CD Review of When Angels and Serpents Dance by P.O.D.
Recommended if you like
Deftones, Rage Against the Machine, Sevendust
Label
Ino/Columbia
P.O.D.:
When Angels and Serpents Dance

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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M
etal band with reggae, punk and hip-hop roots sells millions of records, founding guitarist leaves, new guitarist enters, superstar producer works magic on last record, band parts with label, old guitarist returns, new guitarist leaves, band records new, most complete and mature album of their career, the end. It’s never dull or boring in the world of P.O.D., the metal band with a Christian message and a sound that, like the Deftones, separates them and ranks them amongst the best of their genre.

Jason Truby filled in admirably on 2003’s Payable on Death, The Warriors EP Volume 2, and 2006’s Glen Ballard-produced Testify, adding different textures and feel to their sound. Marcos Curiel has made peace with his bandmates and leaves his mark all over the record. Eleven of the 13 tracks begin with guitar intros, some briefer than others. As P.O.D. has evolved, their ability to zip in and out of styles has become as impressive as the continued development of, and improvement in, Sonny Sandoval’s singing ability.

P.O.D.

“Addicted” opens the record with a rap/rock burst in which Sonny Sandoval delivers the rapid-fire vocals, often at the edge of his range, before singing the hooky chorus. “Shine With Me” is akin to the poppier material from Testify. “It Can Rain” begins with a very soulful and moody guitar intro before morphing into a polished pop ballad. “Kali-Forn-Eye-A” has a Suicidal Tendencies feel because it features Mike Muir on co-lead vocals. These songs present a band aware of its past but very interested in pushing forward. They pay homage to their influences, as with the track featuring Muir, but it sounds like P.O.D. incorporating elements of that punk sound, not an imitation of Suicidal Tendencies.

You get the expected taste of reggae and a hint of the Clash in a riff or two on the delicious “I’ll Be Ready,” which features the Marley Girls on backing vocals. “God Forbid” is rabid, blistering track featuring Helmet’s Page Hamilton. The title track is a swirling modern rock song full of biblical imagery and metaphor. P.O.D continues to be true to themselves musically while stretching and exploring within the genre. The album sounds like a P.O.D. record, but it doesn’t sound like just another P.O.D. record. This, like Testify, is going on the best-of list at the end of the year.

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