Twelve years. Twelve long years to be able to slap on the SOUL headphones, blaze some of the greatest Purple Kush in the land from the Montana Marijuana Company and let my mind drift back enigmatically to 1999 where times were simpler, the music was raw, grunge was fading and a band known as Corrsion of Conformity left its indelible mark upon my ears forever.
With their first album release in over twelve years Corrosion of Conformity continues to push themselves. With the assistance of Nuclear Blast® we as fans reap what was promised by Drummer, Reed Mullin himself, “Talking to Monte Conner, that we have known for beers and beers beers,“ he says laughingly and continues, “I promised him we would give him a killer fucking album and I think we did,“ “No Cross No Crown” does more than kills. It SLAYS!
The long wait is over. “I called Pepper up and casually mentioned that maybe we should play a couple of shows,“ Reed recalls, “Pepper said, ‘Let’s go to Europe and see if it works. ‘ So we loaded up our shit four times in one year!“ The result is an album that takes us back to the roots of C.o.C.. Alongside longtime Producer John Custer they were able to take each song on its own and track them completely individually. The brief interludes and amazing southern influences give the listener a chance to catch their breath before its right back to Corroding!
The Albums Roots
The first song the crew laid down was Wolf Named Crow, a straight up visceral ode to Pepper’s crazy looking black dog with blue eyes named CROW.
“I had a crazy-looking black dog with blue eyes named Crow,”Keenan explains. “I was walking him through the hood where I live in New Orleans and this young kid was tripping on my dog, going, ‘Damn! Is that a wolf?’ I said yeah. Then he goes, ‘What’s his name?’ And I said, ‘Crow.’ And he goes, ‘Damn! He got a wolf named Crow!’ Then he ran off telling his buddies and shit. And I was like, ding! So I took that idea and manipulated it into a song about being hunted.”
Knowing full well that expectations would be colossal and the album would be analyzed, scrutinized and picked through with Pepper Keenan back out in front.
“That was in the back of my mind the whole time,”Keenan acknowledges. “The big thing for me was trying to write songs that have the same attitude and caliber that we were used to doing. I didn’t wanna get out there like some 50-year old dude making a mediocre record.”
The album ironically bares its title and inspiration from a 1700s church that had been transformed into a performing arts center. The dressing room adorned with stained glass windows with one window in particular illustrating a man being persecuted with the quote “No Cross No Crown” emblazened across the bottom. Keenan added, “We’re not trying to be on a soapbox, but we used it as a catalyst to write songs around.”
The Music of “No Cross No Crown”
For those looking at an album that begins to define what this quartet has experienced through their tenure apart as well as together they need look no further than “No Cross No Crown“. This album defines the trials and tribulations these four men have experienced together and apart. “Being in a band is like being in a marriage. It has its ups and downs but in the end we are family and thats all that matters to us, “ Reed Mullin explained in our interview.
The album in its pure essesnce is real C.o.C. with hatchets buried and their lives in a place where they are in it for themselves and for the music. Not the trends and not whats hot or new.
“It’s an honor to be back out there and have an opportunity to do it again in a real way and not some washed-up reunion thing. Even before we wrote the record, we were out there for a year seeing there was a demand for it and that there was a void that we could fill. That’s been C.O.C.’s deal from day one. We’re not chasing anybody around. We’re not gonna worry about what the new trends are. C.O.C. is C.O.C.”
The Sabbath roots are more prevelant in this album as well as the raw and epic sounds that most are accustomed to hearing from C.0.C. The brief innerludes that are “No Cross“, “Matre’s Diem” and “Sacred Isolation” elegantly laced between the straight up Southern Rock and Stoner Infused riffs that C.o.C. is known for in “The Luddite“, “Little Man“, and “Forgive Me” make this an instant classic, just like a killer Scotch, however, “No Cross No Crown” has already aged a metalistic twelve years.
1. Novus Deus
2. The Luddite
3. Cast the First Stone
4. No Cross
5. Wolf Named Crow
6. Little Man
7. Matre's Diem
8. Forgive Me
9. Nothing Left to Say
10. Sacred Isolation
11. Old Disaster
13. No Cross No Crown
14. A Quest to Believe ( A Call to the Void)
Playing Time: 52 Minutes
Pepper Keenan | Guitars, Vocals
Reed Mullin | Drums
Mike Dean | Bass
Woody Weatherman | Guitars