Back in May 1999, San Diegan reggae/rap/metallers P.O.D. released The Warriors EP, a limited edition collection of works in progress to tide over their then smallish group of fans before their major label debut, The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown.
Six and a half years and seven million album sales later and it's deją vu with another "thank you" to their now considerably larger legion of "Jah Warriors" before P.O.D.'s sixth studio album, Testify, hits the streets next year.
Well, it may be deją vu but it's certainly not deją entendu because the four new self-penned tracks on The Warriors EP Vol 2 are amongst the finest things that P.O.D. have recorded - and that's saying something.
Opener If It Wasn't For You bristles with intent, both musically as it rotates between intricate, spoken word verses and bruising but monumentally anthemic choruses, and lyrically ("Do I believe in heaven and hell? Shoot, yeah I do because my crew is alive and we're living proof").
Teachers and Ya Mama may be demos but you wouldn't know it such are their quality, with the former built on heavy, escalating guitar riffs and the latter somehow managing to combine Brown-era P.O.D. mosh-iness, expert rapping from Sonny and laid-back, chilled-out interludes.
And then something completely different... Why Wait is a revelation - uplifting, poppy, pure toastin' reggae with brassy horns and Sonny demonstrating, lest there be any doubt, that he is one of the most versatile vocalists in one of the most versatile bands around. The subsequent surprising but winning cover of Payola$'s 1982 Police-meets-Pink Floyd hit, Eyes Of A Stranger, simply strengthens this conclusion.
Live versions of fan favourites Boom! and Wildfire round things off and, remarkably, do not overshadow anything that has gone before them. In short, if The Warriors EP Vol 2 is a clue to the calibre of Testify, then 2006's album of the year is already a done deal.