Not many people know of P.O.D.’s early days, and the ones that do probably think 1996's Brown
is the band’s debut. You may be surprised to find out the band has been around since 1992, and the 1994 debut Snuff the Punk
was released well before they started using any sort of subtlety in their Christian message (see album title and artwork). They jumped ship on the hard rock/rap metal sound that was popular at the time, and unfortunately it resulted in a mindless version of a sound that already has aged terribly. There is nothing memorable on the entire album, not even to a point where it’s worth getting if you’re a fan and/or completist of the band. You can’t really blame their intentions though; they were capitalizing on what was popular at the time while putting their message to it, not to mention taking their first shot at recording what was essentially a rough draft of their sound.
You can pretty much take the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” and throw it out the window. One glance at the cover art of the angel punching a demon, or at the track listing paints you a very accurate picture of the music (and lyrics) contained on the disc. Little to no variation is found here; you get an intro, usually made up of a few plucks of clean guitar, the main riff that’s usually just a distorted version of the intro melody, a rapped verse with the bass and drums taking forefront, an energetic chorus with shouted vocals and the main riff playing, a bridge and then finally a repeated chorus. All of this is done with a very straightforward Limp Bizkit-esque formula. Sonny’s vocals at the time were pretty undeveloped, and paired with the poor production, the vocals just sound awful. The guitar is what you hear more than anything, and it gets very tiring because all it is is power chords strummed to a rap beat layed down by drummer Wuv. The bass is almost non-existent, but when the rare moment you can hear it comes around, it’s usually pretty solid funk-based playing. Bassist Traa’s low end is easily the standout element musically of the record, and even then it’s nothing special, just a little more interesting than the rest of the band.
If you’re turned off by preachy lyrics, there’s no question that you’ll want to stay clear away from this one. Sonny’s lyrics usually border on the point of praise and worship, but the worst part about it is that no effort whatsoever was made to be relevant at the time. I mean, there’s only a small crowd that this kind of blatant message would appeal to, and since it is so outdated musically, chances are most of that audience would never want to sit through it. There’s a couple of ballads on here, but that’s the closest thing to getting a break from the very mindless music you’re going to get; every song is a foreshadowing of the “rapcore” part of nu metal that reached its prime a couple years later, with a very blatant message to match it.
With all that said, this isn’t a completely awful record. There’s not much P.O.D. could screw up here with the primitive sound they chose to play. It’s very catchy, and has loads of pop appeal. All Snuff the Punk
really is is an older version of the current P.O.D., except they didn’t venture anywhere near genres other than hard rock and rap metal until the breakout release The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
. This is a very raw, stripped down version of the band you know today, but it’s also a version that didn’t know the first thing about what made an album have any lasting appeal whatsoever. The band eventually found their niche with their newer releases, implementing hooks and singing, both of which are completely absent on this album. Unless you’re interested in exploring the band’s roots, it’s really not worth it to even download this; your iPod needs the room for something you’ll listen to. While it’s not completely abysmal, Snuff the Punk
is a very dated and underdeveloped debut nonetheless that has the music to support that urge to stay far away when you see the cover art.