Verdict: 2.5 / 5
Rap metal stalwarts, P.O.D. return after a four year hiatus.
Tracks like ‘Eyez’, ‘Murdered Love’ and ‘I Am’ are standard new metal creations meaning, there aren’t any strong riffs, melodies or interesting arrangements. The music reaches its goal through sheer attitude and aggression. An exception could be made for ‘Higher’ which has a spritely, less dark sound that is boosted by a catchy chorus. ‘Lost in Forever’ might be one of the album’s best songs; the ascending riff interspersed throughout adds an extra dimension that is much needed on some of the aforementioned songs. Wisely, the band allow their less hard core influences to shine through on the record, notably on ‘West Coast Rock Steady’, a funk rock number that combines tasty guitar chops, groovy jams and synth to great effect.
‘Beautiful’ is a clumsy but charming slow jam that does not sound as serious as its suicide themed lyrics. ‘Babylon the Murderer’ sees the band moving back into metal mode but changing the game via a reggae drum and vocal on the verses. ‘On Fire’ opens with a great wah-wah lick and mildly distorted vocal, the band is treading on Rage against the Machine territory here. Mixing things up once more ‘Bad Boy’ expands on the reggae and funk elements explored earlier. ‘Panic and Run’ adds dashes of punk, especially on the fast choruses.
The strength of the album is that the band can mix things up and not stay stuck on one musical trip. Despite this accolade the album is hurt by those few drab nu metal tracks that go nowhere. The better songs rock but the song writing is still below par, especially the simplistic lyrics, which run wild throughout. If you’re a fan there is nothing to stop you from buying and enjoying this album but from a broader perspective the work is inconsistent and lacks sufficient quality songs to make it a really good release.