P.O.D., the multi-platinum, Grammy nominated rock band, is back with its most aggressive, poetic effort to date. When Angels And Serpents Dance, produced by Jay Baumgartner (Evanescence, Godsmack), redefines what a hard rock album can be. Beyond critical acclaim, this powerful, and imaginative album will most certainly energize fans. From unforgettable rock anthems like "Addicted" and "Shine" to the timely and insightful ballad, "Tell Me Why." When Angels and Serpents Dance is the arrow aimed to strike at the heart of a postmodern MTV generation. Marking the return of guitarist Marcos Curiel, When Angels and Serpents Dance, is a refined creativity set to an urgent soundtrack reflecting today's urgent times.
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Shine With Me
It Can't Rain Everyday
Kalifan-Eye-A (Feat. Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies)
I'll Be Ready (Feat. Cadella and Sharon Marley of The Melody Shakers)
Who is Leading: the Angels or the Serpents?| Posted January 16, 2009
In the introduction of C.S. Lewis’s book The Great Divorce, Lewis offers the concept of a person moving either towards hell or heaven. There is no in between. The title track Payable On Death’s (P.O.D.) latest album, When Angles and Serpents Dance, portrays that very concept (‘One must lead in the dance, Who's leading you?’). It’s particularly interesting that one of the lone bands that have been consistently a voice for Christ in the mainstream media should be singing about such a theme.
The music has always been a priority for P.O.D. and they have always been very consistent with their rap/rock/reggae but When Angels and Serpents Dance is not quite as crisp as fans might have hoped. Certainly the leading hard rock song “addicted” does a solid job paving the way with its blazing guitar riffs and a flowing brigade despite some hard vocals bordering screaming and some unpleasant sounding verse’. Overall the lighter rock song, with a slight punk and reggae influence, “shine with me” is a strong song but Sonny Sandoval lead rigid vocals doesn’t handle the punk well and ‘Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala’ part in the song is pretty weak.
Some fans might be a little surprised by how often the flow of hard rock songs are broken up but the light rock/pop song “It can’t rain everyday” has a good tune and the frequent electric guitar strings are a good touch but the guitar driven “Tell me why” is a surprisingly solid ballad though the music undergoes little change. “Condescending” is one of standout rock songs with blazing riffs and a tune that sounds surprisingly like Anberlin and “Kalifan-Eye-A is traditional P.O.D. hard rock song which includes wild ending frenzy. The best song overall is the intense “When Angels and Serpents Dance” uses a almost flawless rock formula with the exception of the out-of-place hard bridge.
However many of the rock tunes are letdowns from the diverse but awkward and sometimes annoying “I’ll be ready” to “god forbid” which has big riffs and hard music but is pretty low on the verity scale. The light finale “rise against” doesn’t have enough verity, emotion, or drive to make it a highlight and while instrumental “roman empire” sounds cool at first a couple of listens but after a few more it becomes obvious that P.O.D. could have made things a little more interesting. Parts of sound very artistic “End of the world” but the ordinary rock tune doesn’t really sound like conventional P.OD. except the chorus. Another thing is the intros, usually consisting of electric guitar strings or loud riffs, don’t transition well into the rest of the song.
The message title cut lays down a solid foundation for the album asking what forces pull your life and even the band: is it the Angles or the Serpents? While God’s name is never mentioned P.O.D.’s metaphor for Him (‘Jah’) show up on the shallow “shine with me” (‘With a vision inside Jah love/The earth and the moon and the sun will align/With the voice from the sky above/One love’) and “Kalifan-Eye-A” which pays tribute to the bands point of origin (‘To overstand, I will stay in Jah ways to keep from going insane.’). “Rise against” ask leaders to be willing to die for what’s right (‘Rise against!/rise up for what is right!/stand alone!/are you willing to try?’).
The group offers hope to a hated girl, a father without work, a woman who faced a miscarriage ("It Can't Rain Everyday) and "God Forbid" is about drawing lines between ourselves and the world’s hostile position to our beliefs ("We're so used to bowing down that we forget how to stand up"). “End of the world” borrows from the scripture (‘the False Prophets claim to be the answer… Famine in the land of your fathers… And this is how you know it’s the end’) while “I’ll be read” takes a stand against evil with Jah’s help (‘Lord it’s getting hard but I’m trying’).
