When Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan sings, "I once was blind/But now I see," it's an allusion-packed phrase. The line echoes Black Sabbath's "Snowblind" and name-checks Blind
, the 1991 breakthrough release on which COC outgrew thrash's two-minute time frame while maintaining its intensity throughout sprawling Southern-rock tunes. More important, though, it's a religious reference, one of many on this surprisingly spiritual effort. Usually when God makes a cameo in a metal album title, the band throws together a few Bible-bashing lines and calls it a concept. In the Arms of God
feels like the result of serious mountaintop meditation. Keenan designates sacred ground, suffers a crisis of faith, speaks in divine first person and, on the album's title track, bellows "God
" as if on his knees in the Garden of Gethsemane. The band plays with passion, moving from mystical acoustic melodies to mammoth riffs and punctuating choruses with the sort of drum solos that usually only happen at arena gigs.