This was the third and to date final album to be recorded by what has become regarded as the classic line-up of Pepper Keenan on vocals and guitar, Woody Weatherman on lead guitar, Mike Dean on bass and founding member Reed Mullin on the drums, as Reed would depart from the band for almost a decade.
The album is much more mellow, restrained and laid back than the albums which preceded it, and lacks part of their pure metallic aggression. In part this is largely understandable when you consider just how dramatically the musical landscape had changed since the band started down their current direction.
Do not fear any sort of radical alteration of sound or any extreme comercialisation or sell out however, this restraint only makes itself known in things like Pepper Keenan using more of the melodic vocals he already sometimes used, and the producer taking some of the hard edge out of the guitar sound.
There are some softer moments, such as the Country and Western tinged ballad ‘Stare Too Long,’ and the half loud, half quiet ‘Sleeping Martyr,’ and ‘Thirteen Angels,’ which all adds a little variety to the listening experience, but overall America’s Volume Dealer is still at heart a big Sabbath Inspired, Southern tinged Stoner Rock/Heavy Metal album, suitable for fans of Down, Clutch, Kyuss etc.
Highlights include ‘Zippo,’ ‘Who’s Got The Fire’ and the more famous ‘Diablo BLV’ all of which contain the same sort of excellent riffs and solos that have become synonymous with Corrosion Of Conformity and are sure to delight fans of the previous two records.
Overall, America’s Volume Dealer is a very good album and while it cannot live up to the amazing standards of their previous two records, it is still a damn fine addition to any fan’s collection that contains enough well written and interesting songs, impressive musicianship and strong vocals to keep your attention for multiple listens.