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Released: Jul 1, 2014
Genre: Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal, Crossover Thrash
Label: Candlelight Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
Corrosion of Conformity is back... kind of. Pepper Keenan hasn't officially jumped ship on COC, but he isn't actually present, either. The rest of the band rallies and pulls off a respectable release without him.
IXFeatured review by: UG Team, on july 08, 2014 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Corrosion Of Conformity initially formed as a punk hardcore band in the early '80s, but by the early '90s they had changed/mutated to a much more straightforward heavy metal sound. A lot of their metal sound came after Pepper Keenan joined in 1989, though recently he is a kind of "absent member" of the band - while still officially a part of the band, he hasn't been taking part in writing, recording, or performing as he's focusing more of his attention on his side project supergroup, Down. "IX" is, of course, the ninth studio album by Corrosion Of Conformity (or CoC). There are 11 tracks on the album with an approximate runtime of 42 minutes. If I just briefly described the sound of the band and this album I would probably draw a lot of lines back to early Black Sabbath - essentially this is southern metal with a lot of focus on riffs and quirky melodies. The album is being released by Candlelight Records, the same record company who released their last album.
The album opens up with "Brand New Sleep," which starts out with a distorted melody with a lot of feedback and vibrato on the guitar. The track morphs to have a harmonized modulated second guitar part during the melody, and periods of straight forward riffing. "Elphyn" opens up with the sounds of a storm, and from there some groove-heavy riffing - with a strong groove something that is present through much of the album, which is how a southern metal album should be. "Denmark Vesey" has a punk rock type of intro, and is slightly reminiscent of CoC's sound before they adopted a more straightforward metal sound and with lyrics like "Kill Kill Kill Denmark Vesey!" you can't go wrong. "The Nectar" has an almost Danzig meets Black Sabbath type of vibe to it - mainly the Danzig vibe coming from the way Mike Dean enunciates or his cadence for the vocals on this track. "Interlude" is a beautiful and clean track that lasts for a little less than a minute. "On Your Way" is basically the lead single from the album, though I'm not sure it was ever officially released as a "lead single." Honestly, it isn't the best track or even the second best track on the album. It has an infectious little riff that can get inside your head, though. "Trucker" starts out with a strong melody and along with the bassline is definitely one of my favorite tracks. After the extended instrumental intro the track morphs into a lot of fast-paced riffing. "The Hanged Man" has a cool intro with the sound of a an old timey acoustic blues track along with the "whoosh whoosh" sound I connect to trying to play records backwards. The song changes it up to a straight rocker from there. "Tarquinius Superbus" seems like a "space metal" thrash track - I found a lot to like about the energy on this track. "Who You Need to Blame" is taking a lot of advantage to the band's sonic resemblance to Black Sabbath - with sludgy blues-centric metal riffing galore and tons of groove. The album closes out with "The Nectar Revisited" which opens up with a short drum solo, and goes into some slow and smooth-as-molasses riffing. The track is just a little over a minute and fades out pretty quick at the end so that it more seems to fade out in the middle than ever actually coming to an end. At the end of the day this is an enjoyable album. I didn't mention the guitar solos individually, but there is an abundance of solo work, and it all is coming from the sludgy blues aesthetic and very enjoyable to my ears. // 8
Lyrics: Bassist, Mike Dean, contributes vocals on the album, much like the previous self-titled release. I tend to like Pepper Keenan's vocals better, but nothing to do about it. Mike does a passable job, and at times he really shines, but he doesn't quite have the projection or confidence of Pepper. The lyrics seem to range anywhere from clever, to simplistic, to a little goofy, and then back again. I'm not complaining - that is just how I generally feel towards metal lyrics. // 7
Overall Impression: I liked their self-titled album a lot, and at first I felt kind of disappointed with "IX" because after my first listen nothing really stood out to me as exceptional, but with each subsequent listen the album really began to grow on me… so it is one of those types of albums that takes a minute but it definitely is worthwhile after you give yourself some time to get into it. My favorite tracks with probably be "Tarquinius Superbus," "Elphyn," and "The Nectar Revisited." I don't dislike any tracks from the album, and I think it is a solid release. I would, however, love to see Pepper being involved with future stuff by the band again. // 8