Every Christmas, I usually spend a few days at my brothers’ place. The usual itinerary is just to hang out, shoot the shit, consume things that are very un-DCXX and jam tunes. Five or six years back, I remember walking into his apartment after he picked me up at the train station and seeing a vinyl copy of Corrosion of Conformity’s ‘Animosity’ sitting in the front of the stereo. I picked it up and grinned from ear to ear. ‘Yeah, you know’ he said in his usual nasally tone, ‘I stupidly got rid of that record years ago. One came into the store a few weeks ago (That store being Princeton Record Exchange, the place that has employed my brother since dirt was invented) and I couldn’t resist.'
I had also stupidly sold my copy in a fog of trading in all my Hardcore records for Psychedelic rarities and hadn’t heard it in years. I insisted he put the disc on post haste.
What unfolded in the next forty minutes or so was a really beautiful and illuminating experience. As soon as the record blasted into ‘Loss for Words,' a flood of memories came shooting at me. I knew every word even though I hadn’t heard the thing in ten years. My brother and I head banged and made stereotypical ‘mean’ faces through the whole record. The night proved the fact that you can take the Hardcore record out of your collection, but you can never take the Hardcore out of yourself. I know it sounds corny as shit, but it’s true.
I remember sitting in my brother’s living room flashing back to interviewing the bands’ drummer Reed Mullin when I was 13 (!) and he made some remark about the recent ‘crossover’ trend going on in Hardcore at the time. He said something to the affect of ‘When we were signing with Metal Blade we thought, “Oh wow! We’ll turn all these Metal kids onto Crass and Minor Threat!’ Instead we got Nazi skinheads and S.O.D.” With a trajectory misinterpreted by the masses, I feel C.O.C. might be one of the most misunderstood bands in underground music history. But hey, that just might be me.
I remember the hype surrounding ‘Eye For An Eye’ was so heavy at the time of its release that it made you think you already found your new favorite band without even hearing them. When my brother finally scored a copy of it, I dug it almost immediately. The reasons for my initial love for it, I can’t conjure up in my twilight years. Listening to it now, it’s obvious why my thirteen year old self and others were losing their shit over it. Much like D.C.'s ubercore legends Void, there was a deliberate dilapidating vibe to it even though it was obvious these dudes could hold it together. Guitarist Woody Weatherman (what a great name!) made it clear his band were raised on heavy seventies sounds, not the Velvet Underground or post-punk; their cover of a cover of ‘Green Maharishi’ made it known. The only weak spot I can find on this record nowadays is Eric Eycke’s parched vocals. To think of Mike Dean bellowing through this record instead of him almost makes we weep into my ‘What If?’ bucket.
‘Animosity’ is often credited by many as the template for the whole ‘Crossover’ what-have-you of the mid to late 80's but I don’t know if I buy that. If it actually was, I’d be wanting to get a lot of really shitty records released on Death and Combat Core back into my collection...know what I mean? If anything, it might be a template that was used totally incorrectly. Even by today’s standards, it is a truly disturbing sounding record. I always loved the distinctions between the recording on either side. The ‘megaphone’ style vocal effect on Mike Dean’s vocals on the second side still sends shivers down my spine. And don’t get me started on what impact the lyrics made on me at such an impressionable age. Let’s just say scrawling ‘WHERE’S YOUR GOD? HE’S IN YOUR HEAD!’ on the front of my notebook while attending a Roman Catholic middle school was not the smartest thing I ever did in my life. Three weeks of detention and many years later, I still think of this record as the ‘piece de resistance’ of the bands catalog.
I found ‘Technocracy’ to be a total dud back when I was in short pants and I still think that these days. The overall passion in which the music is delivered does not carry over into the record’s bland mix that makes it sound like a million other ‘crossover’ records from the timeframe. The less said, the better.
‘Six Songs With Mike Singing 1985’ is a gemstone many don’t pay attention to. A fierce and lean presentation of a band at its peak. But in all honesty, I’ll take ‘Animosity’ any day of the week for its sheer destructive sonics. But again…that could just be me. - Tony Rettman
Animosity - 136
Eye For An Eye - 98
Technocracy - 43
Six Songs With Mike Singing - 33
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 6:36 PM