Review Summary: Rekindling the flame
P.O.D. have been plodding along for about two decades now, doing their thing and refusing to fade away like most of their peers from the golden nu metal era. More importantly, those who have at one point liked P.O.D. have never been entirely let down by the band. Sure, their last outing before this one, Where Angels And Serpents Dance
, was a totally uneven album with about a 50:50 ratio of strikes and misses, but never have P.O.D. offered an album that is consistently weak from start to finish. Nevertheless, it can not be denied that the band peaked in early-to-mid 2000s and its popularity has steadily and surely dwindled since – being also reflective of the quality of the releases that followed Satellite
. Their self-titled album (2003) sounded like the band was playing it safe, 2006’s Testify
was inconsistent with some true gems and some horrible duds, and 2008’s Where Angels And Serpents Dance
saw the band try out a new sound – rather unsuccessfully. It must be acknowledged that there is some merit behind sayings that suggest post-Satellite
P.O.D. is a singles band first and foremost. So now, in 2012, more than four years after the release of When Angels And Serpents Dance
, what have P.O.D. got in store for us ? Is it a continuation of their decline? No, it’s a truly positive surprise instead.
is not only a bounce back from their worst album since the debut, it’s a top 3 P.O.D. album in general, ranking right behind the (by now) untouchable duo of The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
. Many of the features that made P.O.D. great in the first place have been brought back and the band seems to be once again at peace with itself and what it is doing. If When Angels And Serpents Dance
was a desperate try by P.O.D. to reinvent their sound and stay relevant, then Murdered Love
is the band saying "*** it, let’s do what we did best in the first place". Straight from the get-go you can hear old-school P.O.D., as "Eyez" introduces the listener to what is probably the muddiest P.O.D. song since the '90s, and thankfully it doesn't stop there as the following "Murdered Love" sees frontman Sonny Sandoval actually scream once more. Of course there are the token softer songs on offer, like the third track "Higher" and single "Lost In Forever", but those pace-changers are well-executed and don't take anything away from the fact that for the first time since Satellite
, P.O.D. sound genuinely fiery and assertive.
This is not only seen in the instrumental side either; lyrically, P.O.D. have, frankly, never been as to-the-point and direct as they are on Murdered Love
. Take "Beautiful" for example, which contains lines like "And she cries but her man denies / its funny how love comes with so many lies / and he said he'd never do it again / so she puts on a smile and she starts to pretend / she hides all the pain inside / while filling up her arms with pretty little lies / she cuts with no intent to kill / this time she didn't do it, but someday she will"
. While that doesn't sound extreme by any means, the delivery along with the lyrics is stake knife sharp and honest. And that is before we get to the closer "I Am", which is probably the most "real" song any Christian rock band has ever written. Throughout these 11 tracks, you can feel that P.O.D. have somehow regained the fire that made them such an energetic, anthemic band in the first place. Thanks to that creative fire, even weaker tracks like "On Fire", which emulates the Limp Bizkit school of rap-rock, or "Bad Boy", which sounds bizarre when sung by a 38 year-old, married religious man, are far less worse than the duds on any other recent album by them.
Even if one had been an avid follower of P.O.D. throughout their career, it was hard to hope too much out of Murdered Love
prior its release. Guys in their late 30s playing a rap-rock/alt metal hybrid – it’s just not the craze anymore these days. But credit should be given where credit is due, and with Murdered Love
, P.O.D. have once more created a very solid record that exhibits perfectly why they are still around and most other groups of the same ilk aren’t. The band sounds fiery at long last and a lot more intense and honest than they did on some of their other post-Satellite
releases. The more straightforward rock/metal tracks straight-up rock, and the softer ones bring with them a welcome change of pace, instead of being a nuisance to the record’s flow. Sometimes, all one needs to do in order to succeed is to relax and go back to what worked well in the first place, instead of desperately trying to find a (renewed) spot in the ever-changing world of music. P.O.D. did that, and the result is their best album in a decade.