It’s been well over a decade since ‘In The Arms of God’ was released and although we’ve had a smattering of Pepper Keenan with Down and a recent splurge of activity in COC as a three-peice; we’ve been quietly dreaming of this album becoming a reality. And here it is!
‘No Cross No Crown’ eases you into proceeding with ‘Novus Deus’ which is remiscent of ‘Like Shrouded Temples’ with a slow jam to get the fire lit. It builds the expectation to fever pitch.
After that, we’re off with an almighty bang. ‘The Luddite’ crashes in with the subtlety of Stone Cold Steve Austin. It immediately signals the return of Pepper and takes you straight to the southern edged rock of Pepper’s days on the vocals; even if, on the first listen it all sounds a little off-kilter. The groove is slightly disturbed on this one, the drums, vocals and riffs seem to be battling each other to get upfront rather than working together, making for quite an abrasive sound.
Following on from there, ‘Cast The First Stone’ really sees the band back in their stride. This is probably the most classic COC sounding song on the album and could have been lifted straight out of the ‘Wiseblood’ sessions. One that is destined for the live set next time we see them live.
There’s plenty more on offer to rekindle the old fire too. ‘Liitle Man’ cranks up with a typical COC swagger and ‘Forgive Me’ is a little speeding ticket waiting to happen with a rollicking riff and those trademark Woodroe guitar flourishes.
The album is filled out with instrumental interludes, much like ‘Deliverance’ which gives it that complete peice of music feel. Musically, however, we are somewhere between ‘Wiseblood’ and ‘Americas Volume Dealer’ territory for the most part. It almost feels likee a natural successor to ‘In the Arms…’. Forget about the decade plus and a couple of COC albums that splits them up. Maybe it is lacking a little bit of the irresistible flow of ‘Deliverance’ and doesn’t quite have the majesty of that release. But not many albums out there do, and this stands up to the back catalogue very capably indeed.
We loved what COC were doing as a three-piece recently, escpecially those ‘Animosity’ shows. However, from the moment they stepped back on stage together as a quartet in Manchester, just a couple of years back, we’ve been patiently waiting for new music and we haven’t been let down by the guys here.
COC have picked up pretty much where they left off with Pepper, and that suits us!
We’ll see you at Hellfest, if not before!