Corrosion of Conformity apart. One might look at the fact that they chose to make it a self-titled as a kind of statement that this lineup is somehow definitive, maybe a subtle “fuck you” to Keenan, but I don’t think that’s the case. Rather, naming the record after the band feels appropriate for these songs because what these songs do is essentially distill 30 years of natural and genre-transcending progression into a cohesive set of 11 tracks that play out over 43 minutes. In every move they are C.O.C., and that seems to be more the basis of choosing the title rather than showing anyone up. I acknowledge that’s speculation and opinion on my part as a listener and a fan of the band, but I’d gladly offer the forward-looking development of these tracks as supporting argument. Dean, Weatherman and Mullin could easily have slopped together 35-40 minutes of crossover punk, called it Animosity 2 and ridden the coattails of their past glories to reunion-act glory, but they didn’t do that. Instead, with Corrosion of Conformity, they take the band’s past scope and form something cohesive and – most of all – new from it. Whatever else you take away from this review, take that. C.O.C. are not rehashing what they’ve done before. As much as these songs may be carved from a lineup dynamic that existed 27 years ago, the ensuing time has meant that the players are different people than they once were, and the album shows that right from the beginning of opener “Psychic Vampire.”

In a way, the first 40 seconds of Corrosion of Conformity tell the whole story, and even more so when one considers the efficiency and lack of pretense with which the album is executed front to back. It’s perhaps in that spirit that C.O.C. most capture the simplicity of their earliest days, but one can’t deny the grunt at the beginning of “Psychic Vampire” and the riff-led groove that ensues as epitomizing a side of the band, just as does the faster, more propulsive 10 seconds that follow and open into the verse groove. Without warning, Dean, Weatherman and Mullin have established much of the course of the record, which sets its dynamics through pacing changes and balances Southern heavy rock with unabashed punk-born fury. “Psychic Vampire” sets itself out among the strongest cuts on the album in doing so and is based in large part on these two opening riffs, which play out in juxtaposition as Dean takes the frontman/vocalist role for two distinct choruses that he keeps through much of the material, backed capably by Weatherman and Mullin. Where some other tracks, particularly later in the set, need time to sink in, the likes of “Psychic Vampire” and “River of Stone,” which follows, are more immediately memorable. Weatherman’s riffing, as captured by longtime C.O.C. producer John Custer’s excellent recording job, is part of that, keeping a tonal consistency with In the Arms of God while also capitalizing on the added rawness of having one six-stringer versus two.

Mullin distinguishes himself right away on “River of Stone,” which is the longest song on Corrosion of Conformity at 6:12. His double-bass drumming is consistent throughout the first part of the track, but not rushed in terms of pace. The song opens in its chorus, but is mostly head-down forward motion, playing off some of the faster crossover elements that were hinted at with “Psychic Vampire” and are brought to the fore on “Leeches” still to come. Most of the song’s extra length comes from a break at 3:20 wherein Dean’s bass, soaked in wah, leads to a solo from Weatherman that carries the song back to its verse and chorus. Again, they show tempo flexibility and establish a solid flow, and Custer makes his presence felt as a shout rises in the mix to transition back into the verse that leads to the chorus finale. Dean’s vocals surprise in their capability to carry the song, and though it’s not a shock C.O.C. would want to establish this early, he impresses throughout the album in both arrangement and occasionally deceptively melodic execution. Not, however, on “Leeches,” which is two-plus minutes of crossover rawness that goes directly to the Animosity roots. It’s the shortest song on the album, and possibly the rawest, though Weatherman rips several leads worthy of the band’s legacy, and Mullin handles the changes fluidly while the vocals trade off leads and backing shouts. “Rat City,” which arrives just before closer “Time of Trials,” works in a similar vein, but “Leeches” is more outwardly aggressive, making the interlude that comes with “El Lamento de las Cabras” feel well earned.

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What to Look Forward to in 2012, Pt. 1: The Sure Bets

Posted in Features on January 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m a sucker for consistency, so I’m going to keep this to the same kind of format as last year’s 2011 preview — real low key, real stuff I’m actually looking forward to being released. It’s not about what band is the biggest, or who has the most hype, but about who’s kicking what ass and how much it’s happening. Pretty simple parameters we’re working with here.

