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Corrosion of Conformity: In the Arms of God

It's been five years since the last CD from Corrosion of Conformity, America's Volume Dealer, released on Sanctuary Records in 2000, but the COC gang are back with another lethal platter of hard rocking stoner grooves that will certainly please their legion of fans. In the Arms of God is a striking work, littered with heavy yet thoughtful guitar riffs, thunderous grooves, and powerful, angry vocals, all done with a doomy Southern flair. COC take their hardcore roots, throws in heaping amounts of Black Sabbath style sludge, and adds some Southern Rock boogie on top for a nice twist, and it all works here on their latest quite nicely.

You really get a jam packed feast of hard rocking metal with the CD's twelve tunes, many tracking in the 5-6 minute range. "It is That Way" is a grinding riff monster with echoed vocals from Pepper Keenan and wild psychedelic wah-wah guitar solos, and a song that could have been a leftover from Black Sabbath's Vol. 4, or even any of the Down albums. The aggressive and angst filled "Paranoid Opioid" shows the bands hardcore influence, while on "Stone Breaker" they mix stoner and modern metal quite effectively with some catchy melodies. On the raging "Dirty Hands Empty Pockets/Already Gone", Keenan's vocals drip with sweaty Lynyrd Skynyrd edge over the pummeling guitar chords that he and Woody Weatherman churn out. Speaking of Skynyrd, "Rise River Rise" is a Southern Rock monster, with slide & acoustic guitars, plus a real homegrown yet chilling vibe.

One of the most interesting pieces is the eight-minute cruncher that is "Never Turns to More", one of the albums more adventurous tunes, and also one of the heaviest. Here Keenan and Weatherman create blissfull Sabbath styled riffs, constantly shifting gears yet always heavy, and throwing in plenty of melodic harmony fills as well. Ominous fast paced doom can be heard on the short "Infinite War", a song that will easily please fans of early Savatage or Trouble, while there's plenty of Southern sludge on the mesmerizing stomp of "So Much Left Behind".

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath era Sabbath-meets Down on the bizarre "Backslider", a tune with varied vocals from Keenan, 70's Moog synth sounds, and crushing riffs. The relentless rhythm section of bassist Mike Dean and drummer Stanton Moore propel the hard driving "World on Fire" into speedier territory, highlighted also by a great dual harmony guitar solo from Keenan and Weatherman. After the gentle acoustic instrumental "Crown of Thorns". the band closes out the CD with the brutal title track, a near seven-minute riff monster with ominous guitar tones that will send chills up and down your spine, and plenty of forceful shouts from Keenan.

Perhaps a little heavier than the past few releases, In the Arms of God will be a pleasant return to the metal world for COC after a lengthy break. Fans of the burgeoning stoner genre will no doubt drink deeply from the heavy grooves that lie within this release. Release date is April 5, 2005. Get in line now.

Track Listing
01. Stonebreaker
02. Paranoid Opioid
03. It's That Way
04. Diry Hands Empty Pockets / Already Gone
05. Rise River Rise
06. Never Turns To More
07. Infinite War
08. So Much Left Behind
09. Backslider
10. World On Fire
11. Crown Of Thorns
12. In The Arms Of God

Added: April 24th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: COC Website
Hits: 10183
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Corrosion of Conformity: In the Arms of God
Posted by Yves Dubé, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-04-24 10:48:27
My Score:

With the sublety of a kick in the teeth, Corrosion Of Conformity returns for an 8th disc, a half-decade since their previous release. The riff is still king on In The Arms Of God as monster tracks like "Paranoid Opiod " and "Is It That Way" have the band clearly wearing their Sabbath influences on their sleeves. The entire disc has a sludgy, heavy, downer induced vibe to it. Vocalist Pepper Keenan shows a flair for the higher sounding Ozzy vocals as well as a much more muscular grunts, reminiscent of great front men like Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) and Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down). Guitarist Woody Weatherman alternates from slow and heavy riffage to wah-wah laden solos which always seem to fit in nicely with the feel of the tracks. Aside from the mighy Sabs, COC also blend in certain Southern Rock and psychedelic influences. "Rise River Rise" has a definite Monster Magnet vibe to it with it's Eastern sounding acoustic guitar and Wyndorfian vocals. "So Much Left Behind" seems to have a Led Zeppelin feel to it, with a definite blues-rock penchant to it. "Backslider" harkens back to the grunge era, with it's droning riff and more Ozzy influenced vocals. "Crown Of Thorns" may be the closest thing to a ballad on this disc and wouldn't be out of place on a BigElf album, as Pepper's vocals sound eerily like Damon Fox's on this number. It's but a brief song which segues into the title track. "In The Arms Of God" may be the album's most bombastic number as it opens with much pomposity and fanfare, before become an old-school thrasher.

In The Arms Of God is superb effort through and through. Corrosion Of Conformity is a solid outfit which takes no prisoners and asks no quarter. Recommended.

Corrosion of Conformity: In the Arms of God
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-29 06:28:46
My Score:

Metallica meets Stevie Ray Vaughn in the bayou and the result is a heavy, bluesy sludge-fest with gruff vocals, slow riff-laden songs, and an hour of hard-rockin' metal. Sounds a bit like Sabbath doesn't it? Well - the southern blues-rock tone that drives Corrosion Of Conformity's first new release in five years is a little old fashioned, and not too far removed from mid-era Sabbath.

Since their formation in 1982, CoC - as they like to be known - has released 8 studio albums, and each has been different from its predecessor. They started as one of the first hardcore punk acts, moved through thrash, and heavy metal, eventually arriving at their present style: This record may be one may be the heaviest and slowest of them all, yet it also shows a great deal of variety from song to song.

Take the last two tracks: "Crown Of Thorns" is a short, eerie piece underpinned by a simple acoustic guitar, with a softly sung multi-part harmony - and punctuated by snippets of distorted spoken voice. Intriguing, if a bit morbid. Yet the final song - the title track - is the polar opposite. It starts with a hard riff, and like so many other songs on this CD, it is driven by the drumming. The vocals are harsh and angry, the riffs are powerful and dominant, and the pace only lets up around halfway through when there's a brief acoustic guitar section followed by intense, spoken lyrics, and the tension quickly builds up into a big instrumental with rock-hard riffs under Hendrix like wailing guitars. Fairly melodic, almost progressive, and very powerful. The opening track is another standout, with its bluesy lead solo the incredibly strong riffs and that testosterone-drenched singing - you just know that Corrosion Of Conformity will be a killer act to see live. CoC's lyrics have always been intelligent, and after a close listen to In the Arms Of God you're left in no doubt about the band's political leanings. (Listen to "Infinite War".)

This is strong, heavy music that demands your attention. This is music with balls.

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