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when angels and serpents dance - artistdirect editor review

A few things have happened in the P.O.D. camp since the release of their last album, Testify. Frontman Sonny Sandoval lobbed off his signature dreads. Gasp! In all seriousness, the Cali band left longtime label Atlantic for the new confines of Columbia. And prodigal son, guitarist Marcos Curiel, who played with the band on multi-platinum super smashes The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown and Satellite before bailing, has returned to the fold. How do all these factors effect When Angels And Serpents Dance? Positively, I'm happy to report. P.O.D. have matured and progressed from their rap-rock-reggae hybrid, crafting smart songs with groove. When Angels And Serpents Dance is a well-manicured collection of radio-ready hard rock with balls. Sandoval still delivers his positive lyrics in a hip-hop cadence, and Curiel's riffs clamp down on the jugular on raucous rawkers like "Condescending" and "Addicted." The glorious "End Of The World," featuring a Gospel choir, is reminiscent of the band's huge Satellite hit, "Youth Of The Nation." But it's not a copy or repeat of past effort; this song is edgier, and at times, has a classic rock vibe pumping through its veins.

There's a spate of guest vocal appearances, ranging from Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir to the Marley Sisters to Helmet's Page Hamilton. All those guests make sense, since P.O.D. siphon from the punk rock, reggae, and metal tanks for influence. While rap–infused rock has fallen out of popular music's favor, P.O.D. manage to keep their formula fresh, thanks to their glass-half-full lyrical bend and infusion of reggae. When Angels And Serpents Dance is a healthy rebound for the Payable On Death.

—Amy Sciarretto
03.10.08