After parting ways with P.O.D. four years ago, original guitarist Marcos Curiel has reunited with the San Diego-based rock act for its next release, “When Angels & Serpents Dance,” due April 8 via INO/Columbia.
“I’m excited to be back,” Curiel tells Billboard.com. “And they’re definitely excited to have me back.”
The forthcoming album, the band’s first since 2006’s “Testify,” also features guest appearances from the Marley Sisters, Suicidal Tendencies singer Mike Muir and Helmet guitarist Paige Hamilton. The song “Kaliforn-Eye-A,” which features vocals from Muir, allowed P.O.D. to collaborate with an “iconic punk rock figure that played an influence on us as a band,” Curiel says. “It’s a more upbeat song about where we came from.”
Curiel exited P.O.D. following 2001’s “Satellite” (Atlantic), which has moved 3.2 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “We were at the height of our career and all of a sudden this big mess happened,” the guitarist says, declining to give specifics about leaving the band. “It was just business.”
Feelings shifted into a more positive direction after friendly phone conversations between Curiel and P.O.D. drummer Wuv Bernardo. “Next thing I know, [Wuv] tells me the guitar player who replaced me was bowing out and maybe we should start jamming,” Curiel recalls.
The guitarist describes the reunion as “an old shoe. It fits perfect and it just works. It was as if I hadn’t even left.” As for the new material, “The songs sound a lot more refined,” Curiel says. “At one point, we were all about going off all the time. Now it’s more about trying to write the best song and inspiring people.”
As a chief musical contributor to “When Angels & Serpents Dance,” Curiel describes the new album as being “very personal to me,” pointing to acoustic cut “Tell Me Why,” which is “basically out anti-war song.” Another track, “The End of the World,” is “a song I came up with while watching the news,” the guitarist explains. “I’m a dad with a four-year-old son, and I was like, “Man, the future looks bleak all of the time.'”
Keeping true to its “big rock” sound, the band is leaning toward “Addicted” as its first single. “It has a heavy groove,” Curiel says. “Big rock is kind of missing today — everything is so garage. I have nothing against that, but we wanted to stay true.”
P.O.D.’s new relationship with Columbia stems from a deal being “offered to us that we couldn’t refuse,” Curiel says. “We basically have the freedom to do what we want as a band. We took our time with this record; it wasn’t pushed out cookie-cutter style.”
Following the release of “When Angels & Serpents Dance,” P.O.D. is expected to headline a U.S. club trek in May, followed by heavy touring overseas.
“We’re going to do the whole world a few times over,” Curiel says.