Article and Photos by: Steven Principato
Montclair, NJ – Standing tall as North Jersey’s most notable venue for larger acts, The historic Wellmont Theater, located in swanky downtown Montclair once again opened it’s doors to accommodate a blackened parade of metal-heads, lining the streets as they waited, gleefully yet inadvertently frightening the local upscale residents shuffling by. This is a scene that describes virtually every metal themed event hosted by the Wellmont, yet this picture never seems to loose it’s charm – judging by the heavy police presence.
Kicking off tonight’s mayhem like no opening act could, Brooklyn NY’s Mutoid Man, a power trio of local metal enthusiasts next-door, proudly marched upon the massive stage of the Wellmont, virtually dwarfing themselves as this high-energy act explored their new frontier. Despite these agoraphobic surroundings, the boys of Mutoid Man took little time in overpowering the hall with the help of their unique, groove-heavy arsenal, fully equipped with a playful-but-noteworthy progressive edge to this broad sword of metal. Besides the clear and present musical virtuosity of this pseudo-super-group, (with members formerly of Converge) unlike similar acts, Mutoid Man appears to pride itself in their comical slapstick stage antics between and during songs, a refreshing reminder that they know better than to take all of this too seriously.
Taking the prime spot in tonight’s feature were legendary southern sludge outfit, Corrosion of Conformity. Going back to the early days, C.O.C.’s roots were firmly established in a hyper-aggressive, hardcore punk origin of the early ’80s, slowly crawling and mutating over the decades and lineup changes into their current grooved, doom-laden, pro-stoner manifestation. Despite over 30 turbulent years of evolution, one fact remains the same: C.O.C. never quit being red blooded American rednecks, and most importantly, never forgot where they came from.
Emerging on stage one by one, founding members, Woody, Mike, and Reed began assembling the skull crushing sludge beast about to be unleashed upon the willing crowd below. Completing the line-up as front man and one time member of doom super-group, Down, Pepper Keenan stormed onto stage before a massive roar. No stranger to this close-knit society of southern Sabbath worship, Pepper proceeded to deliver his gospel of pain before a packed house of eager, raging metal-heads. Covering a wide range of tracks from their expansive catalog, including groove-laden and de-tuned favorites like “Paranoid Opioid” and “Wiseblood,” C.O.C. is a band that remained true to sound they pioneered, alongside the family-like N.O.L.A. sludge scene which thrives to this day.
Wrapping up their brief tour in a few days with Mutoid Man and the guy who sang for the Misfits back in the day, we hope to see more of C.O.C. dates in the near future!