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`Satellite' is explosive hardcore rock

P.O.D. intertwines punk, reggae, hip hop in new album

If P.O.D. wanted to make some rock shock waves, they did it with the release of their new album Satellite in early September.

Its new single, "Alive," rocketed P.O.D. back onto the charts, landing safely in the top 10 on Music's Billboard Top 200 and claiming the number one spot for several days on MTV's Total Request Live. "Alive" is merely a tiny taste of the rest of their explosive album.

The time spent in the studio laying down the tracks for this album must have been cathartic because Satellite dwarfs The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, whose single "Rock the Party (Off the Hook)" helped the album hit the top of the charts with its thrasher and hip hop sounds.

A band from San Diego, Calif., the members lay deep roots in punk, reggae and hip hop. P.O.D., which is an acronym for Payable On Death, is contrived of lead vocalist Sonny Sandoval, guitarist Marcos, bassist Traa and drummer Wuv. Together they form a tight group of musical talent that hasn't been seen since the likes of Rage Against the Machine.

Bearing a variety of influential sounds from musical genres such as heavy metal, R&B, classic rock and jazz, P.O.D. is all over the map and setting off sounds that make the jaw drop.

With songs such as "Set It Off" and "Without Jah, Nothin'," their unique hardcore rock sound blasts out with harsh guitar riffs and a loud, raucous ska sound. In other songs, such as "Masterpiece Conspiracy" and "Thinking About Forever," they lay out the hip hop and rap/rock sounds smoothly. Hardly missing a single beat they pay homage to bands such as Pink Floyd in a haunting rock instrumental called "Celestial" and Cypress Hill's "Tequila Sunrise." Spanish guitar sounds prevail on their second instrumental, "Guitarras de Amor," busting out with their Latino and hip hop influences and giving us a glimpse into their own Latin backgrounds.

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Mixing punk and reggae in "Ridiculous," featuring Eek-A-Mouse, they do bands such as Kottonmouth Kings and Sublime justice and then some. P.O.D.'s musically all-over-the-map approach only strengthens their already rock solid musical talent. Add that to some mighty powerful themes and lyrics, such as with "Youth of the Nation" about a school shooting at Santana High School near San Diego not far from where P.O.D. was working on its album.

Lyrics such as "every day, the same routine before I skate off to school/ but who knew that this day wasn't like the rest/ instead of taking a test, I took two to the chest" and "who's to blame for the life that tragedies claim/ no matter what you say it don't take the pain away" give the song a stark nature.

But their rock and soul rhythms leave the listener breathless, especially as the last haunting part of the song is done with a children's chorus. It's depth is clear and strong, never coming off as cheesy or trite.

A religious theme runs subtly throughout the album for all those who are dedicated to P.O.D.'s Christian band roots, especially in the very spiritual song "Portrait," but it is their music that makes the impact, not their spiritual beliefs. P.O.D. has joined the ranks, and even surpassed, some of the best rock bands out today such as Sevendust, Staind and the Deftones.

Satellite is a rare treat that lovers of almost all kinds of music will appreciate, and any true rock fan will count this album as an all-time favorite.


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