Payable on Death
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Nov
P.O.D.'s latest comes just in time for the holiday season as one of the year's most anticipated releases. The San Diego band built a loyal following in its early years, later becoming one of the foremost hardcore rock bands—well before an endless parade of sound-alike bands in recent years. P.O.D.'s success skyrocketed with their first mainstream release, 1999's platinum-selling
That album was almost the band's last when guitarist Marcos Curiel abruptly left P.O.D. to form The Accident Experiment with Pete Stewart. But after much soul searching, drummer Noah "Wuv" Bernardo, bassist Traa Daniels, and vocalist Sonny Sandoval decided to continue with new lead guitarist Jason Truby (formerly of Living Sacrifice). The result is their self-titled release,
Virtually removed from P.O.D.'s sound is the rap element, with Sonny singing those two-note melodies and the occasional metal scream often typified in their music. Most fans are already familiar with the hopeful and penitent hit single "Will You," a sure-fire hit on radio and MTV. Even catchier is the hard-rocking inspiration of "Change the World": "Imagine a place only your soul can vision/The heart of a child who looks, sees, and listens/She paints a picture using every color/And what she sees, she sees is like no other."
Still, I suspect most will latch onto the radio-ready "Find My Way," which depending on your perspective can be viewed as a romantic love song to one's beloved or a faith commitment to the Lord: "Only you know where I have gone/I want to prove I am worthy to be called yours/I need you more than I ever have." The band draws inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13 for the heavy-hitting "I and Identity," as Sandoval sings, "Long suffer, patient, kind/Never proud, no jealousy, unselfish/No angry, no memory wrong/Separate my wicked ways … This is what love is." The funk-flavored "The Reasons" is reminiscent of Paul's struggle with sin in Romans 7: "Because, the reasons/Why, oh, why do we do the things we do?/Because, I try to make you see these things the way I do."
Truby is a fine replacement on guitar, but P.O.D. now misses the intriguing Latin element of Curiel's playing.
There's just not much here that grabs the spirit like previous P.O.D. anthems—"Waiting on Today" is a hopeful and encouraging rock anthem, but it's no "Youth of the Nation" or "Alive." Fans may also be disappointed to note that the album does not include "Sleeping Awake," their recently recorded song featured in