Album review : CORROSION OF CONFORMITY – Sleeping Martyr: 2000-2005 (3 CD digipack)

Cherry Red [Release date 26.11.21]

The Sleeping Martyr digipak is a cleverly selected three album package from one of the world’s coolest metal bands, Corrosion Of Conformity.

All three – America’s Volume Dealer (2000), Live Volume (2001) and In The Arms Of God (2005) – come from that period of the band’s close to 40 year career where an established, locked tight lineup – Pepper Keenan on lead vocals and guitar, founder member Woodroe Weatherman on guitar, Mike Dean on bass and Reed Mullin on drums had found their true milieu.

By 2000, the band’s stoner sludge had evolved into a fertile mix of 21st century heavy metal, pushed along by lean riffs and barbed axework, coloured by strong shades of southern rock.

Sandwiched between the laid back, southen fried ‘Stare Too Long’ and the hardcore ‘Rather See You Dead’, America’s Volume Dealer is filled with stark soundscapes, illuminated by lyrics that mix pithy social commentary (‘Doublewide’ / ‘Take What You Want’) along with more personal stuff (‘Who Got The Fire’ / ‘Sleeping Martyr’).

The perfectly executed Live Volume came a year later, picking up on the more polished material from America’s… plus some earlier recordings, including two of the best songs the band have written… ‘King Of The Rotten’ and ‘Wiseblood’, from the album of the same name, released in 1996.

It took another 4 years before ‘In The Arms Of God’ hit the shelves, and it reflected a band totally focused on creating a huge piece of intensely delivered music. Again they’d unearthed a handful of blackened metal nuggets, and again the recordings are arranged and produced by the always underrated John Custer.

‘Paranoid Opioid’, ‘Dirty Hands Empty Pockets’ and the title track are the thinking man’s monster metal anthems. The band’s bloodletting lyrics burn with intensity, spilling out all over these songs.

When these tracks finish, you’ll be checking your body for cuts and bruises. The album flirted with the Billboard Top 100 chart, and led to multiple double headliner tours over the next year or so, but in 2006 the band folded. (only to rise again in 2010).

No question, Corrosion Of Conformity was up there with Metallica and Soundgarden, they just didn’t get the recognition. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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