P.O.D.

“Music comes down to passion,” says P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval. “There are not a lot of bands out there today who have that. But I think that feeling is coming back around again.”
P.O.D. (Payable on Death) certainly has the right to talk about passion in music. Passion has been front and center since the band formed in 1992 in San Diego, CA, and all the way up to the release of their eighth and latest record, Murdered Love. Over the last two decades, the group has sold over 10 million albums (including 2001’s triple platinum record Satellite), garnered four No. 1 music videos, three Grammy nominations and over a dozen rock radio hits, including “Southtown,” “Alive,” “Youth of the Nation” and “Goodbye For Now.” Music trends have come and gone, but P.O.D.’s fanbase has seemingly only grown stronger.
Still, after the release of 2008’s When Angels & Serpents Dance, the band took a lengthy hiatus. “You can blame me,” says Sandoval. “The record business was changing, and we all wanted to get back to our personal lives and families. When we do P.O.D., we want to enjoy what we’re doing, and not to do it to pay the bills or tour just to tour.” Fortunately, the time off served the band, and Sandoval, well. “Yeah, I got in a good place again. P.O.D. means so much to us and our fans – there’s a lot of love for what we do. I wanted to keep inspiring and encouraging people.”
The band initially reconvened with a few jam sessions and the intent to put out a hardcore, Bad Brains-style EP and tour a little bit. But the initial recordings were strong enough to convince the group to tackle a new album. “By taking a break, we kind of got back on the same page,” says guitarist Marcos Curiel. “Now, everyone has the same attitude going forward, the same feeling we had when we did those first two first two big albums The Fundamental Elements of Southtown and Satellite.”
The most startling aspect of Murdered Love lies in its diversity and the band’s songwriting having penned every track on the album. The opener “Eyez” might be the band’s heaviest song yet, with a cameo by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. It contrasts sharply with “West Coast Rock Steady,” a playful hip-hop ode to their San Diego roots featuring Sen Dog of Cypress Hill. Meanwhile, “Panic & Run” is full-tilt punk, “Bad Boy” brings a funky swagger and first single “Lost in Forever” ties it all together with an equal mix of aggressiveness and melody.
“The band is a fusion of all our musical passions,” says Curiel. “We can jump from punk to reggae to rap to metal. And funk -- people forget we had a little funk on our first few indie releases. So on a few songs here, we took it back. The whole process was really organic.”
Lyrically, the record finds P.O.D. at its most thoughtful and introspective as the band contemplates their lives and the world around them. On “Lost in Forever” Sandoval shows a mixture of hope and unease to questioning the cruelty of man, as the band also does in the brutal title track “Murdered Love.” “It’s about people who have died when all they brought was love” explains Curiel. The sparse, catchy “Beautiful,” contemplates the afterlife while the teeth-rattling album closer “I Am,” finds Sandoval opening with the vivid line: “I am the murderer, the pervert, sick to the core” and never lets up. It’s the band at its darkest and most confrontational.
“I had been doing a lot of outreach to kids, talking at a lot of schools,” says the singer. “I see what they go through – suicide, rape, addiction –and that song is just about being vulnerable and honest. They’re wondering if they’re screw-ups, if they’re deserving of love and compassion. “
The band recorded Murdered Love with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (Kelly Clarkson, My Chemical Romance, Daughtry), a long-time friend of the group and the man behind three of its biggest records. “He’s family,” says Sandoval, then laughs. “He has the power to choose who he wants to work with, and I think he wanted to go back and make a real rock record.”
To promote the record, the band has already set up a late spring/early summer headlining tour, as well as hitting a number of festivals and larger shows this year. “It seems like there’s Warriors in every city,” says Curiel, noting the band’s affectionate nickname for their diehard fans. “They’re loyal. And it’s great, because we’ll see people who loved us around the Satellite era bringing their kids.” Given the closeness between the band and their fanbase, it’s no surprise that P.O.D.’s new logo was the result of an online contest with their fans.
In the end, Murdered Love showcases a band at its most energetic and vital, nearly two decades after its debut. Sandoval agrees.
“This is the best record we’ve ever done,” says the singer. “And that can only come from what we’ve put into this. We’re the same four down-to-earth guys we were when we were putting out indie records. There’s an honesty and an underdog vibe to everything we do that you can definitely hear in our music.”

The unconquerable spirit of NONPOINT charges up the energy in any environment, from the studio to the stage. The stamina, resilience, diversity, massive power and undeniable authenticity of the enduring Active Rock crew makes them kindred spirits to their audience: fans who call upon the band's tried-and-true anthems to help conquer adversity in their own lives.

Nonpoint emerged as part of the cultural wave of aggressive-streetwise-metal-mixed-with-melodic-force and unapologetic passion that burst from underground clubs onto Ozzfest and MTV in the "aughts." But even as radio formats shifted and the window dressing aesthetics changed, the sheer intensity balanced with huge catchiness of Nonpoint bangers like "Bullet with a Name," "Breaking Skin," "The Truth" and "That Day" kept them relevant and revered.

"Our fans appreciate the variety in what we do and the difference in how we do it," notes frontman Elias Soriano. "We write songs that have meat on the bones and stick to your ribs."

