P.O.D. – The Awakening


For a veteran radio rock band producing a heady concept album may seem strange, but San Diego’s P.O.D. has made a career of making left turns seem right. They have been able to shift chameleon-like from their early days as So-Cal hardcore punks, to Nu Metal, to active rock torchbearers while still writing big hits. When you are a band at this level, the choice to make a concept album at this stage of the game is a curious move, but a welcome one.

Following a day in the life of the main protagonist, with all the moral choices a person has to make daily, The Awakening (T-Boy/Universal) is tied together with little vignettes in the form of the intros and outros of tracks. Some of the acting is hammy in places, but in the context of the album, it works. Without being too preachy, the long running Christian act continues to ply its faith through lyrics firmly on each track. Opening with the posi-rock of ‘Am I Awake’, the track sets the tone. I expect arena rock ready hit single ‘This Goes Out To You’ to be heard in the PA system of every NFL stadium this fall. It’s an homage to the SoCal lifestyle the band grew up with and their fans.

The broody ‘Rise of NWO’ is going to be a hit with the bro in your life that follows Facebook groups and Reddit threads about The Illuminati, and False Flag nuts. The track is heavy and features Sonny Sandoval’s deft rhyming. Marcus Curiel, along with help from drummer Wuv Bernardo have done some of the best guitar work in the history of the band on The Awakening. ‘Criminal Conversations’ features In This Moment’s Maria Brink in the lens of an adulterous relationship. Musically the ballad works, and I can see it being a hit with fans, but I wasn’t crazy about the collabo. One exciting thing about the album is the band reconnects with its punk roots on ‘Speed Demon’ and ‘Revolución,’ which features Lou Koller from Sick Of It All. The most surprising track on the album is ‘Want It All’. In addition to the heart tugging vocals and lyrics covering the “why are we all here” stuff, it is a slick Jazzy tune, complete with smokey horns and vibraphone parts that chill you way out.

The Awakening feels like a comeback album for a band that didn’t need to make one. It’s cool to see them challenge themselves and their listeners at a time when many other bands just mail it in.



P.O.D. Releases New Single, The Awakening Due This Summer

Photo courtesy of BWR PR

Photo courtesy of BWR PR

After 23 years into their career and 16 years after their break-through hit record The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, P.O.D.are poised to release their 10th album this summer. The new album Awakening will be released on August 1st, and the first single ‘This Goes Out to You’ can be heard at this link:

Produced by Howard Benson whose work on the Fundamentals.. album yielded the hit that put them on the map, ‘Southtown’, was again in the producers’ chair for The Awakening.

Vocalist Sonny Sandoval comments on the reunion with Benson:


“Howard said, ‘Let’s do it for the fans who have been there for 23 years, who are growing with you and love your band and get you and your bigger-picture ideas, but let’s also make it accessible for other listeners and fans.”


Recently split from Atlantic Records, P.O.D. is currently on tour in Europe, but has US tour dates booked as well.

POD Islander summer 2015 tour poster


P.O.D. US tour dates:

Jun 14: The Bear’s Big Growl 4

W/ Buckcherry – Hinder South Bend, IN

Jun 16: Shakas – Virginia Beach, VA

Jun 17: Ziggy’s By The Sea – Wilmington, VA

Jun 19: Blue Fox – Winchester, VA

Jun 20: 95x Fest – Pennellville, NY

Jun 21: The Paramount – Huntington, NY

Jun 22: The Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA

Jun 24: Piere’s Entertainment Center – Fort Wayne, IN

Jun 26: Tail Creek Mud Music Festival – Alix, CAN

Jun 27: Stars & Stripes Festival – Sterling Heights, MI

Jun 28: Q&Z Expo Center – Ringle, WI

Jun 30: Majestic Theater w/ Islander, From Ashes – Madison, WI

Jul 02: The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL

Jul 03: Dream Makers Theater – Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Jul 04: Carver County Fairgrounds – Waconia, MN

Jul 07: The ‘O’RIGINAL – Minot, ND

Jul 09: District Bar & Grill – Rockford, IL

Jul 10: Common Ground Music Festival – Lansing, MI

Jul 11: The Watering Hole – Green Bay, WI

Jul 12: Val Air Ballroom w/ Hoobastank – West Des Moines, IA

Jul 14: Marathon Music Works w/ Islander, From Ashes – Nashville, TN

Jul 15: Festival Of The Lakes – Hammond, IN

Jul 16: Pop’s – Sauget, IL

Jul 17: The Odeon – Cleveland, OH

Jul 18: Mickey’s Bar & Grill – Lancaster, OH

Aug 02: Grassroots Music Festival – Council Bluffs, IA

Aug 07: Guitars Under The Stars – Lebanon, OR

Oct 24: Aftershock 2015 – Elverta, CA

Islander – Violence and Destruction



For a new band just getting started, garnering praise from musicians in the industry is a major benefit. More than just a stroking of the ego, these types of recommendations can help to build hype around an artist as fans of the famous admirer take note of what their musical hero is saying. Islander are a band who have been given such praise, with H.R. from punk legends Bad Brains and Sonny Sandoval from nu-metallers P.O.D. lapping up the foursomes brand of alternative rock/metal.


However, just because they like it doesn’t mean everyone will, and when it comes to their debut album, Violence and Destruction (Victory), that certainly rings true.


A mixture of heartfelt lyrics and nu-metal/alt-rock tones, Islander’s first full-length is a grower not a shower, with some tracks neither showing nor really growing. A mixture of the two, opener ‘Counteract,’ an angst-ridden metal affair and ‘The Sadness of Graves,’ an aggressive but melodic track, set a high standard from the off but not everything that follows is cut from the same entertaining cloth. ‘New Wave,’ ‘Count Dracula’ and ‘Cold Speak’ are half-decent almost sombre tracks with sincere lyrics but lack anything to really make them stand out, while songs such as the zealous ‘Side Effects of Youth’ and creative ‘Pains’ show a different, more musically passionate side to the band, a side which is much more entertaining to hear.


Then there’s the nu-metal anthem ‘Criminals,’ which features the aforementioned Sonny Sandoval and sounds like it was taken straight from the 90s, a great track for anyone who into their nu-metal or is looking for some nostalgia to their youth. In the next breath is ‘Mira,’ a very short track that feels pretty much pointless. Finale ‘Violence and Destruction’ however leaves the album going out the way it came in; with an explosive yet harmonious bang, giving you at least a good last memory.


Violence and Destruction is a tale of two halves, one being great and the other being rather unmemorable. If you like your alt-metal with a douse of unpredictability, this album with surely quench that particular thirst, but not always for the right reasons.



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