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Whenever Corrosion Of Conformity releases a new album, folks take notice. But their latest is a true event. It's been a dozen years since C.O.C. recorded new material with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan at the helm. In that time, there have been rumors, whispers and outright allegations that the legendary Southern rock outfit would reunite to blow the doors off the whole damn scene again. In 2014, after nearly a straight decade traversing the globe as a guitarist with New Orleans supergroup Down, Keenan reconnected with the core C.O.C. trio of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin to hit the road hard and write and eventually record the band's highly anticipated tenth album No Cross No Crown.
Recorded by longtime producer John Custer, it's an album that somehow sounds as though no time has passed between 2005's In The Arms Of God and today. Some of these new jams sound like they could've easily been on Wiseblood or Deliverance, two of C.O.C.'s most revered records. The first song the rejuvenated foursome wrote together was "Wolf Named Crow," a hard-knocking rocker with that classic C.O.C. swing. Throughout the album, beefy Southern stompers like "The Luddite," "Little Man" and "Forgive Me" are interspersed with melancholy guitar interludes like "No Cross," "Matre's Diem" and "Sacred Isolation" - just like Sabbath used to do in the '70s.
No Cross No Crown stands as irrefutable proof of C.O.C.'s ability to overcome. "C.O.C. and the prior records I've done with them didn't just go away," Keenan observes. "It's an honor to be back out there and have an opportunity to do it again in a real way and not some washed-up reunion thing. Even before we wrote the record, we were out there for a year seeing there was a demand for it and that there was a void that we could fill. That's been C.O.C.'s deal from day one. We're not chasing anybody around. We're not gonna worry about what the new trends are. C.O.C. is C.O.C."