Corrosion Of Conformity
Interview by Dillon Collins
For the first time in 13 years, since 2005’s In the Arms of God, Pepper Keenan has returned to helm the lords of sludgy southern rock Corrosion of Conformity. Alongside longtime staples Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin, C.O.C. is set to release their first album in four years, and their first signed with Nuclear Blast, No Cross No Crown.
Leadoff singles Wolf Named Crow and Cast the First Stone are a good indicator that the 10th record overall in the C.O.C. saga is bound to go down as an absolute classic.
“When I first started talking to Monte Conner from Nuclear Blast, like three or four years ago, when he caught wind of the fact that Pepper and I had been talking and had been talking about getting back together, he said that he doesn’t care whoever else is out there. “Deliverance just isn’t one of my favourite C.O.C. records, it’s one of my favourite records and I’m going to sign you guys. If you’re really serious about playing, then let’s do it,” recalls drummer and founding member of C.O.C. Reed Mullin.
“I said I can absolutely promise you this is one of our best records ever and I can guarantee that. We have so much energy behind us right now, so much wind behind our back, so many old fans stoked and new fans to come. We’ve got a great record deal and I think we made one of the best records we’ve ever done.”
Keenan rejoined C.O.C. in a touring/performance capacity in 2014. It was more of a when than if in terms of hitting the studio and flushing out a new record. As Mullin puts it, all the stars aligned perfectly, and there was a certain intangible, an impossible to define electricity, that ‘spawned No Cross No Crown.
“Everything was sounding so good live and had such a good vibe,” Mullin recalls. “Are we going to be able to replicate this energy? Doing the perfect take is one thing, but holding energy, that’s the magic and that’s one of the great things that our producer John Custer has been able to get out of us. Part homage to classic C.O.C. era that produced such staples Deliverance and Wiseblood, and part a brave new step forward for a band that has seemingly not shown any signs of ware of creative fatigue, No Cross No Crown is an early contender for album of the year, and one that will be hard to unseat in the coming months.
You’ve got to capture that energy. That’s where the magic is,” says Mullin. “All the old classic heavy metal bands, classic rock bands, Master of Puppets and stuff like that, they had a thing about them. I think we were fortunate to be able to get it.
“I think we afforded ourself the ability to be loose, to have that ambiance and that energy that I haven’t felt in a long time. Not just in C.O.C., but in general. We did some playing, some jamming, and it just felt so right that we kind of took that vibe and between us and John Custer, who was exceptional at recording it, I think we captured it. There’s something about this record that’s really special. I’m really incredibly proud of it.
C.O.C. is currently in the midst of a North American tour with Black Label Society, Red Fang and Eyehategod. For tour dates and for more on No Cross No Crown visit coc.com
MHF Magazine/Dillon Collins