Unfortunately not everything about P.O.D.’s lyrics are clear as it’s hard to tell if “tell me why” is strictly anti-war but it leans heavily toward it (“The truth is never told/if victory is freedom then the truth is untold…No more! No war!”). “Addicted” does portray the devastating effect of addiction but spooky lines like ‘Deal me up another hit of self mutilation /Let me blow my brains’ are a little uneasy. Guilt, shame and unforgiveness result in anger on This Ain't No Ordinary Love Song". Members from uncomforting bands (Page Hamilton of Hemlet and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies) show up throw the course of the album.
Such blatantly Christian lyrics leaves no question who is leading P.O.D.’s dance but there will need to be some interpreting throw some of the lyrics for entirely smooth sailing. Sadly what usually follows superb music actually leads the album as very few songs are cutting edge and P.O.D.’s signature sound becomes more generic leaving fans to go back to youth of the nation”, “satellite”, “good bye for now” or “if it wasn’t for you”.
DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION: A restored, stronger vessel| Posted September 29, 2008
First, let us pause to reflect on all the injustice in the musical world; which was manifest in how vastly under-appreciated and underrated P.O.D.’s 2007 Testify was… Okay, the past is now past, and bygones will be bygones.
In more than a figurative sense, much relational patching up was certainly part of the process of this unexpected reunion following the somewhat public split between guitarist Marcos Curiel and the band five short years ago. His presence is immediately felt in the full sonic production throughout When Angels & Serpents Dance. The dude’s got style, and he could probably have his guitar tones trademarked if he wanted. Part Latino spice, part controlled tone and metallic muscle, Curiel picks right up where he left off with Satellite. The relaxed yet pounding riffs in “Condescending,” which features a lyrical tongue-lashing akin to the righteous venting of “Anything Right,” just beg for full volume treatment. His guitar leads in the dancehall-tinged “I’ll Be Ready” are enough to make a master like Carlos Santana proud.
Other highlights include the compelling story-telling approach in “It Can’t Rain Every Day.” Vocalist Sonny Sandoval’s poetic use of narrative adds an almost visual element, as empathy toward the song’s characters is easy to grasp. The stylish “Kalifor-eye-a” shows the band stirring up a concoction of its usual eclectic influences of funk, reggae, hip-hop and plenty of big-time guitar rock & roll. The guest vocal appearance of Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) is announced with “Do you have any idea what this is? West Coast legendary, open eyes family business…” as Sandoval and Muir trade high-velocity riffs in tribute to their fine state. Helmet’s Page Hamilton also makes a guest appearance in the almost destructive “God Forbid.” Not to be outdone by outside players, Curiel takes center stage for the beautiful “Roman Empire” flamenco guitar instrumental that precedes the title track.
If this amazing album doesn’t get the music world’s attention upon its release, there just might have to be a revolution. - Doug Van Pelt
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
P.O.D. [When Angels and Serpents Dance]| Posted September 24, 2008
Gone are the garage band “youth of the nation” kids who dazzled us with songs that haunt and define our teen-aged years. These are the same guys all grown up, with new themes and styles, and new thoughts to shout about. There is a definite market for this type of music, although traditional POD fans may be surprised at the new style. Still mixing rock and reggae, the diverse range of music has taken on a solidly softer sound. This album may not grab the same huge fan base gained with the release of “Satellite,” but there is still substance to the music that will attract fans ready for the more sophisticated POD.
Although there is some definite passion coming out in the first song, “Addicted,” what exactly he is addicted to is rather illusive. At first it seems like a song about God, talking about the changes that come in life, but that idea is squashed in the last line of the chorus, “WHY DO I LOVE YOU WHEN I KNOW YOU’RE WRONG?”
“It can’t rain everyday” is a definite highlight, telling three separate stories about people in difficult situations that seem hopeless. When things seem to be going ok, something always happens to knock you right back down. But even though these pits feel impossible to climb out of, the song gently tells the listener that “EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL ALL ALONE/ IT CAN’T RAIN EVERYDAY/ IT DON’T RAIN FOREVER/ YOUR SUNSHINE MAY BE GONE BUT I KNOW/ IT CAN’T RAIN EVERYDAY.”
This album also has a few guest appearances, with Bob Marley’s daughters performing some background vocals in the track “I’ll Be Ready”
Track 7, “End of the World” is a song about judgment, how just watching the news makes us feel like we live in a world of chaos. This might be true, but I would have liked to hear something in the song bringing the chaos into perspective, that no matter what happens or who is in authority over us, God is in control. The song kind of ends in a hopeless chant. “IT NEVER GETS BETTER BUT WORSE… ARE WE GETTING WHAT WE DESERVE? SO TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH/ CAUSE IT FEELS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD TO ME.”
