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When Angels & Serpents Dance

Producer(s): Jay Baumgardner
Label: INO/Columbia

Anyone who's written off P.O.D. as a hard rock also-ran in recent years will have to bring a new set of ears to this disc. The return of original guitarist Marcos Curiel after a four-year absence is momentous enough, but the 13-song set is also the San Diego quartet's most mature and ambitious outing to date. P.O.D. still brings the noise on such tracks as the opening "Addicted," the fierce "End of the World" and "God Forbid," which incorporates Helmet's Page Hamilton and swings like a sledgehammer. Those are made all the more effective by the cuts that chart a different course, including the slinky funk of "Kaliforn-Eye-A" (with Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir), the roots reggae-flavored "I'll Be Ready" (with the Marley Sisters) and the Spanish guitar-driven instrumental "Roman Empire."—Gary