Thursday, December 10, 2009

Favorite early Corrosion Of Conformity record poll wrap up and results


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


13 comments:

Jesse said...

great stuff, couldn't agree more with tony. and awesome writing as well. double cross has it all - great interviews, great stories, great photos, great writing. keep up the good work and hope to see much more in the new year.

Songco said...

Did someone say "crossover"? Haha! Awesome poll choice and of course, Animosity was C.O.C.'s best record...great stuff! Gotta love when DCXX goes and paints outside the lines. Makes for great comment sections! Another excellent segment!

Tom Brose said...

How could anyone go 1o years without listening to Animosity? One of the all time best albums.

sonofthesun said...

I went with Six songs for mike singing, I like the recording a lot on that one, that was a tough find for me as a kid too, hardest one to track down....

Anonymous said...

Six Songs With Mike Singing is hands down, my favorite ep. Ever.

Smitty said...

Even though at the time 'Animosity' was at the forefront of the crossover movement I think it's ultimate legacy is all those southern sludge metal bands like Eyehategod, Buzzov'en and their progeny. I'm sorry no other metal this side of Flag or St. Vitus captured that twisted, murky Sabbath vibe like peak-period C.O.C. Heavy beyond words. Also, anyone else ever notice how AF "United Blood" is a total bite of "Indifferent" off 'Eye For An Eye'?

Anonymous said...

what happens with "eye for an eye"? their only true hardcore record and their best. i hope don't see a ssd's poll with "break it up" or "how we rock" as winners, but looking at this poll results... anything is possible. sad but true.

Pedro Carvalho said...

Animosity is a giant of a record by a genious, god-like band.
About it being crossover or not, well, it does mix hardcore and metal. The thing is, while generic crossover was like standard thrash hardcore + metallica, Animosity was ugly, dirty hardcore like Black Flag, SSD and Discharge + Sabbath and the darker side of 70's metal in general. A totally different atmosphere.

Having said that, their best moment in my opinion is the Technocracy demos with Mike on vocals before the other guy joined and ruined that record.

P.S. - Anonynous 2 is wrong.

Brett Hardware said...

Another masterpiece by Dreed. I also listen to "Animosity" once a year, and wonder why I don't listen to it more often. I go thru this every year. I'll also throw this out there: Animosity is my favorite Pushead cover art (second place = Hirax "Raging Violence").

Russ said...

animosity is probably my favorite record of all time...my thirteen year old self used to actually get freaked out about how heavy and evil sounding this record was! haha... it's still on heavy rotatation 22 years later!

Jake Jacobs said...

Deliverance and Wiseblood.

metal up your ass!! said...

yeah!! animosity is their best, and kerrang was the best hardcore fanzine of the 80's!!!.

a_kay70 said...

Animosity all the way. Still listen to it on a regular basis. Dark, heavy and the perfect blend of metal/HC (I hate the term "crossover"-killed it). Don't know why Technocracy gets such bad press though-it still had COC's trademark sound and riffage and the version of "Hungry Child" (vocals aside) absolutely shreds. COC are playing London this month with THAT classic lineup-I'm already quivering in anticipation. Good days! Some free advice: NEVER get rid of those classic HC gems, you'll regret it sooner or later.
PS Joke Jacobs...