After founding guitarist Marcos Curiel was booted from the band in early 2003, P.O.D. underwent some changes. Recruiting guitarist Jason Truby to fill in his place was the first step, after which they recorded and released their album "Payable On Death" later that year. The sound was a bit different, as expected, as Curiel was a crucial part of the group's sound. The results were mixed. What I got out of that album is the same old P.O.D. sound, but bogged down by boring riffs and "been there, done that" lyrics. So, for their next album, they switched producers from the reliable Howard Benson to the risky Glen Ballard (Michael Jackson, Alanis Morisette), took their time, and turned in an album that is up to par with their best material.
Those who discovered P.O.D. on "The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown" or "Satellite," rejoice. The old P.O.D. is back, but obviously sounding refreshed and a bit more updated. Gone are cheesy jock-rock anthems like "Boom" or "Rock The Party." "Testify" is home to some of the most mature and polished songs in the P.O.D. songbook. Songs like "This Time" and the first single, "Goodbye For Now" are classic melodic-rock from the group, and a perfect example of where this album takes them. "If You Could See Me Now" is another noteworthy track, it reminds me a lot of the title track from "Satellite," while "Sounds Like War" and "Lights Out" deliver the bottom-heavy rap-rock that helped P.O.D. rise above the competition before. Upcoming reggae star Matisyahu shows up on not one, but two tracks: "Strength Of My Life" and "Roots In Stereo" and shows off P.O.D.'s love for the genre, while putting their own mark on it.
"Testify" is easily one of P.O.D.'s strongest albums. In my opinion, it isn't perfect, but neither is any P.O.D. release. This may not be their ticket back to platinum status and MTV rotation, but "Testify" will definitely re-affirm a lot of fans' faith. The only person who could not like this album would be someone who never cared for the band in the first place. One last thing I can say is that Jason Truby has finally filled in the shows of Marcos. Marcos left a huge gap, but on this album, Jason fills it in. The bottom line is that P.O.D. are back, stronger than ever. It may be a gamble, seeing as their sound is one that is fading rapidly from the mainstream, but at the end of the day, "Testify" is just a good, honest effort.