Review Summary: Yet another band looking to rekindle the fire they once had, this attempt actually coming close.
The past 12 months have been filled with quite a few older nu-metal bands attempting to revive a genre that’s short lifespan has since been beaten to a pulp. It’s the sad result of both swelling hatred from those who weren’t fans and ever-dying interest in those of us who were. One such attempt was Limp Bizkit’s return with 2011’s Gold Cobra
that (relative to the junk they released way back when) was passable. Thousand Foot Krutch decided to step backwards from the more melodic hard rock from 2009’s Welcome to the Masquerade
to their nu-metal roots with 2012’s negligible release The End Is Where We Begin
. The point is, neither of these attempts managed to really revive the genre. Even Linkin Park’s recent June release is struggling to gasp for air. In fact, they’ve all proven that the idea of reviving it at all is a fool’s errand. P.O.D. have walked the same path here with Murdered Love
. It’s obvious the band sought to bring back the nu-metal anthems from the early 2000s that they are known for. And while the album is full of hits, some of their strongest in a while, it’s a reminder of how hard it is to really give a rat’s ass anymore. It’s still a consistent release though from a band who we haven’t heard from in over 4 years.
The album has a mix of both formulaic and experimental songs. The title track and “Babylon the Murderer” have identical strategies, slowly leading with a quieter version of the core riff followed by the same riff at the volume you would expect from them. The riffs on the album’s louder tracks are all powerful (if not more nostalgic than anything), examples being “On Fire” and opener “Eyez”. They fuel the songs and give them some much-needed attitude.
There are also some attempts to branch out a bit musically. “Bad Boy” mixes the bands edgier rock sound with a funkier groove. “West Coast Rock Steady” is an energetic track with some background pianos in the verses and a wave of brass instruments in the chorus. They are a commendable effort, but the stronger songs remain their familiar heavy hitters.
What will forever hurt the band are their lyrics. Back during the Satellite
days the band was part of a nu-metal movement, permitted to chant lyrics full of teen angst and cocky pump-up cheers. I admittedly wrote a review for that album a few years ago that praised the band for their lyrics. And at the time, sure they weren’t half bad. However, many of the tracks here show no sense of evolution or maturity whatsoever. It’s been over a decade and we are still hearing an album full of lyrics like “Stop, drop, roll! I’m on fire!” or “When it all comes down, we will rise!” They even have their signature song or two about teen suicide and bullying (see “Beautiful”). It’s as if P.O.D. literally went back to their old albums and tweaked sentences while adding a few synonyms here and there. Erase the word “tyranny” and add the word “blasphemy”...looks good, we’ve got a new chorus!
It’s seems so easy to write off an album like this, so easy to point out something worth making fun of. There’s nothing I can say that will convince a nu-metal hater that this is worth their time. It’s even difficult to convince now-oblivious fans from the old days to return to a band they were most likely made fun of for liking. All I can say is that I just listened to a solid album. It has everything one would want from a P.O.D. album, including a breathtaking closer with a militaristic stomping riff and the most passionate lyrics heard from the band in ages. It reeks of same old P.O.D. and whether you find that nostalgic or sickening I’ll leave with you.
Lost In Forever (Scream), Babylon the Murderer, I Am, Murdered Love (a fantastic example of a love-it-or-hate-it song)