Boredom is never an option in the world of COC. From underground hardcore tykes to Metallica-approved, southern-fried metal mavens and then on to the Voivod-esque mutant heaviness of 2012’s self-titled album, the North Carolina crew have changed shape as a matter of routine.
And while IX is performed by the same three-piece line-up that recorded those early classics (and the aforementioned Corrosion Of Conformity), it once again showcases a band with little interest in repetition.
Heavier and more flagrantly in debt to Black Sabbath than anything the band have done since the early 90s, songs like Brand New Sleep and The Nectar are underpinned by some resolute riff worship and a rawness and sonic honesty that oozes naturalistic allure.
More importantly, perhaps, there’s a great deal of celebratory ass-kicking going on throughout too, not least on the stunning Tarquinius Superbus, a six-minute journey along the various paths the band have walked during their career to date, yet which never sounds anything other than utterly fresh.
It’s followed by Who You Need To Blame, a song that sounds like Relentless-era Pentagram jamming with Tommy Bolin. Like everything else on IX, it proclaims its creators’ love of rock’n’roll from the rooftops.