Sunday, 16 May 2010

CD Review: Blind, by Corrosion Of Conformity (1991)


In the wasteland that was heavy metal music in the early to mid-1990's, Corrosion Of Conformity provided one of the few bright spots. Blind re-ignited the eternal power and crunch of guitar-driven metal with plenty of melody, but ditched all traditional and simplistic chorus and solo structures and slowly explored the path towards a complex sound that would eventually morph into metalcore.

Ironically, the band had been together in various forms since 1982, but they finally found their shape, form, line-up and metal sound with this CD, a solid 12 years into their career -- and just in time to keep the metal flame burning as the post-grunge sound of alt-whatever threatened to suck all energy out of music.

Blind provides a dense, mature, mostly higher speed collection of metal tracks, driven by a collective sound heavy on bottom level drums and prominent bass, complemented by the dual guitar work of Woody Weatherman and Pepper Keenan. Karl Agell's vocals are appropriately tortured and almost distorted into an agony most suitable for the band's sound.

For an atmosphere of sheer impending doom, nothing matches the instrumental majesty of These Shrouded Temples, followed by the deep jungle drums introducing Damned For All Time.

Although after eternal damnation the only way out should be up, Dance Of The Dead and Buried ensure that Blind stays in the groovy dark places where forward motion is only possible by following the path created by sheer power.

Good as these opening tracks are, the real gems on Blind come in the meaty middle: Painted Smiling Faces, Vote With A Bullet and Great Purification are a stunning triple punch and represent some of the best metal of the 1990's, or indeed any decade. The opening riff of Painted Smiling Faces combines doom with expectant anticipation and the song builds from there towards a frenzied climax; the devastating, unstoppable chugging riff of Vote With A Bullet can be used in the definition of headbanging heavy metal at its purest; while Great Purification takes on a more emotional journey with another searching and sustained guitar melody leading the way to a metal treasure.

There are plenty of other good tracks, exploratory ideas, and complex structures on Blind, enough to promise that as long as bands like Corrosion Of Conformity were around, metal will eventually come back, as indeed it did.

The CD ends with three hidden tracks from the band's earlier career; these should remain hidden, and serve only to demonstrate just how drastically the band matured leading up to the recording of Blind.

Band:

Karl Agell - Vocals
Woody Weatherman - Guitars
Pepper Keenan - Guitars
Phil Swisher - Bass
Reed Mullin - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. These Shrouded Temples - 9
2. Damned For All Time - 9
3. Dance Of The Dead - 8
4. Buried - 9
5. Break The Circle - 7
6. Painted Smiling Faces - 10
7. Mine Are The Eyes Of God - 8
8. Shallow Ground - 7
9. Vote With A Bullet - 10 *See video below*
10. Great Purification - 10
11. White Noise - 6
12. Echoes In The Well - 8
13. Remain - n/a (short instrumental)

Average: 8.42

Produced by John Custer and Corrosion Of Conformity.
Engineered by Steve McAllister.
Mixed by Garris Shipon and John Custer.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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