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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Corrosion of Conformity

Sleeping Martyr 2000-2005

Review by Gary Hill

I've always had a bit of a fascination with Corrosion of Conformity. I like stoner metal in general, probably because I'm a huge Black Sabbath fan. So, that means CoC seems an obvious choice for me. While I've heard them over the years, though, I've never heard a full album of their before, and I've never owned any of their music. This is a good place to start. This three CD set includes two studio albums and one live one. Each presents a slightly different image of the band. Each has plenty of killer music on it, too. The thing with the music here, a lot of this is similar from song to song (making the track by track a bit of a challenge), but each piece has its own unique identity.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
CD ONE:
                     
America's Volume Dealer (2000)
                  
Over Me

I really love the heavy, yet catchy, riff that brings this song in. It drops to a mellower approach for the almost psychedelic meets alternative rock groove for the first vocals. This powers out into some fierce metal from there. The cut works through playing with those two concepts.

Congratulations Song
I dig the rawer, yet super rubbery and catchy, groove on this number. It's not a huge change, but it is a strong cut.
Stare Too Long
I wouldn't really consider this to be a metal song. It's built on a combination of alternative rock and jam band, roots music concepts. It's a classy piece. It does get a bit heavier at the end.
Diablo Blvd
We're back into heavier, stoner metal territory on this screamer. It seems even fiercer after the contrast provided by the previous piece.
Doublewide
I really love the guitar sound on the late sections of this track. This is another powerhouse stoner metal tune.
Zippo
There is a killer funky groove as this screamer gets underway. This is one of the best tunes here. It just oozes cool. The riffing is so tasty on this killer rocker.
Who’s Got The Fire
There is a healthy helping of funk rock in the mix here, too. Call it what you like, but this screamer is another highlight.
Sleeping Martyr
I dig the mellower, rather roots rock based approach as this track gets underway. After the first vocal section, it screams out into a killer metal riff-driven section. This is a powerhouse with a real classic sound to it. It alternates between the mellower and more stomping as it continues.
Take What You Want
This is another powerhouse rocker. My one complaint is that it fades down to end right as it seems about to really explode.
13 Angels
More laid back and almost mysterious as it gets going, this just oozes cool from the start It has a great classic rock vibe in place. For some reason this makes me think of what you might get if Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" was merged with Jimi Hendrix. It drives out with some seriously hard rocking sounds later.
Gittin’ It On
This a raw, screaming stomper. It has a real punk meets metal feel to it.
Bonus Tracks:
            
Rather See You Dead

Studio banter at the start of this definitely earns a parental advisory, but so does the song. The song is fierce and screaming with a raw punk metal energy.

Steady Roller (Demo Version)
Another gritty and raw stomper, this has some great guitar soloing. It's a mean tune that works well.
DISC TWO:
                  
Live Volume (2001)
                        
