P.O.D. - When Angels And Serpents Dance Review

by Dan MacIntosh

P.O.D. has carved out a unique niche for itself. The band rocks hard, but has way too much soul to ever be lumped in with (mostly) soul-less hard rock. The group is also comprised of Christians, yet it's not so overtly religious that it puts off unbelievers. The new When Angels And Serpents Dance once again does a fine job in balancing P.O.D.'s many artistic hats. Listening to this disc makes one wish there were more bands just like it.

The first great song on this CD is "It Can't Rain Every Day". With its gentle, empathetic groove, the band uses each verse to describe a different troubled person. The initial character, for instance, is a young girl with so few friends she is on the verge of trying almost anything whether good or evil -- to get noticed by her peers. This is peer pressure that has reached the danger point. The next hurting one is a man who was just laid off from his job. P.O.D. could have just as easily said to these, 'Accept Jesus and everything will be alright.' But even devout Christians know that's a lie. After all, the Bible promises that in this life, there will be tribulation. So instead they offer the reminder, "It can't rain every day/It don't rain forever." In other words, just hold on; it'll get better.

Songs like "Addicted", which brings Jimi Hendrix to mind vocally, and "Kaliforn-Eye-A", another loud one, both show off P.O.D.'s sizable hard rock firepower. The band is also helped out by fellow rockers Page Hamilton (Helmet) on "God Forbid" and Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) for "Kaliforn-Eye-A".

But "I'll Be Ready", with its sweet backing vocals provided by Melody Makers, reveals the group's easygoing reggae roots. And much like "Kaliforn-Eye-A", this one utilizes the harsh streets of Hollywood as its setting. Another quiet track, "Tell Me Why", combines acoustic guitar and slight strings as it wonders out loud why this world is sometimes so violent. "Why must we fight?/And why must we kill in the name of what we think is right?"

This CD's title track describes the odd juxtaposition of heavenly angels and demonic snakes filling up a metaphorical dance floor. This serves to suggest that nothing in life is ever black and white. Good and evil are sometimes indistinguishable. A cop can be the hero saving a life one day, for example, but a villain on the take the next. Great music like this forces listeners to look into the mirror to see who and what they truly are. So get a good look at this reflection because "Life's real/When Angels And Serpents Dance", and because P.O.D. provides a whole lot of truth staring back at you in the face.

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