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Long before the Corrosion Of Conformity that we knew came along with their classic rock meets stoner/sludge formula that would give them many memorable albums and a near-mainstream level of popularity in the early to mid 90's, They were a punk band held up in high regard by members of the 80's hardcore punk and crossover thrash scenes. The quality of the album really needs to be considered along with the genre that Corrosion Of Conformity was playing at the time as well as their age at this point. They were just teenagers playing punk rock with relatively little focus and just a lot of frustrations to get out. This album is okay as far as punk is concerned, but nothing truly stand-out.
The instrumentation is all over the place and absurdly messy. It's what I'd imagine a hardcore record made by Animal from The Muppets in a tornado would sound like. The riffs run wild much like the rabid dogs that are talked about in one of the songs. They have some drive to them that can get you up and moving around and at times you will find yourself thrashing wildly to a few of the more coherent songs. Even so, they lack the amount of coherence or drive that made more notable hardcore bands like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, and the Cro-Mags legends within the punk scene. The bass has this nice thumping quality to it that complements the rhythm nicely and keeps some sense of control amongst the insanity of this record when everyone else is going crazy on their instruments. Eric Eycke is a crappy vocalist, even by hardcore punk's standards. Eycke isn't all that important here since he adds relatively little to the mix and is coherent only a little bit of the time. Instrument-wise, things can get up and thrashing easily, but it feels very sloppy and disorganized.
While sometimes engaging with songs such as Tell Me, Poison Planet, and Eye For An Eye pushing out thrashy, moshpit-worthy rhythms that would serve the punk crowd and even some metalheads well, the songs don't stand out as well and tend to grind as you listen to the whole album. It has some rousing energy to it, but not nearly as much drive or energy to it as similar releases such as Bad Brains' Banned In D.C. or Cro-Mags' The Age Of Quarrel. This album can be fun at times, but can grind on if listened to for too long and doesn't stand out when it comes to other punk and crossover thrash releases. Any generic punk band could've cooked this up and called it a day. I could only recommend this to hardcore punk fans or die-hard C.O.C. fanatics.
Come now, jump in the time machine. Before the trio was a second-time trio; before Pepper Keenan joined the band; before all the stylistic and radical changes that defined Corrosion of Conformity's biography. Before the glory and tours, there was...a punk band. Three dudes, somewhere in North Carolina, jammed like there was no tomorrow. Coincidentally, they went on to make Corrosion of Conformity an electric force in a multitude of niches, but here, the interest was anything but humble. "Eye For An Eye" simply isn't an enjoyable album. It sounds sloppy, juvenile, erratic, spastic, tangled, and muted. Granted, some of these qualities might have validity elsewhere (taking for instance a band like Venom or some of COC's punk gods into account), but not so much here.
I don't think anyone can deny the novelty of "Eye For An Eye," as it obviously holds some insight to the group's future progression and deserves praise for igniting the figurative rocket, I guess. It has, however, largely been obscured and runs like an old dinosaur of a computer compared to the high-end technologies of today, shockingly similar to the likes of COC then and COC twenty-plus years later. The band seemed to have been in a transient state of sorts, relying largely on a punk postulate that only lasted (and in lesser degrees) for few releases after this one, and, more importantly, Eric Eycke. Eycke was the one-and-done vocalist for COC who only lasted from 1983 to 1984, "Eye For An Eye" acting as his main musical contribution. His vocals, putting it bluntly, suck. His register is all over the place and he generally sounds completely disjointed and exhausted. A live video of Eycke performing "Poison Planet" with COC as a guest vocalist in 2011 remedied a number of his faults here and he reasonably delivered a swell performance.
The point? His vocals are a cog in the machine of sound quality, which, had it been somewhat decent, would've improved the overall product. Raw production shouldn't be a foreign concept to the worlds of metal and punk; it was and is a nearly comprehensive factor of both genres' early/demo days. The general mix and sound throughout "Eye For An Eye" is bad, even for the timeframe: the vocals drown out the music, the guitar tone is intangible and floppy, and the drums sound incredibly bland. The whole punk thing didn't seem to come in full fruition either as most of the album blends in like a pile of facedown cards and the few songs that stand out yield the sequential riff or idea that sticks, but ultimately cruise by in stealthy fashion. COC's cover of "Green Manalishi" grabbed my attention, however; proof that this faction had had some chemistry and capability despite the inadequacy.
