P.O.D. – “The Awakening”


podawakeningcd1P.O.D. has been around now for about 24 years. They have had some awards (American Music Awards 2003 – Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist (nomination), Echo Awards 2003 – International Alternative Group of the Year, San Diego Music Awards 1999 – Best Hard Rock Artist, 2000 – Best Hard Rock Artist), and have had some notable iconic guests on the albums ( Maria Brink of In This Moment and Lou Koller of Sick Of It All and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies), and with that they are still a band that deserves loads of respect in the music scene.

With “The Awakening’ their latest and 9th release we see a band still growing into its boots.

Trying to keep it fresh as always this innovative hard rock band brings us an album that is more concept in nature. For me it keeps things interesting and shows a band that does not fear thinking outside of the box.

Sometimes changing up and evolving ones sound can be a tricky affair and can come up with criticism from the fans. But P.O.D. has kept their core sound or approach throughout their career within that evolution. “The Awakening” as a album keeps it fresh, continuing their stride of offering their fans something unique, yet commercially viable, but by no means dumbed down.

With a barrage of bands on the scene, it’s not always easy to provide a product that stands out of the crowd tall and bold. At first I would have to admit I was a bit taken by surprise by the conversational inserts, sound effects and spoken word pieces. But after a couple listens it all seemed to mesh in to give a very unique cohesiveness and strength to the album.

Concept albums can be hard to swallow if not executed correctly, and can tank horribly if there is no fluidity or story to the package to bond it together. I myself have had some experience putting a concept album together, and it’s not always an easy adventure, but done well, you are able to offer the fans something unique that can stand the test of time and adds value.

Right from the beginning of the album you are swept up into the concept, ‘Am I Awake’ starts with a long intro before swaying into a solid chorus. The bands first single from “The Awakening is, “This Goes out to You’, is a catchy funky number with a great vibe to it. It’s a solid rock song that is anthemic in appeal. A song that I feel won’t tire anytime soon.

‘Rise Of NWO’ brings some reminder of older P.O.D. Its an aggressive hip-hopping rocking song. Its heavier sound bring forth a darker atmosphere compared to “This Goes Out To You’. The song is solid nevertheless and though the two songs seem worlds apart both in subject matter and tone, there is a still cohesiveness between them that again brings a certain individuality and uniqueness to the album as a whole. Yet the songs are strong enough to stand alone and fend for themselves in a crowd of opinion.

I think P.O.D. in some way have perfected the art of pushing boundaries in their music, and have managed to maintain a freshness and relevance to their sound and offering the fans something new, with each release. I think they accomplish that again here on, “The Awakening”.

This brings us to the song, ‘Criminal Conversations’, which features guest vocalist, Maria Brink of In The Moment. Here she lends her lovely vocals to create a mysterious luring appeal to what is a very mellow and docile track for the P.O.D. gang. Again they utilize experimental overtones, and conversational inserts, yet retaining value and quality to the mix.

‘Criminal Conversations’ is almost a resting place for the album; it has more a back ground appeal. Go make yourself a coffee, and toast. As good as Maria Brink is, her vocal ability is drowned in the atmospheric drone.

Then like the band got a booster shot in the arm, ‘Somebody’s Trying To Kill me’ scorches forth with a deep aggressiveness. Sonny pulls the anger from deep down his gut. I get a picture of a guy shouting this out to the heavens above. Same can be very much said about ‘Get Down’ a good hard rocking, driving song that again highlights Sonny’s aggressive vocal intensity. These songs are aggressively dark, with experimental and atmospheric overtones.

Their albums might not be to everyone’s liking, and certainly adding the word ‘concept’ in the mix for “The Awaking” could promote mixed feelings and responses, but as concept albums go this is a release that holds itself nicely without the concept of it turning into an experimental mash of pieces forced to coexist together.

One of the highlight tracks for me is ‘Revolucion which features guest vocals by Lou Koller, it’s a great track , and is a well balanced track that comes together well to feature as one of the strongest songs on the album.

‘The Awakening’ is by no measure an easy album to sum up in a couple of words. All the tracks have the capability to stand alone, and each track has a defining strength which in totality makes for a very strong release. Very few artists are ever able to convincingly pull off a concept album, but P.O.D. I think manage to do this with a fair side of finesse. There is a certain strength of confidence that oozes out that makes this a bold statement that confidently holds together, where other bands might have failed. There is certainly no sign that P.O.D. has reached their creative end.

Rating: 8/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

Track Listing
1. Am I Awake
2. This Goes Out to You
3. Rise of NWO
4. Criminal Conversations (feat. Maria Brink)
5. Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me
6. Get Down
7. Speed Demon
8. Want It All
9. Revolución” (feat. Lou Koller)
10. The Awakening

Band Members
Sonny Sandoval: Vocals
Marcos Curiel: Guitar
Traa Daniels: Bass
Wuv Bernardo: Drums

“Snuff The Punk” [1993]
“Brown” [1996]
“Live at Tomfest” [1997]
“The Warriors EP [1998]
“The Fundamental Elements of Southtown” [1999]
“Satellite” [2001]
“Payable On Death” [2003]
“The Warriors EP, Vol. 2 [2005]
“Testify” [2006]
“Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years” [2006]
“When Angels And Serpents Dance” [2008]
“Rhapsody Originals” [2008]
“Murdered Love” [2012]
“Murdered Love” (Deluxe Edition) Digital Release [2013]
“SoCal Sessions” [2014]
“The Awakening” [2015]

Record Label: T-Boy/UMe. Aug. 2015

Weblinks: Website Facebook Twitter

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video below: ‘This Goes Out To You’

Video below: ‘Revolución’ (ft. Lou Koller)




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