Four years after When Angels and Serpents Dance, P.O.D. returns with a drum-smashing, guitar-riffing album that will rattle your cage. Like it or not, the band has been harder core than many of its Christian music counterparts, and Murdered Love seems determined to set it off.
“Eyez” rocks it out, hard, with Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, before the title track goes half-Rasta, half-soaring guitars, spouting the Old Testament references in haunting voice-overs, and recognizing the death of Jesus on the cross. It’s all the things that “they” thought they could do by killing Jesus, but which proved to be unsuccessful. It’s a remarkable return to the light in the intense darkness I remember from their original works, rather than the more radio friendly stuff that came later.
“Lost in Forever” was the first song that was “pretty,” lyrically excellent in its discourse on heaven but easy on the ears! It was more “newer P.O.D.” than the old school, but Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog helps them get back to the rap rock delivery in “West Coast Rock Steady,” which was fun and radio friendly. There’s no “fun” in “Beautiful,” which bangs some beautiful vibes behind a sorrowful song about people who have lost hope. It’s a cool song, and one that highlights the blend of the old and new in P.O.D.’s current sound.
Is it fair to say that “On Fire” was my favorite song? It might be. It’s the easiest to listen to over and over again. It seems to be a statement of faith and purpose by the band, not necessarily a theological discourse and certainly not a story about someone else. Like a Disciple song, it’s a challenge to all comers, and an invitation for others to join them.
P.O.D. isn’t rolling out the “normal” watered down, CCM rock here. Instead, they’re banging away, screaming, yelling, and rapping hard questions and leaving quite a few of them open-ended. It’s justifiable, certainly, if you read the Psalms or consider the discussions that people like Abram or Moses had with God. Not all of the questions are easily answered so why wrap them up, and “fake out?” It’s like watching Robert Duvall in The Apostle and realizing that life is really like that sometimes. It definitely begs the question, how do we express our deep sorrow or anger, and do it appropriately? We have a wide variety of answers, don’t we?
Overall, Murdered Love is a well-crafted, hard-hitting album that will make you think, bang your head, and consider whether or not P.O.D. truthfully speaks to your “condition.” In many ways, I thought the album represented the band’s journey well, and I hope that this reunion is not short-lived, but rather a new beginning.