Personally, I have been a fan of the “Pepper Keenan” Corrosion of Conformity. Don’t think that I underestimate or downsize the importance of the records they have released without him. Not at all. However, it is with my great pleasure, anticipation, and joy that I listened to “No Cross No Crown”. And this is because it is a persuasive and solid come back of him on the guitar and of course vocals. It is a return to the old days when the riffs had his trademark thick layer and his grinding vocals made you wanna grab a beer and headbang to the rhythm of the song. This is a fucking great album. And yes, it is a fucking Corrosion of Conformity album. No doubt about it.

It is absolutely clear that the band is also back full throttle. Their bonding, their music chemistry, their playing together again makes this record a unique one and it actually never “left the building”. It has always been there, even underneath, the surface, taking its time and showing up at the right time. It is one solid, iron fist ready to punch you in your face and this powerful feeling is spread out all over in the record. Everybody is in great shape. Mike Dean and Reed Mullin provide a compact and strong based background so that Pepper and Woody Weatherman can deliver the emblematic and so inspiring Corrosion of Conformity guitar riffs in an emphatic and determined way. This record has beautiful heavy riffs, thundering bass lines, and definite drumming, all three contributing to how the bands wants to sound and also, how we want them to sound! What a coincidence! But, hey, from the first seconds of the opening track “Novus Deus” until the grand finale “A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void)” what is remarkable is how well and strongly composed the songs are and also there is a characteristic and delicate balance between heaviness and a more mellow/lyrical tone. Such as “No Cross”, “Matre’s Diem” where the acoustic guitar adds a different feeling that soothes your ear and soul. Those interludes also contribute to how awesome this record is. Of course, the heavy, tasteful, Sabbath-like riffs are everywhere, you couldn’t expect it to be different though… Perfect! We are talking about a massive, heavy, southern and kick-ass record that is not here to rediscover copper, but it will definitely kick your butt, and in my humble opinion can also take place as a classic-sounded record for Corrosion of Conformity. Well… Since 2015 that the band reunited, toured and gathered up to write and release new stuff, it was greatly worth it.

♦ 8/10

Antonis Mantzavinos