If you don’t recall last year and didn’t already click that link in the paragraph above out of curiosity, here’s how it works: I take five records I”ve heard and five I haven’t, and over the course of two days, we get a list of 10 albums reportedly to come in 2012 (these things don’t always work out, as we’ll get into more tomorrow with Colour Haze) that hopefully most people can agree with or at least be only mildly outraged at.

Today, it’s the sure bets. These are records that’ll see release early this year that I’ve already heard and can vouch for. I haven’t reviewed all of them yet, but I will, so consider this a precursor to that if you want. They’re not in any order but that in which they occurred to me to write down. In any case, here goes:

Snail, Terminus: Their 2009 reunion album, Blood, has stood the test of the going-on-three years since its release on MeteorCity, and the four-piece are set to follow it up this year with Terminus, an album that hopefully doesn’t live up to its name in being their last. The songwriting, which made for ultra-memorable tracks on Blood, is just as epic here, and each cut seems to have a personality of its own while still flowing together as a whole. What you really need to know about it — it’s heavy as hell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself typing about it again come list time this December.

Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned: Another foreboding album title, this seventh full-length from the London doomers (review here) finds them embracing the anthemic on “The Filthy and the Few” and going full-on spooky for “The Fog.” It’s a mature album, and maybe a little too clean in terms of production, but these guys never fail to deliver, and A Eulogy for the Damned can only add to the increase in profile the last couple years has seen for Orange Goblin. When it comes down to it, they’re one of the best live acts in doom, so they can’t lose in bringing this material to the stage.

Dwellers, Good Morning Harakiri: Iota, the prior outfit of Dwellers guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano, found a small but loyal cult when they released Tales on Small Stone in 2008. I’d expect no different for Dwellers, which teams Toscano with the rhythm section of SubRosa‘s last album, bassist Dave Jones and drummer Zach Hatsis. The album balances bluesy riffs and spacey ambience with terrifying ease, saving expansive jamming for its two side-closers while bolstering a classic songwriting feel elsewhere. A great mix and a welcome return from Toscano. Full review here.

Corrosion of Conformity, Corrosion of Conformity: I’ve got this slated to be reviewed tomorrow, and next week I’ll have my Q&A with bassist/vocalist Mike Dean posted, so between that, the live review Monday, and the announcement of their headlining tour, it’s an awful lot of C.O.C. around here lately. Can’t say they didn’t earn it. Their upcoming self-titled seems to distill about 30 years of growth into 11 high-quality tracks that not only recall the trio’s Animosity-era glory days, but push them further into places they’ve never gone before. It’s a fascinating and surprising album on a lot of levels, and I think once people have a chance to hear it, they’re going to really embrace what the band is doing.

Black Pyramid, II: A song from this went up just yesterday, so I admit, it’s on my mind lately, but the second LP from Massachusetts trio Black Pyramid is one of early 2012′s highlights for sure. If you don’t believe me, you can get it yourself ahead of its release date from MeteorCity at All That is Heavy, and when you do, I think you’ll find that it’s the melodies making the songs as epic as the riffs and the tales of battles and conquests. As the final statement from this incarnation of the band, it’s also the strongest work they’ve done yet.

There’s more, obviously. No matter how much you do, there’s always more. Records from The Devil’s Blood (which had its Euro release last year but will be out in North America this month), Infernal Overdrive (review here) and Sun Gods in Exile come to mind as being particularly killer, and in the “heard some already” category, the field expands to include the likes of Blood of the Sun, Pagan Altar, Stubb, Crippled Black Phoenix and others as well, so it already looks like it’s going to be a busy year.

The real challenge though is going to be narrowing tomorrow’s speculation picks down to just five. Not sure I’m going to be able to do it, but I’ll try my best.

Stick around — more tomorrow!

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Live Review: Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and Earthride in Philly, 12.31.11

Posted in Reviews on January 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

New Year’s Eve with Clutch, C.O.C. and Earthride — sometimes life just provides you with easy choices. I mean, really, there was no way in hell I was going to miss this show. The Patient Mrs. and I packed into the car early to get down to Philly well in advance of doors at the Trocadero, where just a couple months ago, I saw Kyuss lay waste to an eager crowd. I expect a lot of the same heads came out for Clutch, and who could blame them?

