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Music Review: P.O.D. – When Angles And Serpents Dance

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Multi-Platinum, once on top of the mainstream, nu-metal wonders POD (Payable On Death) come again with their latest stab titled When Angles And Serpents Dance.  Previously known for creating such hits as “Alive” and “Southtown”, this Jesus loving (in not a pushy way) rock act has returned with new material since 2006’s Testify.  This CD was released under Sony BMG Music Entertainment and even debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200.  Not too shabby for a band that many lost interest in.

POD is unique in that they not only rock out, but also incorporate rap and reggae into their mostly positive songs.   Getting their start in the early nineties, the band progressed from an instrumental jam act to a major-label, God loving, rock band.  It wasn’t until the band’s third album that they blew up all over the nation.  Their multi-genre sound brought on a lot of new fans and even more after their fourth release Satellite with an encouraging song called “Alive”.  Even though the band revolves around Christianity, the band never pushed their beliefs hard on the fans therefore not acting like a Jesus-band many speculate. 

After Satellite I guess you could say I, along with others, vanished from the POD fan base.  The band itself went through hardship with dwindling record sales, record label problems and the dismissal of their guitarist.  Rather than giving up the band consisting of vocalist Sonny Sandoval, drummer Wuv Bernardo, and bassist Traa Daniels continued on strongly and eventually swapped labels and even welcomed former original guitarist Marcos Curiel back to the band to help write their most mature release to date.

With songs like the dominant “Addicted” and radio friendly “Shine With Me” it is easy to tell that POD has been here all along even if no one was listening.  The two opening tracks are full of energy and quickly helped reunite myself with a band I once lost interest in. 

Featuring skate, punk rock legend Mike Muir is “Kaliforn-Eye-A” a harder track with the former Suicidal Tendencies vocalist lending back-up vocals throughout the up and down song.    Not sure how the two joined together to record this track but it was a good idea to do so.

“I’ll Be Ready” was full of reggae musical styles with help from the Marley Sisters.  The song is destined to be yet another hit song by POD with chilled out guitars and simple harmonies aligned with sweet beautiful backing vocals.

Perhaps the heaviest track on the album is “God Forbid” featuring musical rock intellect Page Hamilton.  The track truly reminded me of Helmet from start to finish, not a bad thing if you adore Helmet like I do.

The Spanish guitar jam “Roman Empire” was a treat to sit back and listen to.  The song may have been a little darker than that of the rest of the tracks but had a certain tone to it that was all so alluring.  “Tell Me Why” was enjoyable with acoustic guitar.  “Rise Against” was more adult contemporary rock but ended the CD on a good note.

Sure there were no immediate tracks on this CD, like “Boom,” to be plastered all over MTV but to me that is a good thing.  That means less of a chance for people to grow tired of a good song.  POD has impressed me with this comeback album.  For a band to be in the top 10 again is an impressive accomplishment especially since there were moments when the band could have given up.  When Angels And Serpents Dance is a solid, more mature effort by a band that has already achieved success once and it appears that this time they are not so much looking for victory as much as recovery.

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