Review Summary: Great nu-metal effort that coalesces rock and hip-hop pretty well, although Nonpoint won't win any awards for innovation, as the music is limited and derivative by nature.
Nonpoint are an oftentimes unacknowledged hard rock/nu-metal quartet from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The band began to take stride in the late 1990s, a time when Florida's alternative metal scene was booming with bands that included Endo and Darwin's Waiting Room (Miami), Cold (Jacksonville), and Puya (San Juan, Puerto Rico). Prior to Statement
, which marks the band's first major-label effort on what is now known as Geffen records, Nonpoint released two albums independently - Separate Yourself
- the latter album containing songs found on Statement
, albeit reworked to a degree.
To best describe Nonpoint's sound on Statement
, particularly to a new listener, it is helpful to draw comparisons to similar artists, while still describing the band's individual sound. Statement
sees a merging of rock with hip-hop - not an entirely new concept in music, as evidenced by Anthrax, the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other similar artists spearheading this movement in the decade before. However, this nu-metal era began to take precedence at the turn of the millennium, with bands such as (hed) p.e. and Sevendust being the most popular artists playing this fusion of heavier-hitting rock with evident hip-hop influences. In the case of Statement
, this combination creates an incredibly infectious listen at times, although the album lulls in a couple spots due to its limited, derivative nature. Even still, while Nonpoint will not win any accolades of innovation for Statement
, it is definitely an album worth hearing.
The two singles from Statement
, entitled What a Day
, are two excellent representative Nonpoint tracks. The former track features a hip-hop vocal style from frontman Elias Soriano - he sings the lyrics with a higher register, but in a swift, storytelling-like vibe. The clean and distorted guitar alternates throughout, with the pre-chorus and chorus growing significantly more edgy and eventually erupting into a distorted wall of guitars and percussion. Endure
drops the hip-hop for a more rock-oriented track, and the end result yields one of the best songs on Statement
. Its distorted guitar intro, which eventually gives way to a steady pounding from Robb Rivera on his drumkit, is one of the best intros on the album, and the explosive chorus of "Put down the books, put up the walls - I'm never givin' up at all! what's yours is yours, what's mine is yours and I'll mature - endure!" being the biggest highlight heard on the track. The main riff heard in the chorus is not terribly ingenious, but it is nevertheless a satisfyingly crunching riff that complements Soriano's vocals extremely well. Two non-single Statement
tracks that are great listens include Years
, which is unmistakably catchy and arguably features Soriano's best vocal performance, and the fan-favorite Mindtrip
, whose opening half-minute is one of the most chaotic moments found on the album.
There are two dark horse tracks on Statement
that should be addressed as well. The first is Orgullo
, which, in Spanish, is translated to "Pride." South Florida has a booming Latino community, but both Soriano and Rivera are of Puerto Rican heritage and proudly share their heritage in the track: "Orgullo! Con orgullo yo naci, con orgullo voy a morir [Pride! With pride I was born, with pride I will die]," explains through heavy power chord-driven riffs from guitarist Andy Goldman, and Soriano's guttural screams and shouts of how he "feel[s] honest and happy to be Puerto Rican [sic]" and has committed himself "to his mother country [sic]" showcase their dignity and pride in their heritage. Orgullo
could best be compared to Ill Nino - another alternative metal act that is not bashful about sharing its heritage with its fans, but Nonpoint's Spanish-laden track can stand on its own. The other wildcard track is Tribute
, which features Soriano and Grimm of now-defunct Darwin's Waiting Room fame plowing their way through three covers - Slick Rick's "Children's Story," Busta Rhymes' "Woo-Hah," and Wu-Tang Clan's "Method Man" - in just under 4:30. Both Soriano and Grimm obviously take centerstage on the track with their furious shouting and screaming, but the instrumental backdrop provided by Goldman, Rivera, and bassist "KB" Charman helps drive and stabilize the sonic fury that the two MCs provide. Again, coalescing rock and rap is not a groundbreaking movement in the music industry, but Tribute
's in-your-face, aggressive nature is surprisingly well-executed. However, there are a few spots on the album where Nonpoint falter; for example, Hive
sounds like a poor nu-metal track masquerading as a thrash number, Levels
sounds like a run-of-the-mill, going-through-the-motions, the-band-was-running-out-of-steam track, and Misled
sounds as if it was casually tossed in the middle of the album for no particular reason, as it does not stand out in any fashion.
is a surprising listen and a great major label debut for Nonpoint. Listeners who like Sevendust, Puya, Ill Nino, and even Rage Against the Machine would definitely be encouraged to give this album a listen with its rock and hip-hop fusion. Again, the instrumentation is hardly innovative, but Goldman's clean and distorted guitar riffs and arpeggios as well as Rivera's fantastic percussion provide a solid foundation to frontman Elias Soriano's sung and shouted vocals. The album's riffs, while rudimentary at times, also exhibit the potential to be incredibly catchy and headbang-worthy. The unrelenting Endure
, the Spanish-based Orgullo
, the hip-hop trifecta cover that comprises Tribute
, and the persistent Years
's best songs, and the album opener, Mindtrip
, kicks off the album in a blazing, feverish tempo. While not exactly the most original album, Statement
is an under-rated, oftentimes unacknowledged album that provides plenty of hooks - both instrumentally and vocally - to keep nu-metal and alternative metal fans happy.