When news emerged in 2015 that the Pepper Keenan-fronted incarnation of Corrosion Of Conformity had reunited for a tour, fans of top quality rock/metal breathed a collective sigh of relief. After all, it had been ten years since the mercurial majesty of In The Arms Of God and we needed our fix! Fast forward to 2018 and with No Cross, No Crown, COC are the first of rock and metal’s ‘big hitters’ to drop new music….but was it worth the wait?
The answer to that particular question is abso-fucking-lutely!
After a short intro, it takes “The Luddite” just fifteen seconds to usher in that signature COC groove, followed a few seconds later by Keenan’s full throated howl and, suddenly, all is good in our world – the guys are back and kicking a serious amount of ass.
The fact that this particular COC incarnation hadn’t played or recorded with each other for ten years has not dulled their passion for great music. “Cast The First Stone”, “Wolf Named Crow” and “Remember Me” are simply top quality songs; classic rock played with pure passion and delivered with the intensity of a Deep South, fire and brimstone preacher. The chemistry is still there too with the outstanding “Nothing Left To Say” climaxing with an extended jam session – bringing home what a great partnership Keenan and fellow guitarist Woody Weatherman truly have. It’s also great to hear Reed Mullin battering seven shades of shit out of his kit after a health scare forced him to stop touring in 2016.
While this is a band reunited and reinvigorated, anyone looking for a quick fix may have to look elsewhere. No Cross, No Crown contains a handful of short interludes which impatient, attention-addled listeners may skip and this is undoubtedly a Corrosion Of Conformity album that’s not as immediate as Deliverance or Wiseblood. However, No Cross, No Crown does slowly reveals itself to be the equal of both those genre-defining releases, if you’re willing to give it the focus it deserves.
America’s Volume Dealers are back in a big way. Too soon to name an album of the year? Don’t count on it! 9/10
No Cross No Crown was released on January 12, 2018 via Nuclear Blast Records.