Nonpoint has brought their message to the masses on tour with Disturbed, Papa Roach, Stone Sour, 10 Years, and Megadeth, while selling close to 1 million albums in North America. Their juxtaposition of rhythm and melody gets heads bobbing, hands in the air, and crowds singing.

The elite squad of Nonpoint's contemporaries and peers with both staying power and continued creative progression includes chart-topping, trend-proof survivors like Disturbed, Slipknot, Deftones, and Korn. The Fort Lauderdale-based quintet is undeniably counted among those ranks, to diehard true believers who know what's up. Case in point: less than 24 months ago, Nonpoint's "Breaking Skin" was the most-played song on SiriusXM Octane for the entire year.

The Poison Red, the veteran rock band's driving and ambitious ninth album, offers further testament to what makes Nonpoint such a tough act for other bands to follow on the radio dial, onstage at major festivals like Rock On The Range or Australia's Soundwave, and in any club blessed with one of the band's sweaty, crowd moving, exhaustion-proof performances. From their earliest ultra DIY releases, through the trio of major label albums, to their more recent work for the world's most important indies, the energy and determination remains consistent.

"Generation Idiot" rails against internet tough guys and text-message fairweather friends, emphasizing the power of deeper means of communication and connection, which includes music. It's one of Nonpoint's heaviest songs ever. "Divided Conquer Them" imagines what could be achieved with a greater cultural influence on art and quality of life than in the mind-numbing routines of accumulating possessions. "Standing in the Flesh" is a penultimate Nonpoint song, reveling in the transformative, shared experience of band and audience. "El Diablo" rails against the deceivers who promise the world only to deliver pain in business and in life. "My Last Dying Breath" is a fitting closer for The Poison Red, a statement of purpose that all of the sacrifices it's taken for Nonpoint to make it this far will not be for naught; they are lifers in this music thing.

"I'm trying to empower people and that's it," Soriano says with matter-of-fact clarity. "It's because I'm trying to empower myself. I'm trying to be a better person. I don't' want to be a 'good' man, I want to be the best man, the best guy that I can be. I want to always get better."

It's hard to imagine another band with the courage to tackle Jay-Z's "99 Problems," Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," and Pantera's "Five Minutes Alone" in the first place, let alone pull all of them off like Nonpoint. Those reference points loudly attest to the pure skill and impressive range of Soriano (vocals); the groove-oriented rhythmic pulse of his fellow Floridian cofounder Robb Rivera (drums); the decisive and driving heaviness of longtime band mates Rasheed Thomas (guitar) and Adam Woloszyn (bass); the shredding technicality of B.C. Kochmit (guitar); and how they merge together to create the unique and recognizable Nonpoint sound.

Nonpoint operates with the bottom heavy groove of Sabbath, the audacious danger of The Crue and GN'R, the theatrical bent of Maiden, the in-your-face brutality of Pantera and the urgent explosiveness of Rage Against The Machine. This is music for the millions of people who connect just as passionately with Metallica's Black Album as the record of the same name by Jay-Z, the same fans that grew up to start increasingly rock radio leaning bands like Bring Me The Horizon.

"Not everybody wants to go see a shrink and not everybody wants to sit around and wallow," Soriano observes. "Our music can be therapy. It is what helps someone get through something. I attest all of our success to keeping three things important: the music, the show, and the fans."

It has been quite a journey for ISLANDER, who, in just over a year, have gone from obscurity to a band in constant radio rotation. Fueled with a combination of emotionally capturing songs and audience grabbing live shows, ISLANDER continue to lead at the forefront of their peers.

The thrilling trip for this quartet began in the foothills of Greenville, S.C. with the release of their Victory Records debut Pains. in 2013. Now, a lethal combination of alt-rock, punk and nu-metal that recalls the finest of bands like Refused and Deftones, ISLANDER have released their full length Violence & Destruction to critical recognition. Comprised of members Mikey Carvajal on vocals, Andrew Murphy on guitar, drummer Eric Frazier and bassist Chris Doot, ISLANDER recorded the album with producer Cameron Webb (SILVERSTEIN, ALKALINE TRIO) at Hollywood's NRG Studios. It is twelve tracks of American rock anthems spawned by individual struggle and organic affection. The result is a refreshing and unpredictable performance of cutting edge, modern-day rock with classic punk overtones fused with groove laden beats.

Violence & Destruction awakens the nerves and lets life in. From the blockbuster single 'Coconut Dracula', to the outlaw collaboration of 'Criminals' with P.O.D.'s Sonny Sandoval and the fist-pumping title track, ISLANDER sonically 'demonstrate that fragile dichotomy between softness and weight in a riff', as described by Noisey/Vice.

Already this year, ISLANDER have been part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and their full length release Violence & Destruction was deemed one of Revolver's 'Most Anticipated Of 2014'. The proof is evident in the response.

Alternative Press confirmed that ISLANDER was one the '100 Bands You Need To Know' as 2014 continues to shine with festival confirmations at Aftershock in Sacramento and Louder Than Life in Louisville.

The band made the most of the Mayhem Tour, not only by generating tens of thousands of fans across the festival tour's routing, but also with other bands on the bill - most notably KoRn, who's members were found to be onstage watching ISLANDER's incendiary performances each day. Is this an indication of a collaboration to come? Time will tell. In the meantime, several of the very bands that inspired them, are professing their affection for ISLANDER, including KoRn, Papa Roach, and P.O.D.

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