Review by Kristin Welcome
I tend to seldom use the word Epic, as to me it denotes something worthy of gargantuan proportions; tales of mythic battles, and valiant heroes returned from their quest. However, if you are a Metal fan, and indeed a Corrosion of Conformity fan, “No Cross-No Crown” is nothing short of just that. Epic. In fact, it was one of the most challenging reviews I have had to write, and yet, one of the most enjoyable to do. For at which point do you stop listening and put pen to paper, and actually write something. What could I say any differently than all the major Rock and Metal outlets aren’t already saying.
Of course, it’s important to take note that this album is already sitting at the number 3 Top Hard Music according to Billboard, number 2 on The Doom Charts, and number 1 independent album according to Billboard. For Metal fans this is most likely one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and possibly longer. This marks the twelve years, and long awaited, return of Pepper Keenan back to the band. The album harkens back to beloved C.O.C albums such as “Deliverance” and “Wiseblood”; yet marks the band’s ninth studio album. At a time where so many bands, which share the same season as C.O.C have all but scheduled retirement, Keenan with experience in his voice, delivers a Metal testimony; a strong message, the band will be making no such plans, any time soon.
I must have listened to the album at least fifteen times before writing the review. With over an hour worth of music, and at the level of craftsmanship it delivers; every listen reveals something new. One of the tracks describes the album well; “A Quest to Believe (A Call to The Void”, which the album is an entrance so to speak into a musical void; where Doom, Sludge, Southern Rock, Metal, and subtle Blues undertones greet you. The album with a collection of fifteen tracks; to include instrumental interludes, is a mystical, and perhaps somewhat mythic journey to unfold. It’s a great album to cruise in your car and listen to, and you will enjoy that; but it is an album that demands a further meditation, and undivided attention to unravel all the nuances and levels of masterful proficiency.
From Biker infused heavy hitters like “The Luddite”, “Cast the First Stone”, and “Elm” to deep grooving tracks like “Little Man”, and “Old Disaster”, to heavy laden Doom filled tracks like “Forgive Me” and “No Cross-No Crown”; the darkest of tracks, and in turn the title track; the album will be sure to entrance the listener. Yet you will find yourself head banging and rocking out at other times. The vibe is trippy, and yet the more you listen the more the technical prowess of the band is revealed. You also cannot mistake the deeply seasoned, and velvety at times, southern infused vocals of Keenan; from screams, melodies, to gothic chants he commands the song like a mystical wizard his magic. The album is art to me in the highest form a Rock album can epitomize, and should be revered in that sense. I would recommend sitting down with this album, giving it undivided attention, and letting it take you where Keenan commands.
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