The Awakening

P.O.D.

T-Boy/UME, 2015

http://payableondeath.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/12/2015

On their seventh major release and fourth record label, P.O.D. have come roaring back on a concept album vaguely reminiscent of Queensryche’s seminal 1988 masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime. This is their most concise and strong collection of material since 2001’s Satellite.

The whole album is strung together by dialogue and bits and pieces of action at the beginning and end of various tracks. The album tells the story of a young man trying to find his way through a very treacherous path in life. The opening track “Am I Awake” is one of the best songs P.O.D. has put out in a very long time. Catchy and infectious with some great vocals courtesy of Sonny Sandoval, the song stands as a very strong statement about the state of the world in general. It’s one helluva way to start this beast off.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The rest of the record veers around to a heightened sense of impossibility on “Criminal Conversations” and “Speed Demon.” The former, featuring Maria Brink of In This Moment, is a decent enough track, but what really pulls it out of mediocrity is some fantastic guitar work from Marcos Curiel, who is one of the most underrated guitarists of the last fifteen years. “Speed Demon” is one of the fastest and most intense tracks this band has put out in a good long while.

Other tracks, like “Rise Of NOW,” sound a bit dated and clichéd. Still, they’re not as bad as “Revolucion” with Lou from Sick of It All on guest vocal, which seems a bit too forced and stuck in the past to really make much of a statement.

“Want It All” slows things down a bit while keeping the overall mood of the record very introspective and focused. The closing title track brings everything together as the young man finds his way through the darkness and into the light. If you’re not interested in the storyline, though, there’s enough good music here to keep you interested.

While it’s been an interesting road for P.O.D. since their early 2000s heyday, they’ve stuck to their guns and the final result here is one of their most interesting records they’ve put out in a long time.

Rating: B-

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