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P.O.D.
PAYABLE ON DEATH
(Atlantic)
Stars graphics

On their first four albums, San Diego new-metal heads P.O.D. matched tales of religious repentance and redemption with standard-issue rap rock; anthemic hallelujahs with skull-crushing grooves. The result: sales comparable to those of heathen devils like Nickelback and Korn. But following the mellowing of metal that has infiltrated all but the angriest bands, Payable on Death reveals some maturity and a willingness to expand the sonic palette. New guitarist Jason Truby brings a neo-psychedelic aspect to the material, and drummer Wuvís lockstep beats are now a lot looser, like John Bonham with a Roy Haynes fetish. The album is loaded with heavy, memorable songs: the not-so-black but Sabbathy "Freedom Fighters," the hooky, pop-leaning "Revolution" (with its central Santana-style guitar solo), the laying-on-of-hands thriller "I and I Identify." And for an interesting change of pace, the album closes with a 10-minutes-plus acoustic-guitar duet ("Eternal") that brings to mind Kansas, of all bands. Does that make P.O.D. the thinking manís metal band? Well, maybe. Although they favor a pummeling brand of persuasion, they never preach. And theyíve made an album thatíll get the approval of moms who were weaned on Masters of Puppets.

BY KEN MICALLEF


Issue Date: November 28 - December 4, 2003
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