Corrosion of Conformity are one of the crucial bands of crossover thrash who have been active since 1982. They have had many line-up changes throughout their career with guitarist Woody Weatherman being the only remaining original member. Along with him, the line-up with of Mike Dean on bass, Reed Mullin on drums and Pepper Keenan on guitar and vocals is considered to be the classic line-up. They went on hiatus in 2006 before returning in 2010 without Keenan who was busy playing in Down with ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo. However, he did re-join in 2014.
When the band first formed, they were a hardcore punk band but over the course of their career they have evolved into a more blues-influenced metal band. In total they have ten full length albums in addition to numerous other releases. It was with their fourth album relased in 1994 titled Deliverance that they started to achieve mainstream success. They are still active to this day and are well regarded as an influential band in both the metal and punk communities. So here is a list of their ten best tracks.
# 10 – Damned for All Time
The first track on this list is taken from the band’s third album Blind released in 1991. This album was Keenan’s debut with COC and the only release to feature Karl Agell on vocals. It is also the only record in the group’s catalogue to not feature Dean, with the bass slot being taken by Phil Swisher, of which this is also his only recording with them. This track, along with the rest of the album sees the band transition more into metal.
# 9 – Tell Me
Here we have a very early track from the band which is in fact the first song on the first album released in 1984 titled Eye for an Eye. At three minutes and twenty-seven seconds long, it is the longest track on the album, with most of the others being under the two-minute mark. It is a very different sound to the more bluesy thrash/groove style that the band established themselves with, this is mid-eighties hardcore punk.
# 8 – Loss for Words
Here is the opening track of the band’s second album Animosity that was released in 1985 just a year after the first album. Sound-wise it is much like the first in the sense that it much more raw sounding and hardcore than the band’s later more commercially successful material. However, although it is still primarily hardcore punk the first signs of metal are starting to show here. It should be noted that although this record was produced very soon after the first, it would be six years before the third album was released, where the band emerged with a very different sound.
# 7 – Nothing Left to Say
Here is a track from the band’s most recent album No Cross No Crown released in 2018. This album was seen a reformation of the classic line-up of Keenan, Dean, Mullin and Weatherman who had not played on an album together since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer. Tragically, it would prove to be Mullins last album, as he died in 2020. This track sees the band embrace their Sabbath influence with its very doomy feel.
# 6 – Brand New Sleep
This track is taken from the band’s ninth album aptly titled IX which was released in 2014. The personnel for this record was Mullin, Dean and Weatherman who all shared vocal duties. This album also had a largely doomy/stoner sound with very heavy and slow riffs making it somewhat ironic that Keenan was not involved with it due to his commitments with Down, who this sounds quite similar to.
# 5 – River of Stone
This track is taken from the band’s self-titled-eight album released in 2012. It was the first album since 2005’s In the Arms of God, marking the longest gap between albums in the band’s history. It was an album that saw Mullin re-join and the first that he played on since America’s Volume Dealer. It was also the first release to not feature Keenan for twenty-five years since 1987’s Technocracy ep. The personnel was again Mullin, Dean and Weatherman who were also sharing vocal duties.
# 4 – Never Turns to More
This very long eight-minute track is taken from the aforementioned In The Arms of God released in 2005. As of 2020, it is to date the only album to not feature Mullin, although this is subject to change if they decide to make any more albums due to his death. Instead, the drum spot is filled by Stanton Moore who previously played in a band called Galactic. Also as previously stated, it would be Keenan’s last recording with the band until 2018.
# 3 – 13 Angels
This track is taken from 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer. As has been previously stated a couple of time in this article, this was the last record to feature the classic line-up which would not make another record together for eighteen years. Afterwards, Mullin left the band and did not return until 2010. This track is a six-minute number that has a spacey feel to it, again being reminiscent of early Black Sabbath.
# 2 – Man or Ash
Featuring none other than Metallica’s James Hetfield as a guest vocalist, this track is taken from the band’s fifth album titled Wiseblood released in 1996. This album saw the band at their commercial peak, with another track from the record “Drowning in a Daydream” receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance which it ultimately lost to Tool. It was also one of their few albums to have chart success, reaching 104 on the Billboard 200.
# 1 – Albatross
At number one we have the lead single taken from what is considered to be the band’s most classic album Deliverance released in 1994. The song is by far to most commercially successful in the band’s discography, reaching number nineteen on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts along with the album’s other single “Clean My Wounds” which also reached the same position. The album was the fist where Keenan became the lead vocalist.