Reviewed by Dustin Helgeson
IN THE MAINSTREAM
As an American here in the UK, I’d suggest “Brilliant! Smashing! Cracking!” are some British terms that could be used to describe this new release from San Diego-based hardcore/rock outfit P.O.D. In America, the expression might be: this album FREAKING ROCKS. Two multi-platinum selling albums later, P.O.D. seem only to continue building on the success. ‘Payable On Death’ picks up at a point where the band lost founding guitarist Marcos Curiel, known for his signature guitar sounds. The band chose to turn this potentially devastating occurrence into an opportunity to stay fresh by adding Jason Truby to the mix. Once a guitarist for Christian metal veterans Living Sacrifice, Truby’s rich musical vocabulary packs the album full of fresh energy. “Sleeping Awake”, which was released on the ‘Matrix: Reloaded’ soundtrack was the first single where Truby’s melodic, haunting guitar riffs shone. What a treat to find the song on the new album! The first official single from ‘Payable On Death’ is “Will You”, a powerful and passionate track screaming with emotion: “Shaken, mistaken, forsaken/It’s killing me…/Will you love me tomorrow?…/Will you stay with me today?” While P.O.D.’s sound is strikingly different from ‘Satellite’ and ‘The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown’, Sonny’s signature scream still works, as does his singing voice which has developed quite nicely. Reggae influenced vibes are still evident on “Execute The Sounds”. Essentially this is a melodic hardcore album, full of dark imagery, but offering hope, encouragement and inspiration. The instrumental “Eternal” deserves to replace Kenny G in elevators around the world, featuring refreshing guitars from industry veteran Phil Keaggy and from Truby, who adds his own stylings and nu-metal guitars. If you are a fan of P.O.D. or you follow current hardcore trends, you must buy ‘Payable On Death’. It is packed with the goods. As an added bonus, the album comes with a DVD full of insightful stuff about the band and their lives, as well as a rad featurette about Daniel Martin Diaz, the artist who created the amazing art packaged with the album. The making of ‘Payable On Death’ is a chrysalis from which P.O.D. has found re-birth, and wings. It’s true: P.O.D. is a better band now that Marcus Curiel has left. The reason? Truby is a more skillful guitarist. The new blood has brought new creativity and a rawness to P.O.D. With Curiel out of the picture, P.O.D. are now free to continue pushing the creative envelope. I predict this is a new start that will see the band making even more successful and confident strides in the mainstream. ‘Payable On Death’ lacks nothing. It’s simply excellent.
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