Corrosion of Conformity - Eye For An Eye Review
by Matt Hensch
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 some chemistry and capability despite the inadequacy.
It's important to note the members of COC were extremely youngonly teenagers when they formed the band, and released this record a few years laterwhen "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.
Corrosion of Conformity - Eye For An Eye
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