“This Ain’t No Ordinary Love Song” is vague, filled with meaningless word plays and nothing extra-ordinary at all. It could be about any kind of relationship.
The title track, “When Angels and Serpents dance” asks the listener moral questions about good and evil. Who do you dance with, angels or serpents? “WHO’S LEADING YOU? EVERYTHING YOU SAY? EVERYTHING THAT YOU DO? BELIEVING WHAT IS TRUE? ONE MUST LEAD IN THE DANCE/ WHO’S LEADING YOU? LIFE’S REAL WHEN ANGELS AND SERPENTS DANCE.” Life is a battle of temptations, and the outcome will always depend on what you are letting lead you.
A lyrical highlight is “Tell Me Why.” It echoes the old sentiments of youth of a nation, that we can make a difference. “TELL ME WHY? WHY MUST WE FIGHT? AND WHY MUST WE KILL IN THE NAME OF WHAT WE THINK IS RIGHT? NO MORE! NO WAR!”
Finishing out the album is “Rise Against,” a great song about standing up for what you believe in. Kind of ironic coming right after “Tell Me Why” which speaks of how our differences are killing each other. But the difference is important and hopefully listeners will not misunderstand. Killing for what you believe in and dying for what you believe in is nearly the same as the difference between a patriot and a terrorist. Be willing to stand up for what you believe in without killing people because they disagree is the message.
One real positive in this album is how unique their sound is. There are not too many bands out there that can boast reggae, punk rock, heavy metal mixed and live to tell about it. The songs are made up of what seems to be abstract poetry. It could mean lots of things to lots of people, which many fans appreciate. People like sticking their own meanings into artist’s songs. Over all this is a very interesting album, and POD fans will not be disappointed.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10 (77%, C+)
Review written by: Liz Zelinski
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This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from ChristianMusicReview.org. Click here to visit ChristianMusicReview.org today!
good| Posted April 22, 2008
Well, Marcos is back and the band promised they'd be back to rockin hard. It didn't happen. They let me down with how soft most of this album. Don't get me wrong it's a well made album with great guitar work, but it has few songs that really stand out as great songs. Still a solid album from a solid band though.
A Little on the slow side but good nonetheless| Posted April 10, 2008
Marcos returns for the next outing for P.O.D. Everybody thought that this album was going to be the next Satellite but that is not the case. The first 3 songs are amazing and should please any old-school P.O.D. fan while the rest of the album showcases the slow style with a few rockin tracks thrown in for good measure. Fans who thought that this was going to be Satellite Part 2 are going to be disappointed with this album while people who have heard of the band but have not heard most of their music should definably check this album out.
Insanity is just a thought away...| Posted August 28, 2009
Marcos' return to the band inspired many fans to anticipate a return to a style more similar to that of their Satellite release, well that certainly did not turn out to be the case. The album falls somewhere in between the styles of their self-titled record Payable on Death and Testify, with Marcos' noteworthy guitar licks added in, yet somehow When Angels and Serpents Dance manages to turn out weaker than both. It is certainly unique, but to me it just ends up feeling like a sloppy mess.
The lyrics are downright cringe-worthy throughout the entire record. Intricate lines like "I'm addicted to all the colors that I see that you hold in front of me" and "So come on and shine with me like the beautiful star that you are highlight the first two songs on the album. There's also a pointless obscenity thrown in from Suicidal Tendencies' vocalist on Kaliforn-Eye-A.
I am hard-pressed to find anything good to highlight about the album. God Forbid is the only song that I enjoyed, and even it falls well short of the better songs from Payable on Death and Testify. I do not see how any fan (be they from the Southtown and Satellite era, even earlier, or more recently) can find anything except disappointment here. When Angels and Serpents Dance is creative and different, but not good by any definition of mine.
love it| Posted September 09, 2008
i like P.O.D's new stuff. I don't like that Mike Muir is on it, but oh well. I like the songs "Addicted" the babylon one, and "When Angel's and Serpents Dance" overall, great cd
just arrived!| Posted April 08, 2008
my cd just arrived today. i've been listening to it ever since i got it. some of the album is a departure from their recent albums but i really like it. the more i listen to it the more it grows on me.