STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 158278- LABEL: FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Rob Birtley
It's fair to say that the San Diego-based alternative metal band have had plenty of ups and downs in their 23 year career. It's equally true to say they have never compromised on the Christian message over that time. This, the band's 10th studio release, is a concept album telling the story of an anonymous pilgrim coming to terms with his own mistakes through a life journey that climaxes in his "awakening" to the truth and beauty of love and forgiveness. An open-ended dialogue heralds each of the album's tracks, giving context for this narrative. If I had to describe it in a nutshell I'd say it's the Christian Operation Mind Crime with more thought provoking moments. The album opens with "Am I Awake" starting with a number of radio clips of impending and happening disasters it builds in classic P.O.D. style with heavy guitar riffing and wonderful vocal harmonies with the added spice of storytelling not heard since Gabriel penned "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". Next up is the radio friendly "This Goes Out To You", a funky bass-filled track that turns into a riff-laden, fist-pumping anthemic piece. "Rise Of Now" showcases the band's take on rap to push the narrative complete with screechy riffs, bomb sound bites and voice-overs that warn of the coming of the New World Order. "Criminal Conversations", featuring In This Moment's Maria Brink, starts with a conversation between the pilgrim and his married girlfriend that spirals down into a wistful melody charting a drug-fuelled dream. "Revolución" features Sick Of It All's Lou Koller and is a speed metal/punk/reggae mutant. The last and title track is a massive power ballad with the telling words "My eyes are open/to this great awakening" completing the perfect circle were the prodigal son returns home to ask for and receive forgiveness. An album likely to be eventually acknowledged as P.O.D.'s finest ever release.
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