Tuesday, 28 June 2011

CD Review: Deliverance, by Corrosion Of Conformity (1994)

Corrosion Of Conformity follow up the terrific Blind with another excellent album in Deliverance, the band from North Carolina almost single-handedly keeping the flame of good heavy metal alive in the early 1990s. Massively grand chords, guitars leading the charge, complex, ambitious structures built on strong melodies: Deliverance was the antidote to all the whiney angst music dominating the music industry at the time.

Opener Heaven's Not Overflowing is a terrific, crunchy reminder that there is plenty of room to do good, Pepper Keenan warning that "in time, what's deserved, always get served". It is followed immediately by the crowning jewel of Deliverance, Albatross lamenting the doom of a born liar, but more importantly unleashing an earth-shuddering bass-heavy riff that indiscriminately bores through rocks and skulls. Albatross ends with a chaotic, driving guitar solo that takes off, crashes, and repeats.

Seven Days continues in the same vein, again dropping into the low range for a hypnotic bass-dominant foundation on which Keenan unleashes his most anguished vocals, with Woody Weatherman's guitar attempting some cheerful signatures to lift the fog of despair. Title track Deliverance bolts into a whole other direction, evoking a damaged, off-centre wheel that nevertheless insists on rotating, the delicious irony being that the song is all about the lack of deliverance. Shake Like You marries a riff that demands shaking with perfectly distorted vocals to great effect, while describing the perfect recipe for social control.

There are more strong tracks on Deliverance, with Broken Man and My Grain also worthy of attention, the latter featuring the best guitar solo on the CD. The one weakness of the album is that it does go on, and the final two tracks extend the playing time by ten minutes and are quite unnecessary. Shelter and Pearls Before Swine are dreamy, experimental tracks, slow smoke rising over still smouldering ruins. While the innovation is appreciated, some energy undoubtedly drains out of the record at its conclusion.

Despite its drawbacks, Deliverance is a shining beacon from a dark period in metal's history, a reminder that in some corners, metal continued to thrive.


Pepper Keenan - Vocals and Guitar
Woody Weatherman - Guitar
Mike Dean - Bass
Reed Mullin - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Heaven's Not Overflowing - 10
2. Albatross - 10
3. Clean My Wounds - 7
4. Without Wings - n/a (short instrumental)
5. Broken Man - 8
6. Senor Limpio  - 7
7. Mano De Mono - n/a (short instrumental)
8. Seven Days - 9
9. #2121313- n/a (short instrumental)
10. My Grain - 8
11. Deliverance - 10
12. Shake Like You - 9
13. Shelter - 6
14. Pearls Before Swine - 7

Average: 8.27

Produced by John Custer.
Engineered by Jeff Tomei, Mark Richardson, John Custer.
Mixed by Toby Wright. Mastered by Bob Ludwig.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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