The thing about this show was that apparently the venue was giving everyone a ration of shit the whole night. From barring entry to those who had, say, recently ingested Robitussin in a recreational capacity, to a long drama involving my photo pass, to putting Earthride on before the listed start-time for the show, it was kind of a rough night, and there was a bit of tension. For my part, I stood on line waiting to get in while some couple cut in front of me and took an obscene amount of time to get their passes while Earthride played the first four songs of their total six (maybe seven) songs, which I watched through the open doorway.

Everyone’s gear backlined behind them, they were pressed to the front of the stage in a single line. Left to right it was Dave Sherman on vocals, guitarist Kyle Van Steinberg, drummer Eric Little and bassist Josh Hart, and I got inside in the middle of their playing “Earthride,” which was killer as always, although I’m legally required to note that the best gig I’ve ever seen them play was at Tommy Southard‘s wedding at Asbury Lanes in October. Still, they gave a proud showing of the Maryland underground, which they’re quickly coming to embody in everything they do.

Although I’ve only noted three of them, there were actually four bands on the bill. Kyng played after Earthride, and as I was busy trying to acquire a pass to shoot C.O.C. and Clutch — which, really, was why I drove the two hours to Philadelphia to the show — I missed them completely. My interest was minimal in the first place, but between pouting and calling in favors, I was otherwise occupied. Maybe some other time, or maybe not. I was just happy that by the time C.O.C. got going it all had worked out.

It was my first time seeing the trio lineup of Corrosion of Conformity. I’d previously sworn off going to see them on account of the lack of Pepper Keenan, but the three of them killed it. Given all the genre-melding that’s gone on since they released Animosity in 1985, it’s amazing how vibrant that material still sounds in its blend of thrash and hardcore punk, and bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin gave that material its due, staying honest in their portrayal of all sides of their sound, from Slayer to Black Flag to Sabbath, all within the span of a song. Dean and Mullin were notably tight, and Weatherman beat the living hell out of an already beaten guitar, and I almost immediately regretted not seeing them sooner.

The material was a decent mix of new and old. Animosity featured heavily, obviously, and they teased a “Hand of Doom” cover without following through (god damn it). From the forthcoming self-titled album, I’d been hoping for “Psychic Vampires,” but they broke out “Your Tomorrow” and “The Moneychangers” instead, which fit in well alongside some of the classics. Weatherman played through two Orange cabinets, and his tone was thick perhaps to the sacrifice of some of the precision in the faster parts, but sounded just right for “Vote with a Bullet” and “Deliverance,” which was a pleasant surprise and probably their biggest crowd reaction. Dean took the lead vocal and was backed by Mullin and Weatherman for the chorus, which had all the power of their punkier songs and the mid-paced groove that typified the Keenan era of the band.

C.O.C. closed with the title-track from 1987′s Technocracy EP, which was as suitable a finish as one could ask and possibly the tightest song they played. There was a long break while Clutch‘s gear was fired up and checked, and as I was driving, not drinking, I basically just stayed up front and waited for the band to start, which they did at 11:20. I didn’t know what the deal was with how they were going to handle midnight, whether they’d do a countdown or just say Happy New Year at the time or rock right through it or what, but I was willing to trust they had it all figured out. Clutch being introduced as they had been last time I saw them in Flint, Michigan (review here), by Chuck Brown‘s “We Need Some Money,” it was apparent right from the start that the crowd was ready to party. They hadn’t even started to play yet and people were singing along and dancing.