It's important to note the members of COC were extremely young—only teenagers when they formed the band, and released this record a few years later—when "Eye For An Eye" had its original heyday. Interest was rekindled a bit after COC moved into post-Pepper territory and released their very fine self-titled album many years after a hiatus of sorts. However, it still stands as a fumbling, awkward effort which gives little value to COC's overall legacy. They found anchored ground a year later on "Animosity" and were eventually an entirely different band down the road despite the core trio of Mike Dean, Reed Mullin, and Woody Weatherman remaining intact throughout most of COC's biography. It has its moments, sure, but "Eye For An Eye" just doesn't cut it.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
Thrash metal, like other complex, non-microbial organisms, is the child of two distinct parents. The NWOBHM movement was obviously one, itself a child of traditional 70’s heavy metal and hard rock. Thrash’s other less appreciated parent; one might say its ‘deadbeat dad,’ was the hardcore variety of punk rock that by the early 80’s had found a home in slums all over the States. Almost every child exhibits traits of both of their parents, but some of course seem to take after one much more than the other.
Corrosion of Conformity are a good example of this, clearly taking after their scummier, dirtbag parent. They get a reasonable amount of cred from future generations as one of the progenitors of the hardcore/thrash crossover style. However you won’t find any traces of that sound here in their debut, because in 1984, there was no mistaking C.O.C. for anything but a punk band. One look at their image, their sketchy cover art, the abundance of tracks on their CD/LP. Heck, even their carefully alliterative moniker speaks to the punk movement’s rabid social discontent. But just like a young child dressing up in their parent’s clothes, there’s no mistaking them for what they really are. C.O.C, at this stage in the game, are children; amateurs attempting to recapture the sound of their influences but without the finesse or raw passion that their siblings (Neurosis and D.R.I. respectively, and for instance) so effortlessly display. Eye for an Eye is a terribly sloppy album (by punk standards even) and though it’s quite riffy at times and the instrumental aggression is occasionally there, the album is derailed by a half-hearted vocal effort (‘singer’ Eric Eycke would not be coming back for future albums), uneffective piecewise songwriting, and a rather flimsy guitar tone, perhaps adding to its frantic nature but robbing it of heaviness. Albums like this probably gave the future members of bands like E.N.T their first raging hard-ons. Long songs, short songs, fast songs, mid-paced songs; you probably won’t be bothered to remember any of ‘em by albums end.
Maybe I don’t spend enough time cranking music like this to an extreme volume while getting hammered to grasp its purpose. Thrash metal, with its variety of flavors and emphasis on musicality over message, easily fills the void scrappy, semi-aggressive punk fodder like this leaves in my musical predilection, with tons of material to spare. Perhaps the punks out there might dig it, but let’s face it: D.R.I. did it better and I’m sure a bunch of other bands did too.
As metal and hardcore punk began to rub shoulders in the middle eighties, some very interesting bands and albums began to appear across the world’s transom. Although many, many of you justifiably associate the name Corrosion Of Conformity with the stoner/classic rock vibe the band display these days, there was a time when they ran with the hardcore punk set, dragging a healthy amount of sludgy metal heaviness in their wake.
I first heard about the band from underground metal rags like Kick Ass! who praised the band to the rafters, which inspired me to crawl out to whatever back alley record spots I could slither into to locate their debut album, issued on the tiny Toxic Shock record label. Having procured a copy (wasn’t easy) I was immediately blown to back wall of my parent’s basement by it’s melding of Sabbath-like doom-laden riffs and hardcore velocity blended into a very leftist, probably Dead Kennedys derived political outlook. That’s to say that cuts like “Tell Me,” “Poison Planet,” and “Minds Are Controlled” seemed to have a lot on their minds besides just thrashing out. And then there was the just the total raging speed of “Redneckkk,” and “Rabid Dogs,” as well as the album’s totally unexpected cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi,” which was heavy as a septic tank and sounded like it might have been pulled out of one.
The band were killer players as well, featuring gravel throated singer Eric Eycke, guitarist Woody Weatherman (dragging a pretty profound Black Flag influence along) and the sloppy though rumbling rhythms laid down by drummer Reed Mullin and bassist Mike Dean. It was soon to become a legendary debut, reissued a few times with varying extra material, but my old vinyl copy of the original pressing is so near and dear to my heart, It’s hard for me to ever see replacing it with cold, distant digital. It’s true that C.O.C. would move through many changes in their long and somewhat uneasy evolution. At the time of this release, nobody could argue with the band’s intimidating mixture of heavy sounds with any regard for scene membership or solidarity.
Ok, for the record, I love old school hardcore and I love C.O.C. But this is absolute garbage. Just pure, undiluted, auditory suckage. I don't recommend this shit to anybody, even fans of the hardcore scene from which Corrorosion of Conformity rose.
The first song sounds like somebody stepping all over the fretboard while his talkboy is running. Their "singer" is produced so his voice is distorted and drowns the instrumentation out completely. I have made better demos on boomboxes. Asides from that hideous first Assuck album, the dirty rotten lp and some kvlt black metal demo, this is the worst sounding album there is. Just noisy, half assed song after noisy halfassed song.
Minor Threat, the Germs, MDC, Suicidal, etc. had that whole songwriting thing going for them. Regardless of their talent or lack thereof, they always came up with killer shit. CoC's first album is fucking horrible... thank god they found Pepper!