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P.O.D.-The Comeback

P.O.D.-The Comeback

After guitarist Marcos Curiel left P.O.D. in 2003, the band never really found a formula that worked for them. They fell off the mainstream map, releasing albums with Jason Truby (formerly of metal act Living Sacrifice) stamped with an odd combination of reggae beats and metal riffs that played out as awkwardly as the combination sounds.

When I showed up to see P.O.D. play at Chicago’s Hard Rock Café on Monday night, I knew it was do-or-die for the boys from San Diego. Apparently P.O.D. was aware of the urgency of the moment as well. For 90 minutes, the original lineup (Curiel recently re-joined the group) ripped through a set of old favorites and new songs. The crowd left the show buzzing about the new material. Driving home, I popped the group’s new disc When Angels and Serpents Dance (out Tuesday 4/8) into my car stereo. I’ve listened to it five times all the way through in the last two days.

Simply put…this album is fantastic. The highlight is the return of Marcos Curiel on guitar, who lays down his Santana-meets-metal riffs with a passion from the band since their 2001 smash single Alive. It’s a return to riff-driven rock, sharing some common ground with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins.

If you loved the P.O.D.’s 2001 outing Satelite, this is essentially the follow up album. Now that I’ve heard the new stuff with Marcos, I understand why P.O.D.’s two albums with guitarist Jason Truby just didn’t work out very well—the guitar parts were too heavy and dark to fit with what the rest of the band does.

P.O.D. began as a down-and-dirty rock band of poor kids playing house parties San Diego, cranking out a mix of party jams and we’re-gonna-make-it anthems. Sixteens years later, they’ve made the album of their career…and it’s packed with…party jams and we’re-gonna-make-it anthems.

Where the album tries to be radio-rock friendly (“Condesending,” “This Aint No Oridinary Love Song”) it delivers big, sing-along hooks. When it gets heavy (“Addicted,” “God Forbid,” “Kalfan-Eye-Ay”), it’s really heavy. When the songs go chill (“Roman Empire,” “Tell Me Why,” “Rise Against,”) Marcos lays out latin guitar lines over Sonny’s Marley-tinged lyrics. The guys try only one reggae track (thank goodness) entitled “I’ll Be Ready,” which fits into the mix well.

Helmet’s Page Hamilton and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies (both ‘80’s hardcore bands from California) contribute (very heavy) vocals to the album. The Marley Sisters (which I assume are Bob’s dauthers) sing backup on “I’ll Be Ready,” but you may need the liner notes to notice that they’re even there.

The boys are back. Hear it for yourself on Tuesday, when the album drops.

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