For my part, I stayed up front even after I was done taking pictures. They opened with “The Mob Goes Wild” — appropriate given the chaos ensuing — and were under way with no time to warm up, no time to get going, no build of momentum. Clutch came out, and Clutch kicked it. Hard and right in the ass with a yeti-sized boot. I was waiting for the new song “Newt Gingrich,” the wolfman-centric chorus of which had been stuck in my head for a few days thanks to a hefty dose of YouTube-ing, and when it finally arrived, it was tighter and clearer than it had been in Michigan. It was also one of two new inclusions in the set, and though the other — reportedly-titled “Pig Town Blues” — was harder to get a grasp on, it was also pretty straight-ahead rocking, and a good complement to the bluesy flow of “Newt Gingrich,” which is more typical of latter-day Clutch and in the vein of 2009′s Strange Cousins From the West, the rhythm of its chorus being quintessential Neil Fallon post-Elephant Riders.

“Pure Rock Fury” was a highlight and something I’d been hoping for. The night prior, at Starland Ballroom in Jersey, they’d unleashed “A Shogun Named Marcus,” “Spacegrass” and “50,000 Unstoppable Watts,” but Philly had its share of specialties as well. Fallon seemed to be in charge of the setlist, calling out changes to bassist Dan Maines, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and guitarist Tim Sult as they went along, switching the order in what was apparently an effort to line up midnight with a lengthy jam. While dueling with Gaster on cowbell, Fallon called out the countdown to 2012; four minutes, then three, then two, then one, then 30 seconds, 10, nine, eight and so on until it was “Happy New Year everybody!” and the band kicked almost instantly into “Animal Farm,” which, though it’s grown somewhat slower with age, lacked nothing for righteousness of groove.

I was glad to catch “Subtle Hustle” and “Mice and Gods” again, and “Freakonomics,” a fully-electrified version of “Regulator” (Fallon had some technical problems with his guitar, but once they got going it sounded great) and “Electric Worry” into “One Eye Dollar,” which finished the regular set at about 1AM. They came back out after a long break for what I had assumed because I saw it on the written setlist next to Gaster would just be “Big News I & II” but turned out to be that transitioning into “The Soapmakers” and then “Cypress Grove” and finally “Burning Beard” (someone please tell me if I’ve got that order wrong). By then, I’d been thoroughly rocked, and the decision to include not one but two drum solos in the encore was bold, to say the least, but though when it was over my feet would barely hold me up, I was glad as hell to have been able to see the show.

Dan Maines‘ tone had been particularly warm, Fallon was on as always, Tim Sult laid it down smooth and classy, and Gaster has more personality in his sticks than most drummers do in their whole kit, but it was time to split out. They finished and the crowd dispersed, leaving behind a disgusting, alcohol-covered floor, some discarded cups, and merch dollars. The Patient Mrs. and I walked the couple blocks back to the car and, at 1:35AM — set about the two-hour trip back north. Were I going to do it again, and I can only assume that at some point I will, I’d probably get a hotel room reserved ahead of time, but if 2012 had to start with me sleeping till noon on Jan. 1, it was well worth the tradeoff.

More pics after the jump.

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audiObelisk: Second Batch of Roadburn 2011 Streams Posted Online

Posted in audiObelisk on May 13th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Unfortunately, you can’t actually hear the moment when the mythical beast Sasquatch joined psychedelic rockers Dead Meadow on stage, but rest assured, their set was nonetheless a highlight of this year’s Roadburn festival. Along with performances by Corrosion of Conformity, Weedeater, Count Raven, Today is the Day and others, it’s just been posted in the second batch (first is here in case you missed it) of audio streams. You’ll find the links to the listening pages below. Please enjoy:

Corrosion of Conformity
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726666#ondemand.44726666

Circle with Pharaoh Overlord
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726676#ondemand.44726676

Count Raven
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726684#ondemand.44726684

Dead Meadow
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726688#ondemand.44726688

Lonely Kamel
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726693#ondemand.44726693

Ludicra
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726697#ondemand.44726697

The Secret
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726702#ondemand.44726702

Today is the Day
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726707#ondemand.44726707

Weedeater
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726713#ondemand.44726713

Winterfylleth
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44726718#ondemand.44726718

Special thanks as always to Walter and Roadburn for being generally awesome and allowing me to host the stream links. These sets and all live audio from the fest were recorded by Marcel Van de Vondervoort (of Astrosoniq) and his team at Spacejam Recording.

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Sat-r-dee C.O.C.

