COC America's Volume Dealer

It's been four years since North Carolina's finest released their last album, Wiseblood, and this is one heavily rocking album. COC (the acronym is now the official name) are continuing along the swampy paths that their past two albums have gone down, a heavy Southern rock/metal sound reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Metallica's self-titled album. Truth be told, the past four COC albums are the albums that Metallica should have been making, catchy and full of groove and heaviness but still sounding real, honest and not (too) goofy. Opener "Over Me" is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time, other faves being "Congratulations Song," "Zippo," which is almost horribly cheesy, but just too fun to ignore, and "13 Angels," a slower Sabbath-inspired dirge. Things get a bit boring during "Doublewide" and "Sleeping Martyr," a bit silly for closer "Gittin' It On," and "Take What You Want" borders on '70s funk, but I still can't help but get caught up in it all. A major complaint is the drum sound; the band seemed excited about using the electronic drums, but for such a down-to-earth rock band, it just adds a weird phoney vibe to the mix. But it's not that noticeable unless you're thinking about it. The album doesn't have the hooks and catchy riffs that the last two had to suck you in right away, but after a couple of listens, you just gotta admit, COC fuckin' rock. (Sanctuary)