Corrosion of Conformity - In The Arms of God - 2005 - Sanctuary Records
1. In The Arms of God 2. Stone Breaker 3. Paranoid Opioid 4. It Is That Way 5. Dirty Hands, Empty Pockets/Already Gone 6. Rise River Rise 7. Never Turns to More 8. Infinite War 9. So Much Left Behind 10. Backslider 11. World on Fire 12. Crown of Thorns 13. In The Arms of God
Let me be perfectly honest, right up front: I wasnt sure what to expect from the new COC, but as a longtime loyal fan, I was hoping for the best. Let's face it, while their last studio effort "America's Volume Dealer" was a stylistic wonder, with many high marks, it wasn't the dirty, sludgy, swampfest that COC fans have come to know and love. One thing COC fans have come to expect from their boys, however, is change. Just when you think you know where they're going, they pull something new out of their collective hats. In keeping with that tradition of change, "In The Arms of God" adds yet another twist to the COC story. Think of everything good about every COC release, then think of an album that incorporates all of those things into one! When you get that firmly in mind, you'll have an idea of where the new one takes you.
The opening track is "Stone Breaker", 5:31 of heavy, sleazy riffage that would have fit well with "Deliverance" era COC. The next three tracks, "Paranoid Opioid", "It Is That Way", and "Dirty Hands, Empty Pockets/Already Gone" follow into the territory between "Deliverance" and "Wiseblood". Each are uniquely heavy and marked by the enduring Keenan-growl that has made COC the premiere "swamp metal" band in the genre. "Rise River Rise" and "Never Turns To More" are solid rockers, having the same polish and superb song structure as those found on "AVD".
"Infinite War" is a harder driven, almost "punkish" romp featuring guitarist Woody Weatherman on vox, with ample aid from bassist Mike Dean. Fans of the earliest COC will find this one appealing. "So Much Left Behind" has an almost 70s acid rock feel ala Jimi Hendrix. Keenan pulls it off amazingly well. "Backslider' goes on a bit longer than probably necessary at 6:30, but it's far from the longest track. That distinction is held by "Never Turns to More" at 8:21 and it's a quality tune, regardless. "World on Fire" was featured on the "AVD" import version, but has been tweaked for this release. The last minute of the song alone is worth its weight in gold! Fans of the Thin Lizzy-inspired guitar harmonies of Keenan and Weatherman will appreciate this one.
"Crown of Thorns" is a bit over two minutes long and plays out as the eerie, morbid-sweet lead in to the final and title track, "In The Arms of God". For 6:41 the listener's senses are pummeled by a dark, brooding heaviness unlike anything that's been experienced since the days of "Blind". Overall I'd say the new album met, exceeded, and steamrolled over even my highest expectations. It was four years in coming, but it was well worth the wait.
--Susan Wright 03.14.05
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details