P.O.D.
The Awakening


3.0
good

Review

by Will N. USER (13 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2015 | 26 replies


Release Date: 08/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not without its moments that make it worth a listen, but overall a step down for the band. Again.

P.O.D. has had a pretty up and down career. After their triple platinum hit in Satellite, the guitarist Marcos Curiel left and the album that followed was pretty bad. Testify was a pretty good bounce-back album, while When Angels & Serpents Dance took another step down despite still being listenable. Murdered Love was the big bounce-back album that meshed Satellite and Testify together very well. But now there's a new album, and considering the pattern we've seen lately, perhaps it was inevitable that this would be another step down to a degree.

For this album, P.O.D. decided to try and do a concept album, complete with moments of dialogue in between songs. Unfortunately, the thing pretty much falls flat in their faces as the story itself is somewhat unclear. What they're trying to do is more obvious (show a guy finding redemption in life), but the path there is muddled. During several tracks, it seems as if the "character" has issues with varying degrees of paranoia (although it almost seems legit in the story) and apparent drug use. Okay, fine--but then there are a couple tracks that almost seem to have no place in the story at all (more on that later). And then the closing title track has an opening dialogue sequence that has seemingly no connection with the rest of the story. Ultimately, I found it easier to just screw the concept story and just focus on the songs themselves.

Let's start off by noting that "This Goes Out to You" is not a very good song and a horrible lead single. It's basically a dedication track with a generic riff and a cheesy chorus ("Hey! You! This goes out to you! For all the things that you do!"). Also of note is that it has no place in the story at all, thus making one wonder why it was on the final track list in the first place and not a stand-alone single or a deluxe edition track. Fortunately, this is mostly as bad as it gets--save for "Want It All," which tries to experiment around with some odd horns and almost Christmas-y sounds and ends up being one of their worst songs in a while.

As for the rest of the songs, there's a few standouts as well as a few middle-ground songs. The album opener "Am I Awake" is definitely somewhere in the middle, as it has a good guitar riff but a mediocre chorus. The best part of it, oddly, is the opening myriad of sound bytes during the first 75 seconds. There's two more songs that have plenty of meat on the guitar front in "Somebody's Trying to Kill Me" and "Get Down" (which I also struggle to see where it fits in the "story") but it seems as if that's all they focused on for those two songs was the guitar, and forgot to include overall catchiness or great rhythm. They're decent songs and have better choruses than "Am I Awake," but they're not highlights.

Two of the three better hard rock songs that are actually heavy punk songs--"Speed Demon" and "Revolucion." They are both quite enjoyable, but the latter is probably the better of the two due in part to guest vocals from Lou Koller of Sick Of It All and a nice reggae interlude which helps shake things up a little bit. "Rise of NWO" is also a big highlight due to its strong chorus vocals and it actually being quite catchy.

The highlight of the album, by far, is "Criminal Conversations." Nothing else on the album even comes close (except *maybe* "Rise of NWO"). Featuring Maria Brink from In This Moment, this song takes a slower pace with an ethereal feel. Sandoval's and Brink's vocals are combined to near perfection, and the song picks up in pace near the end for a big finish. If you do nothing else, at least buy this song by itself.

P.O.D., once again, tries to do something a little different. Give them credit for trying to branch out some more, and this album definitely has its moments, but overall it could've been a lot better. In the future, they should probably try to avoid concept albums, because it didn't work for them here. With that said, The Awakening is a decent album as a whole, but there are a couple massive missteps and it really doesn't live up to its name.

Song Highlights: "Criminal Conversations," "Rise of NWO," "Revolucion," "Speed Demon"



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
2.6
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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnWick
August 23rd 2015


94 Comments


I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for Satellite and maybe The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, this band wouldn't even be a blip on anyone's radar.

bloc
August 23rd 2015


43479 Comments


Really disappointed with this one. And it's only surprising because their previous album was pretty decent.

Digging: Venenum - Trance of Death

TooManyFriends
August 23rd 2015


2501 Comments


story makes no sense whatsoever but am i awake is pretty slammin

skoopy48
August 23rd 2015


1872 Comments


This album kinda sucks and I thought Murdered Love was decent

Toondude10
August 25th 2015


11398 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Almost forgot about this, kinda wish I did now.

Digging: August Burns Red - Phantom Anthem

Gyromania
August 25th 2015


22923 Comments


damn. i actually liked their last album

SharkTooth
August 25th 2015


13751 Comments


yeah their album before this is their highest rated on Sputnik, it's quite a drop in quality

Toondude10
August 25th 2015


11398 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Actually Southdown is their highest rated

PistolPete
August 25th 2015


4453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their best will always be Fundamentals and Satellite, those albums were goddamn anthems. Murdered Love was really good but not as good as those.

Digging: Arcane Roots - Melancholia Hymns

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


24403 Comments


the genre descriptors for this band make me not want to listen to them ever

Digging: Protest the Hero - Pacific Myth

SharkTooth
August 25th 2015


13751 Comments


it's certainly no Black Tongue agreed

someguest
August 25th 2015


28614 Comments


I thought titling the album The Awakening meant they were atheists now.

Toondude10
August 25th 2015


11398 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

nah it's another one of those Jesus-y albums which they don't really do on a regular basis.

someguest
August 25th 2015


28614 Comments


Props to Jesus for being the first hippie/democratic socialist. He believed hookers and drunks were living wrong, but knew well enough not to pass up a party with them.

William21
August 25th 2015


165 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

My first featured review on Sputnik. Yay! Lol.

mete0ra
August 26th 2015


169 Comments


Great to see Testify getting the respect it deserves

DinosaurJones
August 26th 2015


5808 Comments


I really did not enjoy the single off of this. I might check out the album, but I really only enjoyed Fundamentals and Testify. Satellite is okay, but sometimes I'm just not into it.

ProjectFreak
August 27th 2015


2094 Comments


why is satellite rated so low, were you all born after 2001 or something?

Toondude10
August 27th 2015


11398 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

because no one likes nu-metal anymore



Boom was a hell of a jam back in the day.

bloc
August 27th 2015


43479 Comments


I kinda feel the same way about Satellite. It had just as much impact on me as Hybrid Theory did back in the day.



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