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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

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