P.O.D. - Murdered Love
Record Label: Razor & Tie
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Since their formation in 1992, P.O.D. (Sonny Sandoval on vocals, Marcos Curiel on guitar, Traa Daniels on bass and Wuv Bernardo on drums) have sold over 10 million albums, received three Grammy nominations and toured the world countless times. Despite this success, the band decided to take a hiatus in 2008 and have remained relatively quiet during their time off, citing the desire to spend more time with their families after years on the road. Returning from their lengthy hiatus with the release of their eighth record Murdered Love, P.O.D. pick up right where they left off with their signature sound that spans multiple genres from punk to reggae to hard rock, although it may be a few years too late to save the nu metal genre.
Popular in the Christian rock scene, P.O.D. make numerous references to their faith in their songs, especially the single "Higher". "It will all make sense when I get there..." sings Sandoval, seemingly content with confusion in the present for the exchange for answers once he gets to heaven. It's a religious song, but it never feels preachy. It's one of the things that P.O.D. have done well over the years, making religious themes accessible to the casual listener.
"Lost Forever" is the first radio single from Murdered Love, with crunchy guitars during the verse leading up to a melodic chorus. Sandoval's mixed rap and sung vocals fit really well with the straight forward rock sound that spawned so many of P.O.D.'s hit singles including "Alive" and "Southtown".
One of the bright spots in the record is "West Coast Rock Steady", featuring a collaboration with Sen Dog of Cypress Hill. With a staccato piano hook and a driving drumbeat, the song provides a refreshing break from the nu metal monotony that many bands fall victim to.
The last track on the album "I Am" presents a shocker for fans of P.O.D. and Christian music in general with the use of an expletive (albeit edited). Sandoval boldy sings, "Well, I know you are the One and the Son of God, so tell me who the f*** is he?" As a casual listener of P.O.D., I am familiar with their roots in the Christian music scene and also their mainstream success, but this surprises me quite a bit. I can see how Christian fans would be up in arms about the subject matter of the song. I feel like it overshadows the message of the band and ends the album on a sour note. For obvious reasons, some religious outlets have excluded this song from the album.
Overall, the album has a few high points, but it just feels a little too dated. Musically, this album sounds like it belongs in the early 2000s. The above-average production, provided by Howard Benson (Paramore, My Chemical Romance), isn't enough to save Murdered Love from being lost in the shuffle from countless other nu metal acts of a decade gone by. Fans will find everything they expect from a P.O.D. release, but not much more. Welcome back from your hiatus, P.O.D. Unfortunately, it seems that the glory days of nu metal are lost forever.