In the Arms of God (Sanctuary)

Corrosion of Conformity 

In the Arms of God (Sanctuary)

If Ronnie Van Zant had replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath sometime around 1974, the result would probably have sounded a lot like the latest disc from North Carolina's Corrosion of Conformity. In the Arms of God is a fierce, impressive comeback effort from these guys, and after five years away, it better be.

Surprisingly, Arms doesn't come stomping right out of the gate -- "Stone Breaker," the album's opener, cruises hazily in on a wave of organ and psychedelic guitar before the Southern thrash riffs begin to roar and crunch. Each of the album's 12 tracks is a forceful gut-punch, with plenty of bass in the mix to juice the already hip-swingin' grooves. C.O.C. has been mixing Southern rock with metal for a couple of decades, and it's mastered its particular sound at this point. Special attention must be paid to the swinging drums, courtesy of Galactic's Stanton Moore. Only Pepper Keenan's still-rudimentary vocals, which no amount of computer filtering can mask, are a drag. Five years between studio albums is too long for a band this powerful.

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