After heading back to their raucous hardcore roots on their self-titled 2012 album, Corrosion of Conformity return with their ninth album, the aptly titled IX. Where their last full-length was a testament to their early days, IX finds the band returning to a heavier, more Southern rock-influenced sound. Kicking off with "Brand New Sleep" and "Elphyn," the band dives deep into sludgy, Sabbath-worshiping stoner metal with a pair of songs jammed with doomy, slithering riffs that seem to magically appear from a thick haze of smoke. It feels as though Corrosion of Conformity are growing more comfortable with being a trio again, and as such they're unafraid to just jam out and see where a riff might take them. While it was fun to see the bandmembers revisit their formative era, it's nice to see them loosening up and trusting their instincts, which rarely seem to lead them to a dead end. On their self-titled album, it felt as though they were trying to force themselves to find their identity again with the original lineup by doing a few warm-up laps and seeing what happened. Now that they've worked out the kinks, their return to the thick, sludgy sound of albums like Deliverance shows that they're not afraid to stand in the formidable shadow of former frontman Pepper Keenan. And while fans of the raw power of their previous effort might be a bit disappointed in the looser vibe of IX, the fans who have been waiting patiently for Corrosion of Conformity to show off their heavier side should be more than happy with the album.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney