Review Summary: Outta sight
Those scruffy, squealy Corrosion of Conformity records from the 80s packed so much charm. Loaded with squealing feedback salvos, dizzying bass breakouts, and lyrics crying out against social injustice, religious posturing, and political corruption in a style that echoed Void and Black Flag, but was still distinctive. Who could resist that cool Pushead artwork？ Long name, restless rotation of singers and strange EPs aside, the SOBs from NC known as COC were all DIY.
Despite the mild buzz surrounding the Sabbathy edge of 1989’s Technocracy EP, it seemed as though the Nawth Carolina boys were scattered, smothered, and disregarded as the 90s whirled into focus. No one expected the rip-roaring 90-degree turn to be known as “Blind”. Like victims of a sadistic surgeon of demise, the band is frankensteined into a hideous new creature by the addition of three old-soul miscreants, Phil Swisher (b), Karl Agell (v), and the nefarious Mississippi-born swamp shaman, Pepper Keenan (g). To this day, his inclusion in any project piques my personal interest.
The results of this powerful new infusion transformed the band’s sound into a stew of downtuned, twin-guitar rage that somehow retained the sneering hatred for authority and hypocrisy, adding a dimension of broken hope and caustic drug-addled tragedy. There’s an interesting cross-section of moods, the band raging like caged animals flinging themselves against the sides of a cage (“White Noise”) or weaving detached melancholy odes to the heart-wrenching losses of dragon-chasing loved ones (“Shallow Ground”).
There’s an infusion of southern rock swagger that lights a fire under this record, riffs hard-panned, the flattening heaviness in cuts like “Dance of the Dead” sparked every much from the guitaristic groove of Skynyrd and ZZ Top as the narcotic graveyard of Eyehategod or the doomy lurch of Trouble. Just listen to those twin guitars chime with twisted majesty during the solos, and that gorgeous crunch thereafter. The dance of the dead! It’s all in their hands!
Other cuts delve into the political well, like the marching dreadnaught that is “Break the Circle”, that bassline and Keenan’s wailing bends a headbanging mainline to the brain, Agell wrings out every drop of vocal venom deliciously, Greed kills the need and bleeds the lines. Now your brilliance no longer shines.
“Vote with a Bullet” had us with the title. Keenan introduces us to his slithering, seedy vocal style as the guitars march forward, attacking and spewing out subsonic brain static. I think they had a statement to make...
This, my personal favorite COC lineup didn’t last for more than a couple of years, but Blind remains a delicious sludgy stain in metal history that spawned hundreds of imitators, polluting eardrums with lo-slung, downtuned metallic Jihad.