Corrosion Of Conformity – Sleeping Martyr: 2000-2005: Album Review

Corrosion Of Conformity have their early noughties output has been collated by Cherry Red Records featuring America’s Volume Dealer, Live Volume and In the Arms Of God.

Released: 26th November 2021

Label: Cherry Red Records

Format: CD / Digital

Corrosion of Conformity were formed in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1982. Originally a hardcore punk band recording for indie labels, by the 1990s they had moved towards a more southern tinged heavy metal sound, eventually finding mainstream success on Columbia Records, while being championed by famous fans such as Metallica who they supported in the late 90’s.

By 2000, Corrosion Of Conformity had shortened their name to COC, signing a deal with Sanctuary Records for ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ featuring the line-up of Down’s Pepper Keenan on lead vocals and guitar, founder member Woodroe Weatherman on guitar, Mike Dean on bass and Reed Mullin on drums. With a more polished sound, the album was produced by John Custer, who’d worked with the band since 1991’s ‘Blind’.

Kicking off with the single, Over Me, this edition features the European bonus tracks Rather See You Dead and Steady Roller (Demo Version). Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers Band guests on slide guitar for Stare Too Long’ which is a country tinged downbeat rocker. On the flipside, COC also brought the voracious Gittin’ It On into people’s lives on Americas Volume Dealer. Whilst having all the tropes of their more southern sound, there are tinges of the bands’ punkier past. In addition to this, the explicit Rather See You Dead is further down the punk railroad.

After almost 20 years of playing and recording, 2001 was the perfect time for Corrosion Of Conformity to take stock and release their first live album, ‘Live Volume’. As well as recent tracks such as Zippo and Diablo Blvd from America’s Volume Dealer, the set includes plenty of COC classics. Recorded at Harpos Concert Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on April 20, 2001, Down and Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower stepped in to play drums.

According to Pepper Keenan in the liner notes, the live album was put out so that the new label would have some songs from the back catalogue to put out. With this release they had access to Albatross and Vote With A Bullet. The former is an absolutely huge slice of Southern sludge rock. Dense riffs, groovy hooks and pounding drums all power the song. Vote With A Bullet has more pace and is more crunchy. Other highlights include Long Whip / Big America and the extended Clean My Wounds which rounds out the set.

Fans would have to wait until 2005 for the release of COC’s seventh studio album, In The Arms Of God. The only studio record not to feature founder member Reed Mullin. Stanton Moore played drums, joining Pepper Keenan, Woodroe Weatherman and Mike Dean.

Stone Breaker opens the album in epic fashion with organ and blazing guitar solos before the band come together in bombastic fashion. In the early stages of the album, the pace is unrelenting. Paranoid Opioid follows up Stone Breaker imperiously. It Is That Way is a little slower and sludgy in tempo, but it is no less devastating. With this being the follow up to America’s Volume Dealer and the success that album brought, you can hear the band continuing to grow in confidence. Whilst Mullins was absent behind the drums, Stanton Moore slots in seamlessly. So Much Left Behind, Rise River Rise and Crown Of Thorns show the band still reaching for elements of diversity in their sound to keep things fresh. In The Arms Of God is another essential record for fans of hard rock.

The collection features comments from Pepper Keenan as well as the esteemed, and sadly recently departed, Malcolm Dome. As you would expect, Dome speaks lovingly of a great band that have worked their backsides off to get where they are now. Sleeping Martyr is a brilliant snapshot of a band in transition but also at the top of their game; it is a brilliant jumping off point for anyone wanting to get into Corrosion Of Conformity.

Check out Over Me from America’s Volume Dealer below.

Corrosion Of Conformity: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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