In 2001, P.O.D. put out Satellite, a stellar nu-metal album with uplifting, spiritually inclined lyrics, aggressive rapping and screaming, melodic choruses, and eiry guitar riffs. That was the album that got me listening to very heavy music of any kind, and the only reason I haven't yet reviewed it is because I feel that I'd be unable to give it an unbiased review (meaning, it's an undisputed classic to me, and probably always will be). Then came the album Payable On Death. As most P.O.D. fans know, it was less than amazing, and some go so far as to say its terrible. While I don't agree, it certainly was a major step down from Satellite, mostly due to the absense of guitarist Marcos and replacement with Truby. Truby, while moderately skilled, simply did not live up to Marcos in the creativity department, which left most of Payable On Death sounding dreary and even boring. Since then, POD has entered a 3-year era of silence. Now, they have released Testify, which was produced by Glen Ballard and contains some of the best POD tunes yet. It's not all roses, though, and it's certainly not Setellite.
While most of Payable On Death consisted of melody-driven songs, Testify immediately returns to POD's nu-metal roots. As such, the first track is appropriately titled "Roots In Stereo". Featuring reggae-style verses with a slick chorus, the song makes a great opener for the album and immediately gave me high hopes about the rest of it. Indeed, it seemd that POD was combining the best elements of Payable On Death and Satellite, with "Boom"-styles songs such as Lights Out and more melodic rock songs such as "If You Could See Me Now". Also is a distinctly new and original element in the band's songwriting, as "Sounds Like War", "This Time", and a few other tracks feature keyboards and synths. Good stuff. Behind it all is typical POD lyrics, with clever lines like "If you don't stand for something you stand for nothing". The album title "Testify" basically sums up what the lyrics are all about, and POD is testifying their evangelical Christian attitue more than ever before.
With all those things going for this album, why is it getting a less-than-spectacular score from me? Well, this album reminds me a whole lot of Meteora by Linkin Park. The first time through, the tunes are spectacular and I'm thinking it may become one of my favorite CD's ever. But, like Meteora, the incredibly catchy songs are almost TOO catchy. After 3 or 4 listens, the song is old, and what was once spectacular now feels like a dried out fruit, a raisin that was once a juicy grape. That's the problem with nu-metal. it's so refreshingly original, yet so un-original at the same time. I find that the more agressive and angst-driven songs have a much longer lifespan (Sounds Like War, Lights Out, Mistakes and Glories, Mark My Words). The rest of the songs, while well-written, lose their fervor and die after a few times around.
Where Satellite won out with hard, melody-driven rock, Testify fails with too much melody, if that's possible. That said, its MUCH, MUCH better than Payable On Death. Fans of POD owe it to themselves to get this album, just don't bend over backwards doing so. It's good, but not that good.
Okay, had enough paradoxes today? lol