The year is 1888, the island of Obsidian serves as a refuge for free thinkers …
When three teenagers in Raleigh, North Carolina set upon playing loud music to piss off their parents, they never envisioned becoming the naughty messiahs of hardcore and metal.
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Their first four albums, Eye for an Eye, Animosity, Technocracy, and Blind set them apart from both scenes while at the same time, finding a home in both. Corrosion of Conformity are one of the seminal “Southern sludge” bands, with iron-forged links to what we now consider grandfathers of the genre: Down, Eyehategod, Crowbar. A real rarity was their ability to have songs and albums hit mainstream charts—with five entries on the US Heatseekers Chart, including a #1 with 2005’s The Arms of God. Celebrating their legendary career, the band is coming back to Australia in 2020, reuniting “golden age” singer Pepper Keenan with founder and guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean, and drummer Reed Mullin. In honour of these pioneers of punk and monsters of metal, we’ve found seven things that make you go “Hmm…” about CoC.
Theirs ain’t the summer of love
If you want to get all ~nerdy~ and shit, Corrosion of Conformity is one of the few bands uniting hardcore and metal scenes in one love. They were as much into Black Sabbath as they were Black Flag, a rarity in the ‘keep ’em separated’ mentality of scenedom back then. 1984’s debut Eye for an Eye slots right into a Dead Kennedys or Minor Threat bracket on some underground radio station. Crazy, huh?
Best band member names ever? Pretty much
Corrosion of Conformity was founded by guitarist a man by the name of Woody Weatherman, which is kind of the blokiest name ever. Got a flat tyre? Is a bear gnawing at your leg? Call in Woody Weatherman. Has guitar, will travel. It gets better: their first vocalist was a guy called Simon Bob Sinister. When he left in 1986, they recruited vocalist and rhythm guitarist Pepper Keenan. It’s like they all met each other as kids when their parents dragged them along to a vegan cyclist convention. Explains a lot, right?
The Southern Fried Connection
When Keenan became full-time vocalist on 1994’s Deliverance, he attracted the attention of the emerging New Orleans sludge/stoner scene. In 1995, Keenan took a brief break from Corrosion of Conformity to play for Phil Anselmo’s heavy-as-balls Down a sludge/groove supergroup by today’s standards, it featured Keenan, Anselmo, Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod, and Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange of Crowbar. Their 1995 debut NOLA went on to become one of the definitive “Southern sludge” records.
The Birmingham Connection, Innit
On Eye for an Eye, they covered an early Fleetwood Mac cut, The Green Manalishi. Fuzzing it up with buzzsaw distortion stripped the hippie-inspired original of its forest-frolicking, flowers-in-hair vibes. Owing to their love for metal as well as hardcore, British Steelers Judas Priest famously covered the song on 1979’s Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather. For Halford’s wrecking crew, it’s a crowd pleaser to this day.
When you think about it, Metallica and studio “collabs” don’t really go hand in hand. Sure, you get British singer Marianne Faithfull on The Memory Remains and Lou Reed…actually, I’d rather not talk about that. EVER. But the weathered voice of James Hetfield sears single Man or Ash, Keenan returning the favour on Garage, Inc’s cover of equally Southern fried Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s Gone.
Names in Lights
As one of the seminal hardcore-metal crossovers, Corrosion of Conformity’s music got played in films as they were unmistakably heavy, cut both ways in terms of sound, and well, had good tunes. Their most famous example is Big Problems featured in Kevin Smith’s Clerks. Would you play this song 37 times? In a row? Their second single from their 1994 Deliverance album, Clean My Wounds, played in Tekken: The Motion Picture. Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are, friend.
Corrosion of Conformity fans are called…
Corrosion of Conformity fans. What did you think they were called, CoC-heads or something?
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2020
ADELAIDE // Wednesday, 5th February // Lion Arts Factory
PERTH // Thursday, 6th February // Amplifier Capitol
MELBOURNE // Friday, 7th February // Max Watt’s House of Music
BRISBANE // Saturday, 8th February // Crowbar
SYDNEY // Wednesday, 12th February // Crowbar
EDIT 4/12: The original version of this article omitted their Technocracy album in error. This has been corrected.