Corrosion of Conformity – In the Arms of God – Review

corrosionofconformity200Corrosion of Conformity

In the Arms of God (Sanctuary)
By Martin Popoff

Usually, if an album is supposed to grow on you, it means it sucks. But In the Arms of God will likely buck that trend, for me, for you, for God’s sake. Starting like a grow-(op), I was instantly turned off by the uncommerciality of this, the lack of tidy rockers. But also instantly, there was a respect for the band’s shaggy shambling, its retention of all those cool COC traits, the doom, the stoner, the sludge, the blues, the creaking Clutch-ness of the band’s best groovy tunes. There are eccentricities here, the main one being the busy and loud and sometimes Bonham-esque and Bonham-toned drumming of guest skinsman, Stanton Moore of Galactic. He’s everywhere like Keith Moon, more than just a backbone, and he’s left boldly in the humid, organic, though slightly guitar-weak mix. Pepper’s either his usual great self on vocals, or again, eccentric, a little flat or sharp or fragile or frantic, and even he’s up and down in the mix. But all this adds to the album’s underground charm, not to mention there’s a paucity of hooks and hits on here. With a jammy, sludgy record like this, you’re supposed to let it seep into yer floorboards as an entirety, I suppose, and that’s pretty commendable of COC, who, like Clutch, have stayed heavy, but shed any shackles of genre-descriptive tags and become just some sort of semi-legendary fecund rock combo with swampy, Southern roots, torrents of chemistry, improvisational virtuosity, defiant, slack, and relaxed integrity.

But yes, In the Arms of God is a struggle, and the verdict’s out, at least for me, whether I’ll be able to peel back the onion and get a good feed off of two, three, four, or more songs. That righteous metal place so convincingly inhabited by Deliverance and Wiseblood… I don’t know if Pepper and crew care to take the band there any more, and maybe we gotta learn to live with that, go with the flow and all that.