I thought this was a download exclusive..?

Not really a disc, I'm afraid chaps. This E.P is a download exclusive, courtesy of Atlantic Records (at least I thought it was - but looking at the band's website makes me wonder) and precedes the San Diego-based band's sixth album "Testify", scheduled for release in January 2006.

Not being familiar with P.O.D, (Payable On Death), the first thing that struck me was the names of the band members: Sonny (fairly normal), Wuv (what?), Traa (um...what?) and Truby (alright guys, now you're just yanking my chain, aren't you?). It's all a far cry from bands like Iron Maiden where you at least got some recognisable monikers: Bruce, Dave, Adrian, Clive and Steve for instance? Sad people among you will immediately realise that this is the classic Maiden line-up and refreshingly free from broken-nosed drummers and perm-haired weevils with a penchant for white trainers.

Combining reggae and rock is always a tricky business - a bit like slurping down oysters and then draining a bottle of industrial strength cider - but in for a penny I suppose...

"If It Wasn't For You" opens the record strongly with religious-inflected social comment and melodic guitar licks, although it may sound a mite too Limp Bizkit for some. The roaring chorus is punctuated by jingly verses of political bile and twinkling axe work which bind together as effortlessly as Gordon Ramsey mousse.

Next up is the demo track "Teachers", which features a more hollow production and stripped aural edge but maintains the mantra of in-yer-face vocals, top-heavy undulating bass and bombastic power chords. The infectiously riotous drumming to close is a treat too and sets up "Ya Mama", which is another Palm Springs demo track.

More generic in both form and execution, the rapping vocals are more accomplished than previous inclusions and you can almost feel the band groping the dank and dripping walls of passage as they lurch ever closer to a definite sound. "Ya Mama" sounds immediately comfortable, like P.O.D have stumbled onto the formula and yelled "Eureka". It doesn't prepare you for what comes next though...

"Why Wait?" is another blast of socio-religious spout with a reggae-dub tip and is dragged along from inception to conclusion by a more rigorous application of the pop song format. In fact, it conjures up shades of Aswad rather than Bob Marley or Tappa Zuki, which surely can't be a good thing. Jammed with classic Jamaican protestations - the importance of Babylon, Jah etc - it's not a great song, purely filler but at least gets your shoulders twitching and your clipper sparking.

"Eyes Of A Stranger" opens with a riff that sounds like Dire Straits covering The Police (I never thought I'd write those words) but thankfully gets much better. The echo that drips from the vocal infuses the melancholy lyrics with an ethereal glint that weighs heavy on the ear and the heart. Musically, it's one of the more successful rock/reggae crossovers, evoking the ramshackle but honest musical philosophy of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros and fading almost perfectly into its grave.

Live recordings of "Boom" and "Wildfire" bring things to a head and give you a glimpse of the band's stage chops. Heavier than the sum of the previous conclusions and including some ear-melting guitar chords, it's close to Rage Against The Machine, albeit laced with a poppier spike. The tracks are also superbly mixed - you can almost feel the sweat dripping of the walls and the rush of the screams in your ears.

Marketed to the hard-core fans, "The Warriors EP Vol.2" is sure to be a huge hit with devoted P.O.D followers and it also serves as a great introduction if you're not yet a believer. Yeah, it's not perfect but it's better than most of the crap out there at the moment and it's sure worth a download onto your boomstick - if only because it means you can tell your mates that you've got music by a band whose bass player is called Traa. Wonder if he's got any brothers or sisters - (you can probably see this gag coming a mile off, so I'm not even going to bother...)