It was bound to happen, huh?

In the eyes of some fans, Corrosion of Conformity’s ongoing reunion skipped a crucial piece: singer and guitarist Pepper Keenan. For years, COC principals have dutifully been answering for Keenan’s whereabouts. Until recently, the band mostly demurred, citing Keenan’s busy schedule and his commitment to Southern metal supergroup Down.

But this past weekend, drummer Reed Mullin finally gave the late-era COC fans what they’ve been wanting: Pepper Keenan will rejoin Corrosion of Conformity next year.

“Yeah, we’re getting together next year,” Mullin told Heavy Blog Is Heavy. “We’re going to do an album and do some touring. We’ve done this three-piece enough to where we want to do something different. That’s going to happen probably somewhere close to the beginning of the year.”

The band’s core trio—Mullin, singer/bassist Mike Dean and guitarist Woodroe Weatherman—was responsible for 1985’s landmark thrash LP, Animosity. And the band’s roster was a revolving door for years; plenty of other singers—Eric Eycke, Karl Agell, Simon Bob Sinister—had been left out, too. The second-wind trio configuration ultimately produced two albums that managed to craft a new era, fusing highlights from the band’s hardcore punk salad days and mainstream metal glory days. But Keenan fronted the band during its most commercially successful period. The band signed to Columbia Records in time for 1994’s top-selling Deliverance and even notched a Grammy nomination for “Drowning in a Daydream,” from 1996’s Wiseblood.

Reuniting with Keenan always seemed like an obvious point for the revitalized COC. And with Prosthetic Records’ recent announcement that they would be reissuing 1991’s Blind (on which Keenan played guitar and Agell sang) and Deliverance in deluxe vinyl editions, the COC’s re-reunion news hardly feels like a surprise.

So, here we are, with Pepper headed back to COC.