2017 album. Nuclear Blast.
Whenever North Carolina group Corrosion Of Conformity releases a new album, folks take notice. But their latest is a true event. It’s been a dozen years since C.O.C. recorded new material with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan at the helm. In that time, there have been rumours, whispers and outright allegations that the legendary Southern rock outfit would reunite to blow the doors off the whole damn scene again. In 2014, after nearly a straight decade traversing the globe as a guitarist with New Orleans supergroup Down Keenan reconnected with the core C.O.C. trio of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin to hit the road hard. “Reed called me and mentioned maybe playing a couple shows,” Keenan recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s just go to Europe and see if it works.’ So we went to Europe and then ended up going back four times in one year. Then Nuclear Blast gave us an offer and we didn’t even think about going anywhere else. We ended up touring for a year and then started tracking about ten or 11 months ago.”
The long wait is over. Corrosion Of Conformity have returned with ‘No Cross No Crown’ , an album that somehow sounds as though no time has passed between 2005’s ‘In The Arms Of God’ and today. Some of these new jams sound like could’ve easily been on ‘Wiseblood’ or ‘Deliverance,’ two of C.O.C.’s most revered records. “Yeah, that was kind of intentional,” Keenan nods. “We weren’t trying to manipulate it to sound like other records, but that type of songwriting is what we do. It was important that we made an album - I didn’t want to write ten or twelve songs in the same key with the same guitar tone or some shit. We took each song on its own and tracked ’em completely individually.”
The album’s iconic title comes from a recent tour stop in England. “We were playing this old church from like the 1700s that had been turned into a performing arts center,” Keenan recalls. “The dressing room had stained glass windows and one of them showed this poor fella being persecuted. Underneath it said, ‘No cross no crown.’ So I just took that idea. We’re not trying to be on a soapbox, but we used it as a catalyst to write songs around.”
'No Cross No Crown’ stands as irrefutable proof of C.O.C.’s ability to overcome. “C.O.C. and the prior records I’ve done with them didn’t just go away,” Keenan observes. “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.”