The thing I love most about COC is how every album sounds different than the one before it. “Blind” is more sonic and chorused, “Deliverance” adds a layer of mud to the sound, actually bringing out the chorus effect. “Wiseblood” sounds fantastic, the guitar sound is thick as peanut butter, taking the grunge element from grunge-rock and making it their own. If only grunge-rock sounded this good.That being said, COC have never really aimed to sound like your average metal band, but have striven (strived, strove?) over the years to make their sound their own; something like a overdriven, scooped, chorused, fuzzed and re-overdriven mash. Sounds ridiculous? Tell COC this. So unique is their sound that you can pick out COC solely by their sound on the Black Sabbath tribute album “Nativity in Black.” You can’t say that for other bands Megadeth, Biohazard, et al.The first three songs are standard COC tunes, establishing themes early on; love lost, political soap-boxing, downtrodden and unrecognized. The album really picks up at track four, “Goodbye Windows,” a song about drug use, their paralyzing effects. Guitars go between simmering overdrive, neck-pickups and low volume, to a boiling guitar as Pepper’s voice gets the proper distortion and echoing.Track seven, “Snake Has No Head” is classic COC political-rock, but more intelligent than U2 or Rage Against the Machines. The reason for this are the lyrics, that go something like this, “Keep the masses terrified… nothing left to lose, so we create another wound…” There are shades of “Bowling for Columbine” in there, which was released years after this album. Points to Pepper and Co.My favorite song is number eight, “Door.” Metallica actually tried to bum this riff off them in a bastardized form on “Reload” with “Bad Seed,” with James Hetfield singing “choking on the bad seed.” Nice semi-veiled reference to oral sex you bum. The COC song “Door” is by contrast better than anything on “Reload” and delivers the most important ingredient in metal – the heavy. I love the fuzzbox/wah-petal solo too.Hetfield actually shows up for backing vocals on “Man or Ash,” the heaviest song on the album. The saddest-song-in-the-world is “Redemption City.” “Wishbone” is my second favorite song off the album. “Fuel” is more fiery than the “Fuel” by an aforementioned band, only years before. See the pattern here? COC overtook Metallica in the heaviness category with this one, not that Metallica were doing anything to put up a fight. With all the soap-opera surrounding the “Biggest Band in the World,” COC have taken ‘er easy, churned out albums, stuck to their guns, and now they have more cred than the big boys. Funny how these things work out in the rock realm.
Corrosion of Conformity finally hit on the perfect lineup after a decade of shuffling members and knock out a bone crushing, yet astutely intelligent and passionate album. Wiseblood sounds not unlike its predecessor, Deliverance, with southern rock leanings and crushing Black Sabbathy riffs, but it’s more methodical and deliberate and less adrenaline-hyped overload. The band lets the songs stretch out and breathe, allowing the listener to fully soak in the big rock vibe, without having it furiously hammered home. –Adem Tepedelen
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C.O.C. have been around for a long time and have undergone many changes. While originally a hardcore punk band, they have always had an underlying sense of melody to go with the crunch. The addition of Pepper Keenan (formerly of Graveyard Rodeo) really signalled a turning point in the bands evolution that has reached a zenith with “Wiseblood.” This album is almost perfect, with crunching guitars, heartfelt lyrics, and a rhythmic punch rivalled by few in today’s tame rock market. They sound like a cross between Sabbath and Skynyrd, with a little attitude thrown in on top. All the tracks are good, but “king of the Rotten,” “Long Whip” and the title track are amazing rockers. In addition, this is the only album where James Hetfield makes a non-Metallica appearance, singing on “Man or ash.” With a new CD coming out next week (10/17/00), C.O.C. undoubtedly one of the best (if not most popular) hard-rock-heavy metal, stoner rock, thrash bands around. Check them out immediately if you lay any claim to being a rock music fanPaul M.
Indeed one of the most underrated and unrecognized bands I can think of, Corrosion of Conformity was doing the whole alt/metal thing before most people even heard of it. I had completely fallen in love with C.O.C.’s previous album, 1994’s “Deliverance”, and I thought then that that album couldn’t be topped. Well, I was wrong. Where as “Deliverance” had a laid back emotional feel to it, “Wiseblood” is filled with unrelenting southern blues inspired rock with a dash of heaviness. Pepper Keenan really shines on “Wiseblood”, songwriting and vocally speaking, andit’s a shame that his talents, and the rest of C.O.C.’s, go unrecognized. “King of the Rotten” starts off the album, and has quickly become one of my all time favorite songs, followed by “Long Whip/Big America” which showcases drummer Reed Mullin’s talents. The title track, “Born Again For the Last Time”, “The Door”, and “Fuel” are excellent tracks, but “Man or Ash” is a standout track that combines C.O.C.’s style with a more darker, sinister tone (is that James Hetfield I hear singing as well or am I hallucinating?). All in all, if you’ve never listened to C.O.C. before, but you like bands like Down (Pepper’s other band with Pantera’s Phil Anselmo), Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, or Pantera, then you’ll dig C.O.C., and to say that “Wiseblood” and “Deliverance” are must haves is an understatement.
COC is my favorite band and this disc will show you why. There is so much depth and emotion here that you cannot listen without being moved. It is a heavy, swaggering romp into metal euphoria. Fuel (has nothing to do with the Metallica song of the same name) is the best song ever written. Period.
4.5 stars. Mix Black Sabbath with Motorhead, throw in a dash of Jimi Hendrix attitude and riffage, play at high volume for about an hour, and what you have is “Wiseblood” by C.O.C. This is the album that I return to the most. While the previous album, “Deliverance,” has many great songs, it also has a modicum of filler material. On “Wiseblood” there is no filler, whatsoever. Their follow-up to this, “America’s Volume Dealer,” has no filler, but is also radio-ready, and grows tired after a few spins. But “Wiseblood” does not grow old. In fact, the more times I hear it, the more I appreciate the attempt at updating their influences with mid-90s studio production value. Speaking of the Jimi Hendrix vibe on this album, every once in a while Pepper Keenan ends a lyric with a soft “yeah.” Like on the song “Redemption City”: “So we sing this simple sooooooong! (yeah)” This band has freely admitted to using Black Sabbath as a template for their style, but every once in a while a Motorhead influence comes through. Just check out the riffs and no-nonsense attitude on the song “Wishbone(some tomorrow).” Anyway, this is the album I listen to the most, with “Deliverance” running a distant, but respectable second. “America’s Volume Dealer” is good for a few spins or more if you like Heavy Metal with Pop Metal gloss, but “Wiseblood” is their best. Later.