To say Hellions had set some pretty high expectations for themselves with Opera Oblivia would …
A subtle heartbeat makes for a drudging opener to No Cross, No Crown, the tenth studio album from heavy metal legends, Corrosion Of Conformity. Hold on though…
Slow and mundane as the album’s intro may be, something awesome this way comes. The pensive intro paves the way for the colossal return of Pepper Keenan on vocal and guitar duties, and the question on the minds of many fans will surely be, can Corrosion of Conformity recapture what it was that made 1994’s Deliverance and follow-up Wiseblood so enthralling? The answer is, yes.
Keenan’s return is the selling point to this release but his diminished range means he sometimes lacks control, at times yodelling more than singing. And yet, it works. Pummelling through The Luddite, Keenan repeatedly cries the words ‘when the luddite returns’–does Keenan refer to himself? Subtle tones of glory redeemed aside and Corrosion Of Conformity continue as they set out, with unabashed determination through a raucously heavy set. There is however, one major pitfall.
Sombre instrumental interludes are a recurring theme in this release and are, quite frankly, annoying as hell and ruin the effect of the aggressiveness cast out in other tracks, notably the harmonies of guitarist Woodroe Weatherman. Not until Wolf Named Crow does the album come up with anything that could be likened to their infamous sound.
To any loyalist fans, No Cross No Crown will no doubt feel very familiar, and there’s definitely good things in that. At 15 tracks long however, several of those dainty buzzkill intermissions could be lost to the floor of the cutting room. Keenan’s return is the high you’ll get from this album, and after hearing it, you can rejoice in the fact that Corrosion Of Conformity are back.
STAND OUT TRACKS: The Luddite, Wolf Named Crow, Forgive Me
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Down, Pantera, Clutch