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 8th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

I could have driven into Brooklyn tonight to see The Might Could, and I might have, had I not been so content to live (allegedly) under the rock which I do. Or, how about, no. If I was going to spend too much money at a bar tonight, I’m glad it was my townie joint instead of the kind of place that leaves passive aggressive comments about how out of touch I am.

Because what I really need in my life is further exposure to underground heavy music.

Or, how about instead, a job that fucking pays a wage livable enough so I can move out of my mother in law’s house and into some hipster fucking neighborhood that I can pretend I’ve lived in forever. And furthermore, I’m drunk and fuck off.

We end this week with C.O.C. because I’ve been thinking about the Blind album since I did the Where to Start post on them two weeks ago. I’m going to have another Where to Start this coming week, and the interview with Kylesa, and a live review of the Olde Growth show I went to last night because I’m so out of touch with what’s happening in the underground that I spend my time in basements with 20-year-olds. Have I mentioned fuck off? Buy a Kings Destroy record.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend as much as I’ve enjoyed the Paulaner Oktoberfest tonight. In case you’ve missed it or haven’t signed up, the Official Beer Thread is one of my favorites on the forums.

Much love to The Acheron in Brooklyn and I hope to get out there soon.

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Where to Start: C.O.C.

Posted in Where to Start on December 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Before we get into this, let the record show that I didn’t start with the album I’m about to recommend. I began listening to Corrosion of Conformity (C.O.C.) with 1991′s Blind album. I was roughly 10 years old, and it was one of the first CDs I ever owned (as much as one can own something stolen from one’s older sister).

Some will say right off the bat my opinions on the band are skewed because of that — specifically since bassist Mike Dean didn’t appear on Blind — but I think it gives me a unique vantage point. I didn’t come aboard after the radio success of 1994′s Deliverance, and I don’t get all reminiscent for the reckless early days of C.O.C. on albums like 1985′s Animosity or their 1984 debut, Eye for an Eye.

The question at this point, especially since 2010′s reformation of the Animosity trio lineup of Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin, is which is better, the Southern metal style the band began to take on with Deliverance, or the crossover hardcore punk/thrash of their first two full-lengths?

Guitarist Pepper Keenan — who came aboard for Blind and wound up taking a leadership role in the band across subsequent albums until this latest C.O.C. incarnation — would seem to be the divisive figure. Also of Down, his growing involvement in C.O.C. could be seen as the impetus for the shift in direction, and I know there are some who think of the band in terms of pre- and post-Pepper.

Nonetheless, in looking at the long, storied, decades-spanning career of Corrosion of Conformity and trying to pick a single album to recommend to newcomers to the band, it would be easy to say, “Listen to Animosity,” since that album and new material in that same vein (they released a 7″ called Your Tomorrow on Southern Lord this year) is what they’re currently touring. But frankly, as someone who’s listened to C.O.C. for nearly two decades of his life, I can’t in good conscience do that.

Start with 1996′s Wiseblood.

There. I said it.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also check out Animosity or support Dean, Weatherman and Mullin as the current version of C.O.C., just that, if you’ve never heard them before, Wiseblood is the place to start.

For what it’s worth, their last album with Keenan in the band (to date; one never knows what the future will bring), 2005′s In the Arms of God, was also fantastic — maybe their best work in the Southern metal style — but without Wiseblood to put it in context, I don’t think it can be fully appreciated. Wiseblood refined the process Deliverance started, offered better songs in tracks like “King of the Rotten,” “Born Again for the Last Time,” “Goodbye Windows” and “The Snake Has No Head,” and gave us the quintessential C.O.C. ballad in “Redemption City.”

Especially for an album released on a major label (Columbia), it was gritty and raw and genuine — which the band would lose sight of on the 2000 follow-up, America’s Volume Dealer — and all parties, Dean, Weatherman, Mullin and Keenan, were present and accounted for. I really do believe that if you’re a new listener to the band and you want to figure out what the appeal of C.O.C. is, Wiseblood is going to help you get the best idea. It was a special moment in the band and some of the best heavy Southern metal ever written. Whatever happens with their lineup, future releases or reunions, nothing is going to change that.

Any arguments, cases for other records to be made, or agreement, please, leave a comment.

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