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Corrosion Of Conformity, live in London

Pepper Keenan returns to the CoC fold

Much has been made of the fact that it is nine years since Corrosion Of Conformity last played with Peeper Keenan up front (whilst he moonlighted with Down), it has in fact been almost two decades since the full line-up hit these shores as Reed Mullin had to take time out due to back problems. Of course the remainder of CoC have been busy touring their ‘80s hardcore material and even released two killer slabs of crossover fury. Pepper’s return to the fold however has caused all manner of excitement. There may well be a few in the crowd because of Pepper’s work with Down, and as good as Down are, and indeed as good as Corrosion are as a trio, this line -p is very much more than the sum of its parts.

The opening notes of These Shrouded Temples ring out like the peeling of an ominous church bell, then they kick into Senor Limpio like it’s some sort of riff Christmas (or Riffmas, if you will). Terms like Southern metal get used a lot, but it is CoC that truly epitomise the labe; with their smokey, barbecued Sabbath chunk. Doomed out Trouble riffs played with Skynyrd behind-the-beat swing. The rhythm section of Mullin and Mike Dean lay down a heavy groove second only to Sabbath and Clutch, whilst Pepper’s guitar interplay with Woodroe Weatherman is a thing sheer joy. All topped off with Mr Keenan’s distinct New Orleans drawl.

From the crunch of King Of The Rotten to the funky Long Whip/Big America, it’s riff after glorious riff. The biggest cheer of the night is reserved for Guitar Hero-approved Albatross with its lazy, half-time crawl of a groove. In the 22 years since Deliverance came out, many bands have tried to take on the Sabbath template and make it their own, but very few have nailed it quite like this.

Clean My Wounds’ Lizzy-eqsue swagger, complete with an extended dub jam, closes the night and if rumours of a new album and tour are to be believed then 2015 must surely belong to Raleigh NC’s finest.

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Setlist

These Shrouded Temples… Señor Limpio King Of The Rotten Heaven’s Not Overflowing Long Whip/Big America Wiseblood Seven Days Paranoid Opioid 13 Angels Albatross My Grain Stonebreaker Goodbye Windows Broken Man Vote With A Bullet Who’s Got The Fire Clean My Wounds