I can say without blinking or batting an eye that “In The Arms Of God” is easily my most anticipated album of the past 3 years. Though many people seem to hate “America’s Volume Dealers”, I personally find the album very gratifying once you dig beneath the surface. With it’s smooth tones and crafty songwriting, AVD may not have been Sabbath-laden slab of heaviness of albums prior but it had a mature sensibility to go with the occasional lashings-out. For those who chose to turn away due to AVD, they have seriously short-changed themselves on an album that is a surefire “Album Of The Year” candidate.
I was fortunate enough to hear most of this album before it’s actual release which gave me some extra time to soak it all in before reviewing it here. While it was nice to hear prior to April 5th, there’s always something special about tearing open a new release and awaiting unheard songs to grace your ears and despite knowing what to expect, the difference in quality was enough to keep my senses peaked.
I’ve read quite a few reviews that are calling ITAOG a “return to form” for COC which I’m not completely buying. From my perspective, each album from “Blind” until now has a different attitude or final coating but overall, the expert quality of musicianship was always at the forefront of every song this band has crafted. Everything about COC has always been top-notch so before I even heard one singular note, I was of the mind that not much could be added to this formula…until now.
Enter Stanton Moore, drummer of jazz outfit Galactic. As a close friend of lead vocalist Pepper Keenan, he brought Mr. Moore aboard to handle the backbeat for “In The Arms Of God” and throughout each song, his drumming brings COC’s sound to the next level (a phrase I usually find pretentious or overblown). Here, it’s fits like a glove. Since the days of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, most drum sounds have been tightened and the resonance has been filtered out to make for a crisper and more lifeless overall sound. Stanton Moore’s drumming does quite the opposite as his combination of free-form technique and classic tones bring forth a rare feeling that when he’s hitting the drums, they are almost hitting back. It’s seriously a beautiful thing to behold.
As for the rest, the Corrosion lads are up to their same old tricks: awe-inspiring riffs, trippy melodies, hypnotic bass rumblings and leads that would make Hendrix himself raise an eyebrow all laced with Pepper Keenan’s bayou-basted vocal genius; a talent that James Hetfield could only dream of having. Did I mention that this is your next purchase? Album Of The Year? Yeah…..you’ve wasted enough time already by not buying this album.