America's Volume Dealer
Sanctuary Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/18/2000
Although I get to hear the work of so many different artists and groups in this job, it's impossible for me to keep up with everyone out there. Even when I'm presented with a group like Corrosion Of Conformity (COC), who have a few releases on the market, there's always a chance that the disc I'm sent to review will be my first taste of that band.
Buy, was I wrong -- and I'm kinda glad that I was. Pepper Keenan and company remind me of what it might sound like if Glenn Danzig were to front a band like AC/DC or Nashville Pussy. It's harder-edged rock with a blooze-based influence, and the final judgment is that it's pretty damn good.
The band -- vocalist/guitarist Keenan, guitarist Woodroe Weatherman, bassist Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin -- choose to demonstrate their power by showing how they can control it musically. Somehow, I think that if they came out all guns blazing, something big would be lost in the translation. This way, COC is able to introduce the newcomer to their fold while entertaining the long-time fan. It's a difficult strategy, but it works.
Tracks like "Congratulations Song," "Who's Got The Fire," "Doublewide" and "Gittin' It On" all kick ass without making the listener feel like they're getting their ass kicked. Weatherman and Keenan seem to know just how far to push their guitar lines without sounding like a thousand metal bands before them; all the band members seem to know that if you put the welfare of the song first, the vibe will quickly come.
This doesn't always work so well, however. "13 Angels" never seems to catch fire (despite being the slowest song on the disc), and just doesn't seem like a comfortable fit for COC. Likewise, tracks such as "Zippo" and "Sleeping Martyr," while not bad efforts, fail to really set themselves apart from the crowd.
In the end, though, COC does impress me with their knowledge of when to put the pedal to the metal... and when to ease off the gas musically. America's Volume Dealer is the kind of disc which will build up a lot of interest in this band - and makes me want to check out the rest of their catalog.