P.O.D. Payable On Death
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In recent years, metal and hard rock has shown a lot more influence from multiple cultures. Because of this, the Nu-Metal genre has benefited from Hip-Hop, Reggae and other ethic flavors that have helped give the music its own definition. Hailing from Los Angeles, P.O.D. has always had a Southern California feel to their music and their newest album, Payable On Death, is a fine example of cultural influence.

You want to know what P.O.D. Has going for them? First and foremost, when I listen to Payable On Death, I'm not depressed/angered/annoyed by the constant moaning about how the lead singer's life, family, girlfriends, etc. completely sucks. Self-labeled as a band in-tune with their Christianity, P.O.D. writes songs that have upbeat tones and positive, yet poetic lyrics. For those who dislike the "beat-you-over-the-head" mentality of Christian music, you'll be pleasantly pleased with how P.O.D. offers themselves.

Wildfire opens the album with a pretty simple rock-motif that works into well-harmonized chorus vocals. While Will You screams "radio friendly", the harmonized chorus has a hook that grabs the listener. As with most of the album, the song's main theme is pretty catchy. The reggae influence in Execute the Sounds reminds me of 311 and does a good job at shifting gears to keep the music fresh. Track six Revolution is your standard rock track that features some fine guitarwork by guest-guitarist Phil Keaggy, which happens to give a Santana flair to the song. Keaggy also appears on Eternal, the instrumental the ends the album. While a lot of the album is high-toned in nature, P.O.D. does flex its metal muscles with the powerful I and Identity.

Vocalist Sonny does wonders when he is actually singing or carrying a harmony with the rest of the band. This is most evident in songs like Change The World and Find My Way. When he yells or barks out his vocals, they tend to lose the charm that his voice has. Musically, the guitars, bass and drums are clean and don't lose quality of sound with excessive distortion or unnecessary effects.

Along with the main album, Payable On Death comes with some behind-the-scenes videos and a website key that allows you to download the track Space. Also included in the limited edition version is a demo disc of the PS2 game Amplitude that features Space. If you've never played Amplitude before, you're in for a treat as it's a wonderful music-based puzzle game. You'll work your way along a path where you have to hit certain buttons in time with the beat. You can switch back and forth along the different components of the song to try and complete all the different parts of the song. Along with the game demo is a hug video feature on "Inside P.O.D. Culture".

If you're looking for a rock album that doesn't weigh you down with the lead singer's emotional baggage, Payable On Death is something you should check out. There's more than enough cultural and musical influence to give the band it's own personality.

- - Kinderfeld

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