AMG Rating ★★★★
Release Date: Jan 24, 2006
Styles: Rap-Metal, Alternative Metal
Whether it be the group's Christian ethos, ethnically diverse makeup or reggae-sunsplash-meets-Ozfest vibe, P.O.D. have always retained a bit more respectability than their rap-rock peers. Even during the group's most "nu-metal" moments, they sound like they have at least heard Bad Brains first three albums and probably dug them. Smartly, on their fifth studio album Testify, the band continue to eschew such rap-rock gimmicks as ancillary use of turntables and cheesy samples, and instead deliver a mature and workmanlike metal monster-piece. Bright, loud, but always artful, Testify's glossy production comes via journeyman hitmaking producer and synthesizer master Glen Ballard.
While P.O.D. have lost none of their rootsy funk metal swagger, Ballard -- the man behind such pop titans as Michael Jackson, Van Halen, and Alanis Morissette -- has found a way to give them an eminently palatable studio sheen that brings to mind a deft mix of the arena rock of Asia and the Police, as much as it does Sepultura. The move toward a more polished sound also pays dividends creatively, as guitarist Jason Truby, while not quite as forward-thinking as Audioslave's Tom Morello, nonetheless shines under Ballard's approach, delivering a truly inspired and technically brilliant performance. Similarly, vocalist Sonny seems re-invigorated and practically giddy on the lead-off track "Roots in Stereo."
Spiritually, the band are as concerned as ever with Jah, inner strength, and the "blood of God's veins," and if the melancholy single "Goodbye for Now" is any indication, they still have a few inner demons to wrestle with creatively. Luckily, though, they haven't forgotten the funk, and songs such as the head-snapping "Lights Out" and the Sabbath-esque "Sounds Like War" combine a bit of hip-hop fun with Bob Marley-inspired metal faith. Throw in a couple of serendipitous guest spots from Hasidic rapper Matisyahu and by the time you get to the devastating metal-reggae album closer "Mark My Words," you've got a band reborn.