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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

P.O.D. - "Murdered Love" Review

Payable On Death (P.O.D.) - Murdered Love
Razor & Tie Records
Genre:  Nu metal

Band's Facebook
Murdered Love Music Video on YouTube

Sonny Sandoval (vocals)
Marcos Curiel (lead guitar, backup vocals)
Traa Daniels (bass, backup vocals)
Wuv Bernardo (drums, rhythm guitar, backup vocals)

P.O.D. fans have waited with crossed fingers for four years for a new album since the band’s last release When Angels & Serpents Dance.  While they departed from the core P.O.D. sound in that album to experiment with atmospheric guitars and a more modern sound, the band is back to their roots with Murdered Love.  The new album contains the pop anthems of Satellite, the hardcore sensibility of more than a decade-old Brown, and the creative vocals of Testify.  P.O.D. has always declared their faith with vehemence, and on this album it is no different; however, they do so in a way that has many fans sputtering.  But more on this later.
Murdered Love is an amalgamation of sound that blends and winds its way together like a well-defined tornadic whirlwind.  At any one time elements of pop, hardcore, and even funk swim to the surface and present themselves for the listener’s pleasure; while lesser bands might stumble and become disjointed, P.O.D. interlocks these dissimilar musical ventures and knits them together with precision and finesse.  There’s enough material on the record to interest fans of different sub-genres, and perhaps this has been one of the reasons for the band’s continuous success.  Murdered Love is constructed well, with heavier songs interspersed with sing-a-longs, a ballad, and even a street jam.  The production quality and mixing is professional and rises above When Angels & Serpents Dance (at times, the production on that record sounded a bit thin).  

P.O.D. roars into Murdered Love with help from guest vocalist Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed, leaving the listener pummeled with the short but articulate song Eyez.  Then it’s on to the title-track, with another guest performer (Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm).  The song is well-layered with an eerie spoken line in-between the chorus.  Lost in Forever will have P.O.D. fans reminiscing Satellite, and Beautiful is a definite nod to Youth of the Nation.    However, the record comes to a screeching halt with tracks 8 and 9.  Hiding under the fertile top layer of silt, there is a dry bed of rock that is blocking off the local aquifer.   On Fire is a bit catchy but immediately becomes tenuous as “Stop, drop and roll—I’m on fire!” is more than cliché.  Bad Boy may actually make you cringe a bit and it is one of P.O.D.’s worst attempts on the album.  Sure, Sonny may have a girl in mind with the lyrics—but the song ultimately comes across as shallow and the chorus is actually fairly laughable:  “And I’m a bad boy, and I like good girls…”  The further reference to Romeo and Juliet as a romantic truism may have even Shakespeare gagging in the afterlife (honestly, the play was meant as more of a comment on the whims of fate than the idealism of a perfect romance).
But with the last song of Murdered Love P.O.D. once again grabs hold of the rudder and guides their ship into blissful territory.  I Am is powerful, both vocally and musically.  Regardless of your viewpoint on their use of a garbled “F” word and the band’s Christian faith, one must admit that conviction emerges with headstrong abandonment.  That the dregs of society might find redemption through no attempt of their own is a startling concept.  The song dwindles out with a well-placed ritardando and a fading chord.  So, the final verdict.  Murdered Love is a definitive collection of P.O.D. classics, and while not entirely consistent, both old and new fans will no doubt find something to love.  Welcome back, Payable On Death.  Oh, and if you see Ryan Clark at a Demon Hunter concert in the near future, you should tell him that his album art is sick.

Overall rating:  8.0 out of 10.0 (Excellent)
Musicianship:  8.0 out of 10.0 
Song structure:  7.5 out of 10.0
Album structure:  8.5 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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  1. Nice review and album. Welcome back indeed.

  2. Russian review http://rokoed.ru/archives/2979