After a few years of downtime, Corrosion Of Conformity return to their classic down and dirty sound with In The Arms Of God, which will, I predict, stand as one of their most accomplished releases as well as one of the best hard rock albums of the year.
Their last record, 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, saw Pepper Keenan and crew polishing up their sound and shortening their songs—a departure from their earlier material. Apparently, they weren’t happy with it and sometimes, regression can be awesome. In The Arms Of God sounds like the master tape was soaked in beer and left to sit in the Louisiana sun for a month to ferment a gritty but full lager of aural enjoyment.
But the real treat on this album is the enlisting of jazz fusion drummer Stanton Moore, a friend of Pepper’s. I want Moore to be my friend, too. His unique bent on COC’s material makes this album completely unstoppable. “Stonebreaker,” the album’s opener, contains some of the most technically proficient yet fearsomely masculine drum fills ever to grace a New Orleans hard rock export.
Pepper ain’t slacking either, though. The songwriting is dynamic, varied and sometimes surprising. “It Is That Way” is rife with leads over a classic COC groove, while “Rise River Rise” grooves along on a head-turning Middle Eastern rhythm figure and the dazzling title track closes out the album with one of the most alarmingly heavy riffs Keenan has ever recorded.
A must-have for Corrosion Of Conformity fans and everyone else should look into it as well. Fucking awesome.