Corrosion of Conformity In the Arms of God
by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
of Conformity is a band that I have seen go through many phases. They
came up in 1984 as a kind of hardcore "skater punk" band with
their album, "Eye For An Eye". It was the kind of hardcore punk/metal
that maxed out at two riffs, and two minutes, for each song. Add a lot
of screaming to the mix and, well, you get the idea. In '85 they released
"Six Songs With Mike Singing," and it was basically the same
formula with bass player Mike Dean screaming. Some change in style was
coming about with 1986's "Animosity" album though. Songs were
getting a little bit longer, and they even ventured into three chord territory
once or twice. Still the same screamo punk metal, but the tracks were
actually starting to resemble songs somewhat. The "Technocracy"
album in 1987 was a similar offering to "Animosity", also. It
wasn't until 1991 that this band really came to be. With the release of
"Blind," C.O.C. became a viable, straight forward metal band.
They abandoned their street punk roots and penned a precious metal album.
With "Blind" came the release of their first ever single, "Vote
With A Bullet," which, arguably, remains the best song they've ever
had to ask yourself what happened. What happened in the four years from
the "Animosity" album in 1987, to the "Blind" album
in '91? Well, let me tell you. Pepper Keenan happened. Sure, the guy brought
his guitar playing to the band (and I mean real guitar playing), but most
of all he came with real songs. The style of his writing was a perfect
match for the direction that the band was ready to travel. But, we still
needed to prepare ourselves for one more contribution from Pepper Keenan.
It was on 1994's masterpiece, "Deliverance," that Pepper took
over the lead vocal duties - and the rest, as they say, is history. Keenan's
looser, deeper, and ultimately more punishing vocal style was yet another
perfect match for the band's overall sound. This is the point where the
band could've conquered the world (if it wasn't for Pearl Jam, anyway).
Their follow-up LP, "Wiseblood," was not quite the force that
"Deliverance" was, but it was still far above the average metal
album of the time. This band was set to explode, it was only a matter
of time. In between C.O.C. albums, Pepper Keenan combined forces with
Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo to bring us the Down project. By cutting
one of the best metal records of all time, with that first Down disc,
Keenan had proven himself to be a premier songwriter and guitar player
in the metal scene. After returning to the C.O.C. fold, the band released
"America's Volume Dealer," which was, again, much better than
your average metal record, but not quite what "Deliverance"
was. The band released a live album in 2001, which shunned all of the
releases before "Blind" entirely; which made it perfectly clear
that they had found their calling. The band was now poised to carry on
with their top notch, straight forward metal formula, and release the
centerpiece of their career. Let's see if "In The Arms Of God"
is that record.