This is one band I was going to get to in Backwards Marathon, but I was really hoping that it was going to be under better circumstances. This past week, we lost original COC drummer, Reed Mullin at just the age of 51. This one really hit me hard as Reed became a good friend of mine ever since I interviewed him for the first time in 2014. Since then we hang out, drank together, shared music and drumming stories, and just enjoyed each other’s company. I unfortunately was not able to see Reed play his last tour in Minneapolis as I was in the hospital at the time. And after seeing the setlist and especially knowing what’s happened now; I wish I could have seen him that last time.
All of that said, here’s the best tribute I could possibly give Reed and all of COC, by ranking every studio LP from the band from my least favorite to my favorite. Some surprises, some not to surprising. Regardless, especially if you are not familiar with Corrosion of Conformity; I hope you enjoy this list and get to check out some new music for your ears. Let’s Fly On!
1.) No EPs, cover albums, live albums, b-side albums, or best of/greatest hits collections. Just original studio LPs. Albums that have a cover or two on it are just fine.
2.) This is just my opinions on the albums in question. No outside influences other than my own and is far from a definitive world ranking. If you have a different ranking, AWESOME! Keep that up!
3.) The reason for doing this to help people get into a band/artist/etc and give ideas of what to expect if they decide to dive into the work.
4.) This is ranked from least favorite to favorite (countdown/TRL style). I will give a few words about every album as we go down the list.
5.) There will be a spotify playlist (where applicable) to go along with the list with a song off each album so you can get another idea of what to expect. The songs will either be my favorite song off the album or one that represents the album the best in my eyes. (if you are reading this on social media, click the official link to get the playlist)
6.) Have fun and spread the word....SPREAD IT!
10.) IX (2014)
I must start off with saying that there is not a COC album I don’t dig, but in a list like this, something has to go last. This was the last album of the trio format that the band had explored since the self titled album and last album before Pepper Keenan rejoined the band full time. There is much to enjoy about this album as it features both the southern grooves and the hardcore punk elements in a great crossover style. I guess if I had to put a reason why it’s at the bottom is because this album really could have benefited from Pepper rejoining at this point. HE just has the perfect voice for that style of the band and it’s missing here. It is still 100% worthy of checking out and enjoying.
9.) Animosity (1985)
The 2nd album from COC is very much still in the hardcore punk style that was created on the band’s debut album. This era of the band is very militant of it’s love from the fanbase or it’s ignored by those that love the later era of the band. I fall in the middle as I love all of their work and throwing on the first two Corrosion of Conformity albums is just so much to listen to and drum along to, in my case. This was right before what was going to change the band coming up on their EP, Technocracy, then completely explored on their third album, but for those hardcore punk and thrash fans, you gotta hear this album if you haven’t already.
8.) Wiseblood (1996)
The second album of the Pepper Keenan led era is one that really showed the band solidifying their roots in the southern rock, southern metal, and groove era and it’s awesome to hear. It feels so natural and the production simply rules. Many fans of this style caught on with the band’s previous album, but this is where the fans stuck around and knew the band was the real deal. If you dig this era or at leas this style, you need to give this one a shot.
7.) Eye for an Eye (1983)
The band’s debut album is one of my favorite hardcore punk and crossover thrash albums. The production is raw, the songs are unrelenting, the style just screams 80s hardcore. While some prefer Animosity as the songs are more polished, I really think the debut album is just something to behold as one of the best of it’s style. If this not your scene, but you’ve always been curious, give this and Animosity a shot and see what you’ve been missing.
6.) Deliverance (1994)
Oh boy, I’m going to get chastised for having this so so aren’t I? Pepper Keenan’s first album on lead vocals is the 2nd album to explore more of southern styles, but first that really solidified the band and really got people’s attention. So much so, it is regularly referred to as their best album. And I totally understand why. It has some of their best songs, the production is top notch, and just hearing Pepper sing is just a glorious thing to enjoy. I absolutely recommend this album as a great starting point for the band and something to really enjoy, it may end up being your favorite from the band as well.
5.) Corrosion of Conformity (2012)
The band’s first album in 7 years showed a shake up of the band. Pepper was out, and the band was back to being Woody, Mike and Reed as a trio. This is a COC crossover thrash/Hardcore Punk album in 2012 and it’s as awesome as it sounds. The sound is just updated enough, the production is VASTLY better but the spirit is completely there and it’s a sight to behold. I actually saw the band during the tour for this album and it was awesome seeing them at The Triple Rock in Minneapolis and with 399 other people just getting to experience a reprisal of everything I missed not being alive in the early to mid 80s and seeing what that hardcore punk scene was really about. This album is the best representation of that and you should give it as spin and see if it is for you.
4.) Blind (1991)
Blind is a watershed album for the band. The very first album to explore the southern sounds of the band, but it also goes in to the more heavy metal direction that would stay with the band from this point forward. This is also the only album to feature Karl Agell on vocals, which really makes this album feel like a one off. For that reason, it is such a unique experience. Mixing just the right amounts of punk, metal and southern grooves. It feels like a blend of Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies and 38. Special. It’s a great album that deserves the praise that it gets.
3.) In The Arms of God (2005)
This was the album that brought me to the dance and depending on how the future goes (at least up to date anyways) this is the only COC album without Reed Mullin on drums. On this album they got NOLA Jazz and fusion drummer Stanton Moore to play drums on the album. This is by far the heaviest album in the band’s catalog and the album that brought me to the dance. This was Corrosion of Conformity at it’s most metal and it’s a great experience for that. The songs are so catchy and heavy, the production is loud but perfect for the style, and Pepper just shines with his vocals. This is such a great album and if you are a metalhead, you may wanna start with this album first or even one other album I’ll bring up later.
2.) America’s Volume Dealer (2000)
This album continues to win me over every single time I listen to it. Without question, this is the most diverse album in the band’s catalog. It has some of the heaviest guitar tones of it’s style on this record, it has some of the band’s lightest songs, and some of the most radio friendly songs as well. Everything you could possibly want in a COC album is showcased in some way on this album and for someone like me, that’s exactly what I want in an album. Never too much of one thing and everything flows together. I never see this album talked about a lot, or really even at all, but there is a reason why so many songs were always showcased from this album in the Pepper eras of COC. You should find out too.
1.) No Cross No Crown (2018)
This was the revival album of Corrosion of Conformity. This is the album that people have been craving for 13 years since In The Arms of God. When Pepper Keenan rejoined COC and the band announced they were going to be writing a new album, everyone knew the band was back with a vengeance and yeah...this album SLAYS! It’s crushing, it’s heavy, it’s COC at it’s highest potential and the album just shines for that reason. Some wil say that the use of instrumental interludes (4 in total) makes the album exceed it’s welcome and it goes on too long, ignore those people, those interludes feel so natural and really make the album flow together from one song to the next. This was the first album since America’s Volume Dealer (2000) to have the classic lineup together and sadly, after 18 years, that will be the last album of that lineup. Check out Reed’s last drumming on this record and just hear how happy the band is to be back together and just rage together once again, it truly is their finest work (at least to date).
And there we have it folks, all 10 Corrosion Of Conformity LPs counted down to the very best. COC is a treasure that should never be forgotten and these 10 albums are perfect examples of why. Be sure to check out their EPs and live albums as well, as everything is absolutely worth checking out, but for this I hope I did the band and Reed proud by showing off the band in the best light I can. And if you are only reading this on social media. be sure to click the link and check out the curated playlist I made featuring a track off every album ranked.
Till next time, this is That Drummer Guy saying, SEE YA!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)