Payable on Death are in the midst of a resurrection.
There’s no question that P.O.D. sound different without original guitarist Marcos Curiel. His replacement, Jason Truby, plays a more rigid and precise style of guitar, informed by bands like Metallica and Helmet, while Curiel’s technique was loose and sweeping, influenced by Carlos Santana as much as by Korn.
The differences shone through on “Sleeping Awake,” which the band wrote for the “Matrix Reloaded” soundtrack, and they’re equally apparent on “Will You,” which comes out September 22. The song is the first single from the band’s third major-label release, Payable on Death, and though it’s more commercial than much of the album, it’s a good indication of P.O.D.’s new direction.
The surging rhythm and audible tension are instantly familiar, as is the bottom-heavy groove laid down by bassist Traa and drummer Wuv, but the technical guitar fills and rap-free vocals of Sonny Sandoval give the band a new vibe.
“Will You” begins with atmospheric washes of guitar before kicking into a propulsive rock song peppered with tribal beats. The throat-clenched, sing-along chorus of “Will you love me tomorrow?/ Will you stay with me today?/ Will you be here tomorrow?/ Will you remember yesterday?” echoes with longing and segues nicely from the bittersweet reflection of the verses and into the cathartic rage of the conclusion, in which Sandoval repeatedly screams, “Will you?”
The musical clamor that underscores each word suggests that, no, she probably won’t.
The song is clearly about love on the rocks, and while much of Payable on Death contains messages of healing and divine strength, “Will You” is pretty one-dimensional. When Sonny Sandoval sings, “Shaken, mistaken, forsaken, it’s killing me/… If you leave now, I’ll drown,” he’s not speaking about his relationship with a higher power.
P.O.D. played their first show with Truby on Saturday at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.