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Old punks, new tricks

With new album IX dropping earlier this past July, Corrosion of Conformity consistently accomplishes to span the divide of the weightiest of genres. An alliance rooted firmly in their moment and craft, they are a band that will live forever and play forever. A legitimate feat as they’ve been through the ringer - from being underground icons, to toying with the mainstream, to having even no status at all and back again. Having countless record deals, both big and small, and still they stand. With a revolving door of personnel changes while jumping genres from punk, metal, stoner and everything in between, proves that nothing can kill them. They still stand amongst the wreckage of the ever-changing musical landscape bucking at all the trends.

But the present day C.O.C. doesn’t travel with a time capsule and this is not a comeback.

“I'm anti-nostalgia. I think being relevant is out of one’s hands. That's someone else's judgement entirely,” says bassist/vocalist Mike Dean while on a short break touring in Australia. “But if you try to keep yourself surprised, then you may surprise someone else. We just do what keeps ourselves interested and the rest falls into place.”

There have been very few constants in the tumultuous headquarters of C.O.C. The trio of Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin claim majority ownership of this imperishable machine of heavy music. It came with great fanfare when, in 2010, it was announced that the line-up from their classic 1985 album, Animosity would reunite and start making new music together again. Many fans from the old camp thought the sound would be turned back into the mid 1980’s when Animosity became legend with C.O.C.’s unique mixture of dirty punk and raw metal.

True to Dean’s word there are surprises on the new release. Sound and production are raw and has components from their old albums but the music has continued to grow. As it should, after all, these guys are almost in their 50s and with that, they have gained some proficiency. With IX they have truly captured and skillfully combined all those eras into one album and added a new element of slower doom-laden darkness. With Dean back on vocals, they do not come off as polished as some of their more accessible material.

“None of that matters in the creativity but it does loom a little bit in the quality control,” Dean explains. “We try not to be self-conscious and to be in the moment. I believe we cover a lot of stylistic territory and many of our conscious decisions tend to evolve as we get inspired in the now.”

C.O.C. fans will always be divided on which eras are the best and debate. However, Dean sees this as nothing but beneficial for the fans following. “There are all sorts of people at our shows and the best part is that many of them are not so easy to put into a particular box and neither are we, for that matter,” says Dean.

They plan on covering a wide range of their discography during this tour that takes them to Vancouver early September. Will they be playing any of the Animosity album? “Our present interpretations of a few of those songs are in the set,” Dean states. And that will be captivating for us all.

Corrosion Of Conformity plays The Rickshaw Theatre Sept.1 with Bl’ast, Brant Bjork, Lord Dying and Wiser Fool.

-Heath Fenton