Stoner rock/sludge metal legends Corrosion of Conformity are back with their tenth studio album. Their first since reuniting with original vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan & first since 2014. No Cross No Crown was released on January 12th 2018 via Nuclear Blast.
There is a hefty weight of expectation surrounding No Cross No Crown but no-one need worry when the looming riff of The Luddite steps up. Sounding very much like mid-2000’s Corrosion it delivers plenty of stoner groove. As does the faster beat of Cast the First Stone, a track that stands out with its wicked guitar soloing.
Wolf Named Crow dials the quality up with some deep bassy notes & impressive guitar hooks. Little Man has a sludgy swagger, Forgive Me has a nice bit of rock bounce whereas Nothing Left to Say turns up the blues & provides a heighten level of bass.
Disappointingly though, Keenan’s voice isn’t what it used to be & most of the vocals are made up of him shouting gruffly. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not what it used to be & you can’t help but miss the distinctiveness of earlier performances.
The album is also filled with far too many irrelevant interludes, short bits of melody that seem no be nothing more than filler.
No Cross No Crown feels unfocused & could definitely have done with a bit more creative control. The expectations just aren’t being met even though it’s not a bad album. In fact, long-time COC fans will get a hell out of a kick out of the chugging guitars of Old Disaster and the old-school sounding E.L.M. However, you can’t help but get frustrated with the likes of the title track that wanders around lost before stepping off the cliff.
An overly long album comes to a close with A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void) & a cover of Queen’s Son and Daughter. The former is perfectly serviceable but not a patch on some of the other tracks that have come before on the album. While the latter is…odd.
Odd but surprisingly decent. However, it just serves to remind you that there is little in the way of imagination here.
No Cross No Crown is a good album, it just doesn’t quite hit the mark & throughout you won’t be able to shake the feeling that something just doesn’t feel right.
Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross No Crown Full Track Listing:
1. Novus Deus
2. The Luddite
3. Cast the First Stone
4. No Cross
5. Wolf Named Crow
6. Little Man
7. Matre’s Dream
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)
15. Son and Daughter (Queen Cover)
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As well as picking up the album through Amazon above, you can also find it over on Nuclear Blast’s webstore. You can also stream it via Spotify and Apple Music below. Find out more about Corrosion of Conformity on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 6/10