For much of their first decade of activity (and occasional inactivity), Corrosion of Conformity’s career was as unruly and chaotic as their violent fusion of metal and punk. For a brief moment in 1985, however, everything seemed to come together around Animosity, the group’s second full-length album.

This was the release where arguably the most “classic” of Corrosion of Conformity’s several possible alternatives — guitarist Woody Weatherman, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin — collected themselves, focused their talents, and produced one of the seminal documents of the '80s crossover movement, melding hardcore with thrash.

The results were rife with wonderfully hectic musical tantrums like “Loss for Words,” “Consumed,” "Prayer" and "Intervention" that found a new composure thanks to improved musicianship, songwriting and production. Another album standout, “Holier,” was later covered by Metallica, who were also likely introduced to artist Pushead through his work on Animosity's cover.

But they also included deviations from type in the doom-laden title track, the near crust-core-level savagery of “Hungry Child,” and dizzying feedback swoops of “Kiss of Death,” all of which unfolded as Dean’s demented vocals, Mullin’s brutalizing barrage and Weatherman’s Black Sabbath-inspired riffs wrapped themselves around listeners with the ruthless finality of a boa constrictor.

Alas, such was the underground status of all groups mining this pioneering musical genre that Corrosion of Conformity would enjoy precious few monetary or even critical rewards for their considerable leap forward with Animosity. Instead, the group would reap their rewards further down the line, via the heavy music watershed that was 1991’s Blind, and their first proper hit record in 1994’s Deliverance.

Of course those records were created by other, very different configurations of Corrosion of Conformity, but that’s another story – one made possible by the crucial foundations laid down by Animosity.

Masterpieces: The Very Best Albums From More Than 100 Classic Rock Acts