Corrosion Of Conformity, a little band with a giant sound from North Carolina. Formed in 1982 by guitarist, Woody Weatherman, and original drummer, Reed Mullin (who sadly passed away in January 2020).
When someone mentions Corrosion Of Conformity, some people think of their hardcore album, Animosity (1985, Metal Blade), or their major label best seller, Deliverance (1994, Columbia)
Enter 1996, year of the Wiseblood album, even though so many great albums were released that year by bands such as Pantera, Metallica, Biohazard, Slayer, Acid Bath, Sepultura, Sacred Reich, and Crowbar.
Wiseblood brings even more raw energy with beefy riffs and catchy hooks than the Deliverance album did, in my opinion. Wiseblood captures the sound of the jam room with balls out tube amp feedback and piercing snare drum.
Wiseblood was their final release by major label, Columbia Records, on October 15, 1996. The Columbia staff that signed them parted ways with the label and the band was eventually dropped right after the album was released.
With many catchy songs on the album as it was, the Columbia label heads were not interested anymore. The band was not interested in incorporating outside songwriters the label tried to push on them.
For this album, the band had written several songs and picked the ones that fit best. Some of the tracks that did not make the album became B-sides on a few singles.
Many songs from this album are worthy of radio airplay and some ended up being heard in film and other media.
The ’90s mainstream was fixated on clean-cut pop punk and watered-down alternative bands, ugh. Despite this, Corrosion was nominated for a Grammy for the single Drowning in a Daydream. The song was written as a nice way of saying “Fuck You, Columbia” and it went over their big fat corporate heads.
The song, Long Whip/Big America, is maybe my favorite track with it’s catchy sing along chorus with some nice Thin Lizzy meets Black Flag riffs. My other 2 favorites would be The Door and Wishbone.
The Door displays some ZZ Top vocal and guitar solo style that would make Billy Gibbons nod to. Wishbone has an extra fat palm muting chunk of overdubbed rhythm guitars; I can’t help air picking my steering wheel while driving.
King of the Rotten, the opening track, and Man or Ash were good gateway tracks. I heard both on 95.5 KLOS (a California radio station) for their Pure Rock Sunday Nights program. This made me want to buy this album right away.
Songs like Goodbye Windows and the instrumental outro Bottom Feeder are also great highlights. There are no weak links on this album at all. From start to finish, I can put this on repeat and only a chosen few records do that for me.
Metallica’s James Hetfield, who sang guest vocals on Man or Ash, also pulled strings (no pun intended) and helped Woody and Pepper obtain a few SG replica guitars through ESP Guitars so they would have guitars that stay in tune for them on the road while COC and Metallica toured together. These guitars are still used today and have aged well like a fine wine.
Those guitars also got Gibson’s attention and they sent ESP a cease and desist order on manufacturing them again. Therefore, this is why we have the ESP Viper now available to the public instead, leaving Woody and Pepper with the only SG’s made by ESP!
I own the CD (bought it twice) and I had to get the double vinyl. I really dig the 13 ass kickin’ songs as well as the killer artwork by Pepper himself. Get this record, crank it loud. Hope you have a good stereo that can handle it.
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woody Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass
Reed Mullin – drums (RIP)