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.
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
10. World On Fire
11. Crown Of Thorns
12. In The Arms Of God