Reviewed by Alex Figgis
Since their inception in the early '90s, Payable On Death have released two critically acclaimed independent studio recordings and a live album, before signing a one-off mini album deal for Tooth & Nail in '98. Now signed to Atlantic in America, P.O.D.'s debut mainstream release admirably realises the band's genuinely unique Christo-centric musical style. With an overtly eclectic musical reference base, including metal, hardcore, ragge, hip hop, jazz, industrial and even the odd nod towards techno, it is the band's unpredictable nature that attracts and maintains the listener's attention; where often harsh musical scores underpinned by thumping bass tones subside, revealing layers of textured sound-scapes deftly executed by the band. A good example of this can be found on their peculiar rendition of the classic U2 song, "Bullet The Blue Sky", where P.O.D. offer an intensely moody interpretation by way of a stunningly effective musical score that acutely captures and portrays the song's dark message. Other noteworthy pieces include the surprising "Rock The Party Off The Hook", complete with touches of industrial and techno beats; the hardcore fused "Image"; and slamming "Hollywood" and "Outcast". However, these are but slightly brighter highlights to what is truly an outstanding album. Being so well mixed and produced, '...Southtown' proves to be the perfect setting for P.O.D.'s talent to become realised for the first time; where past recordings, though offering glimmers of potential, were never quite up to scratch. '...Southtown' is a fine exponent of rap-core at it's finest, and the best album by P.O.D. thus far.
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