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P.O.D. - When Angels & Serpents Dance

When Angels & Serpents Dance
by Jessica Smith at 12 December 2022, 6:13 AM

While many bands are currently reuniting and bringing back their earlier sounds to create new music, San Diego hard rock-meets-hip-hop, reggae, and alternative band P.O.D. has decided to remaster and reissue their 2008 album “When Angels & Serpents Dance”. If I’m being honest I haven’t listened to P.O.D. since the album Satellite in 2001 (which was also remastered and reissued last year), so it took some research and slight confusion to figure out that this was in fact not new content. While this is not a new album, the band has slid in three bonus tracks that were not on the original album- “Don’t Fake It”, “Ridin’ With You”, and “Walk On Water”; tallying up to sixteen tracks on the album. So let’s take a blast into the past and review “When Angels & Serpents Dance”.

Opening track “Addicted” will sling you directly back into the early 00’s new metal era with syncopated rhythms, heavy guitar riffs and genre-fluid vocals. This song feels most attached to the style in which I left the band, even having a call back to one of their most popular tracks “Alive”. In case you forgot, P.O.D. is technically a Christian metal band (though I try to pretend they aren’t) until a track like “Shine With Me” makes it more obvious with a nearly Kumbaya church camp sing-along sound. “Condescending” and “It Can’t Rain Every Day” come back with a notable nu metal sound, but leaning into and focusing heavier on the guitar than we usually get within the genre. Songs like these two are where the band really made their mark in the industry.

Kaliforn-Eye-A was an…interesting moment in the album, vocally sounding very try hard and removed from their sound. For me personally, this is the audio version of cringe. “I’ll Be Ready” takes a dive into a slowed, reggae based sound that also feels a little too “on the nose” for me with a forced “Ja know I’ll be ready” in each chorus of the track. “End of the World” and “This Ain’t No Ordinary Love Song” keep the more mellow vibe focusing in on percussions and darker themes than we normally get from P.O.D. “God Forbid” starts off with a more keyed and technical sound before coming in swinging with full throated vocals from singer Sonny. As this song progresses it has a more traditional metal feel no only with the instrumentals but the throaty, raspy singing. “Roman Empire” which is literally the title repeated a handful of times in Spanish layered with melodic (and also Spanish inspired) guitars. It gives strong Santana vibes, I just don’t know how necessary this instrumental track is to the album.

The last trio of already released tracks begins with title track “When Angels & Serpents Dance”, finally getting back into a familiar style from the band with catchy riffs, choruses and rhythmic drums. This may be the only song I’ve heard from the album since it’s first release due to it sounding like some of their earlier hits. “Tell Me Why” and “Rise Against” both lean into a softer, more acoustic feel and also have in common that they speak to political themes that have transcended the 14 years since this album’s first release (not surprisingly).

Lastly are the three bonus tracks, beginning with “Don’t Fake It”, which was the most enjoyable part of the album for me. It has that recognizable P.O.D. nu metal sound while also being a “nu” track. It was the freshest and also most familiar moment. The last tracks come with two totally different sounds,  “Ridin’ With You” being on the more reggae/hip-hop side and “Walk On Water” having a clunky, trying to be punk sound. So the bonus tracks give a little something for everyone.

I wish I had heard the original album going into this to have a strong comparison, I can imagine fans of the band will be excited to revisit it with new ears and a clearer sound. And hopefully with this style of music making a comeback, P.O.D. can gain some new fans that will be excited to explore their discography.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Addicted
2. Shine With Me
3. Condescending
4. It Can’t Rain Every Day
5. Kaliforn-Eye-A
6. I’ll Be Ready
7. End of the World
8. This Ain’t No Ordinary Love Song
9. God Forbid
10. Roman Empire
11. When Angels & Serpents Dance
12. Tell Me Why
13. Rise Against
14. Don’t Fake It
15. Ridin’ With You
16. Walk On Water
Sonny Sandoval - Lead Vocals
Marcos Curiel - Guitars
Traa Daniels - Bass
Wuv Bernardo - Drums
Record Label: Mascot Records


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