Twelve years ago Christian rock band P.O.D promised it would “keep it positive.” It was a surprising comment from four body-pierced, long-haired and tattooed-covered rockers, but the self-titled third album, “Payable on Death” proves to be spiritual and true to fans.
The quartet includes Sonny Sandoval (vocalist), Traa (bassist), Wuv (drummer) and the newest addition to the band, Jason Truby (guitarist), replacing original guitarist Marcos. The gothic-style album cover offers dark illustrations of skulls, evil eye symbols and the Celtic cross.
“Payable on Death” includes a bonus PlayStation 2 demo disc which allows players to mix and remix the P.O.D. song, “Space.”
The first single, “Will You,” is a bit catchy and radio-friendly, compared to previous singles, and its success on MTV’s TRL charts demonstrates the result of tamed rock. The repeated chorus expresses, “Will you? / Will you love me tomorrow? / So will you? / Will you stay with me today?”
Much like the trademark P.O.D message in 1998’s “The Fundamental Elements of Southtown” and 2001’s “Satellite,” “Payable on Death” presents the listener with real-life predicaments and puts forward hope and faith as the answer.
In “Freedom Fighters,” corrupt images are interrupted by the possibility of improving the negative elements in the world. Among the lyrics: “You portray selfishness and hate, while some prepare to die today, / I say you’ll fade away, appreciate life and liberate / We have the right to live in peace / You must fight for what you keep / If what you keep holds truth inside / Stand up, defend, or lay down and die.”
While these strong sentiments may not directly be connected to our current state of war, they force listeners to be aware.
In the tear-jerking track, “Find My Way,” P.O.D tells the romantic tale of two distanced lovers with a not-so-happy fairytale ending. The song says: “Only you know where I have gone / I want to prove I am worthy to be called yours / I need you more than I ever have / And I don’t want to stay, try and find me if you can / If I get lost along the way, please don’t forget me.” Sandoval’s tranquil voice is the perfect sound for the plea of a broken-hearted lover.
A personal favorite, “Revolution,” has the right components to make a booming next single.
It has an appealing rhythm supplied by guitarist Phil Keaggy, who also featured in “Eternal.” The sixth track asks, “Did somebody say a revolution? Or is it all in my head? / Is that what it takes to make a solution?/ Your revolution / No Solution.”
“Payable on Death” is entertaining and a smooth transition for P.O.D. In this one the band stays true to its sound.