Review Summary: Largely overproduced, this album contains some good moments. An essential part of C.O.C.'s catalog and a must hear for any C.O.C. fan. Just be aware of what you are getting yourself into before you listen.
The theory of evolution is an interesting topic. Corrosion of Conformity should know a lot about this theory as it is extremely relevant to their musical catalog. From the punk/thrash crossover of their early days to the more straightforward, slower metal of albums like "Deliverance" and "Blind" we come to another step in the theory of C.O.C's evolution.
Four years after the commercially unsuccessful but well rounded album "Wiseblood" (which eventually led Sony Records to drop the band) comes "America's Volume Dealer" (AVD for short). Like a slightly overcooked steak, AVD is overproduced but still has some taste to it. The opening guitar of the first track "Over Me" instantly let's us know that this album has a lot of BBQ sauce put on top of it. This album is not relative to the rough, heavy, garage-sounding metal we had known C.O.C. for from their previous 3 albums. The sound production is very clean, as if the band aimed at a more mainstream appeal.
The album does have it's plus sides though. A complete left turn is "Sleeping Martyr" and the 3rd song, "Stare Too Long". "Stare Too Long" is a very nice sounding ballad containing a lot of good slide guitar from guest player Warren Hayes. Some other songs like "Zippo" and "Who's Got The Fire" tend to have some really nice sounding parts to them. The verse and opening riff in "Whose Got The Fire" and the chorus in "Zippo" seem to fit very nicely as well.
Another plus side is the guitar solos on this album. If you had listened to "Wiseblood", this album can be seen as a step forward in C.O.C.'s guitar solos. C.O.C.'s guitar solos are excellent and really keep you wanting to hear more. Solos on "Stare Too Long", "Zippo" and "Whose Got the Fire (among many others) are excellent examples of stellar guitar playing. This really helps the album stand out.
Whether you like this album or not, this is an essential part of C.O.C.'s catalog and is a must hear for any C.O.C. fan. Even as I rate this album as a 3 and continue to have a neutral outlook towards this album, something keeps drawing me back. Maybe it's the smell of that steak I was cooking. I hope I didn't leave it in the oven too long!