These Shrouded Temples
After some extended live atmosphere, they fire out into a smoking hot stoner metal jam. This is so meaty, so classy and so cool. It's a smoking opening instrumental.
Diablo Blvd.
This seems to come straight out of the last piece. It drops to a more stripped back arrangement for the entrance of the vocals. It fires out into more driving metal at times, too. This is another that oozes cool.
Senor Limpio
More screaming hot stoner metal, this is a real powerhouse. It's not a big change from that which came before it, but it really rocks like crazy. I love the tasty guitar soloing on this. The sound is so classic.
King Of The Rotten
Mean and driving, this is another tasty slab of stoner metal. There is a bit of a garage band texture to this one brought by the backing vocals.
Wiseblood
While it's not a huge change, this has some really cool hooks and riffs. It's another heavy and fierce stomper.
Who’s Got The Fire
Again, not a paradigm shift by any means, this is just another killer slab of stoner metal. It does earn a parental advisory.
Albatross
The guitar brings this in tentatively. A killer riff climbs in and takes control.
My Grain
There is some killer fast-paced bass work on this screaming hot rocker. I really love this song. It's one of the standouts on the whole set. There is a killer back and forth instrumental section on this, too. It drops to a section that includes just the rhythm section as the background for the vocals. They fire out with fierce, driving metal from there, though.
Congratulations Song
Fierce and screaming hot this is another winner here. This is definitely meaner than the studio version.
13 Angels/7 Days
As heavy as the other stuff here has been, nothing has prepared us for this. It's even heavier at times. Yet it also has some cool melodic moments. It works to some mellower stuff, but it's still more metal-based than it was on the studio album.
Vote With A Bullet
Continuing with more driving, powerhouse stoner metal, this is on fire, too.
Zippo
While not any kind of big change, this is another effective stoner metal screamer.
Long Whip/Big America
You get the basic idea of what you get here from all that's come before. That said, this is its own thing. I love the guitar solo section on this. The whole thing rocks like crazy, though.
Shelter
Now here we get a change. This comes in mellower with more of a mainstream rock sound. The piece feels sort of jam-band like. The harder rocking section further down the road takes it more into metal territory, but it's still tempered with that jam band kind of thing.
Clean My Wounds
Somehow the main riff on this makes me think of Thin Lizzy to some degree. This is another classy metal stomper. A trippy jam mid-track features some cool echoey guitar and funky bass work.
DISC THREE:
                         
In The Arms of God (2005)
                                                    
Stone Breaker

A dramatic, trippy introduction starts this song. They fire out from there with a killer riff driven section before a new Sabbath-like jam takes over from there. This includes an unusual slowed down section. Beyond that, though, it's a pretty mainstream, but heavy and cool, COC stoner metal stomper.

Paranoid Opioid
Frantic and seriously screaming, this ups the ante. It's such a strong tune. I love the riffs, the anger and the energy.
It Is That Way
More typical stoner metal is in the driver's seat here. The guitar soloing is purely on fire.
Dirty Hands Empty Pockets (Already Gone)
There is a dropped back with more or less spoken vocals that makes me think of what you might get if Frank Zappa worked with ZZ Top. This thing screams out beyond that movement, though into some seriously fierce stoner metal. This gets a parental advisory.
Rise River Rise
This comes in with a real psychedelic vibe that makes me think of Led Zeppelin to some degree. It gets more rocking as it continues by intensifying, rather than changing the concept.
Never Turns To More
The extended introduction to this has a psychedelic feeling to it, too. These guys fire out into fierce and meaty metal screaming from there. This is another powerhouse stomper. It's an extensive cut that really stands tall. 
Infinite War
Aggressive, screaming hot stoner metal is on display here. This is fast and furious. It's also exceptionally cool.
So Much Left Behind
Less fierce, this reminds me a little of Godsmack, but then parts of it work out into Zeppelin-like zones. Yet, we get some serious stoner metal in the mix at points, as well.
The Backslider
This has some particularly tasty riffs. Given the competition here, that says a lot.
World On Fire
While no big changes are to be found here, when it's this good, who cares? This is another smoking hot slab of stoner metal. The guitar soloing makes me think of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I'm not overly happy that they fade it down during that awesome section, rather than continuing it for a bit longer.
Crown Of Thorns
Sound effects give way to a count in. The acoustic guitar and vocal movement that takes over from there calls to mind Guns 'N Roses to some degree. The track takes on more of a psychedelic rock vibe as it grows slightly out from there. There are some sound-bites in the mix, and some minor arrangement changes as it work into the instrumental section. It feels a little unsettling to me. That instrumental section ends the piece.
In The Arms Of God
The galloping sort of riff that opens this cut really makes me think of Black Sabbath. This works outward from such majestic beginnings in style. This has some twists and turns, but overall is a smoking hot metal screamer. This is one of the fiercest and most effective pieces of the whole set. It really does make for a dramatic ending. There is a mellower, dropped back mode around the four-and-a-half-minute mark. It grows out gradually from there with some pretty dramatic textures. A spoken vocal part is heard as it continues. The cut drives upward after that into a powerhouse metal instrumental movement. That instrumental movement eventually ends the song.
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