It was 1984 when “Eye For An Eye”, the debut by CORROSION OF CONFORMITY was released. While the band is best known for its Stoner/Sludge Metal style, their first effort was quite different. The cover artwork, the name of the band, and even the number of tracks (originally 20) make quite apparent that the record dwells in the realms of Hardcore Punk, and in this case looks do not deceive, as its sound follows all the patterns one would expect from the genre.
In 2012 the album was reissued with the addition of six tracks sung by their bassist Mike Dean (still old recordings, from an EP they released in 1989, appropriately titled “Six Songs With Mike Singing”), who would also be the singer for their second record, “Animosity”, while the original release songs portray Eric Eycke on vocals.
The music does not stand out much from the many Hardcore bands that arose in the 80s. Aggressive and crude, with relatively decent riffing and some hints of Thrash Metal here and there that would become more prominent in “Animosity”. Production is very raw, which for all we know might be intentional. Most of the songs are quite fast with occasional break downs and several dually recorded solos (not always in tune, for better or worse). The bass does some interesting things, drawing away from the straight forward pattern of the guitars, but then again it also seems a bit sloppy from time to time.
Vocals are delivered with anger and intensity, but very little technique (if any). With that said, Eycke’s singing is really not my cup of tea, and that is the aspect of this album I enjoy the least. In fact, while not necessarily good either, Dean’s vocals do sound better, which is particularly noticeable if one compares both versions of the title track, “Eye For An Eye”, but his singing performance can only be heard in the very brief extra tracks, which altogether last for less than 7 minutes, and by the way, recording and production for these songs seem more elaborate.
Reissuing this album comes out as a rather controversial decision. It is not a bad record if you are into the genre, but definitely not the CORROSION OF CONFORMITY their Metal fan base is most appreciative of, the one that has actually attained a certain amount of success in the music industry, doing Metal, not Punk.
(Online August 22, 2013)