Sanctuary Records
Release date: April 5, 2005

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Some spacey synth work is an odd intro for such an organic band, but that is what commences “Stone Breaker,” the first of three bouncy, bluesy songs that open the latest Corrosion of Conformity (CoC) release In the Arms of God. As well suited to a hemp festival as a juke joint, CoC is a smooth, charcoal-filtered blend of Southern Boogie and Stoner Rock. This represents the band’s deep-fried roots, from their start in North Carolina to their current roster of New Orleans-based players, including session drummer Stanton Moore, who adds a jazzy flair to the bottom end.

The swinging “It Is That Way” is perhaps of one of heavier songs on the record, with a pulsing bass pushing it along. “Dirty Hands Empty Pockets/Already Gone,” which gives a big thumbs down to war, is backed up by a rowdy bump and grind from the rest of the band. The conversational vocals, delivered in a rich, swampy drawl, are affable, yet accusatory in nature. “You observed it from the start, now you’re a million miles apart, as we bleed another nation so you can watch your favorite station” states Pepper Keenan, pointing a finger at those who rest in comfort while he can never rest in peace. Yet, he proclaims “Remember me when you’re safe at home,” hinting he supports the soldiers in Iraq.

Some more south-of-the-border styling influence “Rise River Rise,” which is moved along by some Spanish-style guitar strumming. A more 60’s feel creeps into “Never Turns to More,” with a bit of British Pop perhaps influencing the lilting chorus. “Infinite War,” however, almost sounds like it could have fallen off a Slayer album, reminding us that CoC used to lean more towards Hardcore and Metal. Even the leads sound like something King and Hanneman could have conjured up in a more soulful moment.

“So Much Left Behind” features some distorted, hypnotic guitar, while it is the vocals’ turn to get trippy on “Backslider.” More nimble-fingered picking can be found on the head-nodder “World On Fire,” which has an Eagles “Hotel California” style lead outro. Fortunately, CoC keeps theirs a bit less lengthy. The somber acoustic guitar and vocal piece, “Crown of Thorns,” leads into the fierce, fist-pumping title track, which closes the album. A dramatic voice and some thundering drums in the bridge distinguish the song.

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