Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music Review: P.O.D. When Angels & Serpents Dance

So I've been hinting that this is coming, and now I've finally got a review down on paper (or up on the internet, actually) for you. About three months ago I got a copy of P.O.D.'s newest effort, When Angels & Serpents Dance, and I'm ashamed to say that it has taken me this long to review it. I've listened to it several times, but I've just not had the time to really sit down and get my thoughts on the album out. This may not be as flushed out as I would like, but I want to do this review and I want to get it done before I start putting out reviews on the next batch of releases I just received Monday (Bart Millard's Hymned Again, 33 Miles' One Life, and Joy Whitlock's God and a Girl).

In short, my impression of the album is a good one. This marks the first album in a few years to feature the original lineup of P.O.D. that first found success, and the return has brought about some good music.

For those of you not familiar with the group, P.O.D. (or Payable on Death) is a hard rock band with a Christian background and lyrics that are evocative of God's message to us today. When Angels & Serpents Dance marks their first album on INO Records, a more overtly Christian label than they were with previously. They've had cross-over success, recently appearing on Leno and Carson Daly, and having been invited into many Christian venues, and have enjoyed a 15 year run thus far. There style may not be for everyone, but I enjoy it. (I know, you're thinking this is a big departure from everything your think you've known about my musical tastes. Well, live and learn - I like loud, fast and thrashin' music, too!)


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Their new album, When Angels & Serpents Dance, starts off with the song "Addicted", which could be surmised as a modern paraphrase of Paul's debate with himself in Romans 7.

Cause I, I'm Addicted,
To all the colors that I see, that you hold in front of me.
And you have changed, yeah you have changed me.
Why do I love you when I know, love you when I know,
Your wrong.
Yeah, that's pretty much what Paul said. And it's a sentiment that we all can relate to more than we like to admit. The song is driving, and honestly one of the best on the album.


The rest of the album is similar. Their first single, "Shine With Me", is also a good listen. (Currently you can download "Shine With Me" free by going here.) Unfortunately, it suffers from one of the two problems I have with this album. While having a good sound, "Shine With Me" ends up being repetitive in the end - as do several other songs on the album. It's almost as if they wanted an additional verse, but couldn't flesh it out and decided to add an extra chorus to fill.


The other issue I ended up having with When Angels & Serpents Dance was the guest spots. The album feature appearances from The Marley Girls, Mike Muir, and Page Hamilton. As I listen, the guest spots seem to dominate, even overpower, the songs. In the end, I found them more distracting than enhancing the album.

Despite those two critiques, I would still recommend the album. It gives a good blend of hard rock, reggae, and hip-hop with some jazz overtones to which I enjoyed listening. In the ultimate test, having had it on my iPod for three months, I've rarely skipped a song on the album. If you enjoy music with a heavier beat, then check out P.O.D's latest.


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2 comments:

crossdriven said...

I agree! This is one of my favorites. I'm looking forward to your review of Joy Whitlock. I had the honor of riding the elevators with her a couple of times at GMA. She is very cool and very humble.

Another one you may want to review is the new Brooke Barrettsmith that comes out on August 10. I absolutely love this CD!

euphrony said...

I've heard of Brooke Barrettsmith, and I think I've heard some of her music. But I can't say what, off-hand. I'll look into her stuff.

If the weekend goes well, I'll have a Review of Joy Whitlock's album up on Monday.

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