The San Diego quartet has spent the majority of the last five years under the radar. 2008’s release of When Angels and Serpents Dance yielded little fanfare despite the return of Marcos Curiel as their lead guitarist, and with two minor hits from that album and a South American tour in support, the band decided to lay low for awhile. That is, until May 2011 when they burst back onto the scene in an electrifying performance at Columbus, Ohio’s Rock on the Range festival (which yours truly was fortunate enough to witness), annoucing a new album in the works and getting back on the road regularly again. Just over a year later, we see the fruit of this announcement, Murdered Love. So how does it stack up? In short, the album delivers, with a few minor hiccups along the way.
The quartet proves they are back with a vengeance with the roaring, yet cheesily titled “Eyez.” It’s a fun song that has elements of both their self-titled sound and Fundamental Elements of the Southtown. The title track, “Murdered Love,” is one of the true highlights of the record. As a longtime follower of the band might predict, its about the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross on our account. Sonny switches around the refrain by way of just one word in the band’s final proclamation in the song, yelling “The Day that I murdered love!” “Higher” isn’t quite as memorable but its still a fun P.O.D. song that fans will love. Then, first single “Lost in Forever” chugs out of the gate with a riff that sounds vaguely reminiscent of Wolfmother. The chorus soars like the theme of the song, making it stick in your head and helping one to understand the massive radio success (Christian and secular alike).
The record takes a turn toward the silly in “West Coast Rock Steady.” The song has the same theme and feel of When Angels and Serpents Dance’s “Kaliforn-Eye-A,” albeit with a slightly less cringeworthy title. “Beautiful” is the album’s sole ballad and although cheesy, gets across a message that can’t be communicated enough of everyone’s intrinsic worth. Another typical P.O.D. theme emerges in the tune “Babylon the Murderer” which wakes us back up and sounds vaguely like a sequel to their older song “I’ll Be Ready” (vaguely because the reggae is toned down and we are given a higher dose of heavy rock). “On Fire” is a throwback to old-school P.O.D. at their best, and “Bad Boy” swings us back into the cheese with an anthem about wanting a nice girl amidst a grooving bass line to drown out the cheesy verses. “Panic and Run” is fun but not particularly memorable, while album closer “I Am” is an anthem of desperation sung from the viewpoint of the proverbial outcast in society. Undoubtedly if you’re reading this and have been following this album at all, you’re aware of the controversy surrounding the inclusion of the bleeped-out use of f**k, which in my interpretation, seems to be a depiction of the unsaved crying out to God. It is what it is, and I actually feel like the song delivers a powerful message that a lot can relate to. All in all, Murdered Love is a solid hard rock record, and I look forward to what the boys in P.O.D. bring to the table in this new chapter in their career!