Review Summary: A rejuvenated Nonpoint provide an impressive change from their past records.
Florida rockers Nonpoint have been a dynamic band throughout their career; dynamic in the sense that their sound changes with every record. Miracle was the first record after the highly disappointing album Vengance. This was also the first album after the departure of guitarist Andrew Goldman and the addition of guitarist Zach Broderick. This left me wondering if they would attempt to write a record that emulated their live performance, or if they would go for a more musically diverse sound.
With Miracle, Nonpoint seamlessly blend the mix of emotion and intensity of their live shows, with intricate musicianship from every member. The addition of Broderick adds a new dynamic to the band, and it's obvious that the change in personnel has changed the approach of the band. Broderick provides plenty of heavy groove riffs, but he also adds interesting leads and solo's throughout the album. While I thoroughly enjoy the playing of the new guitarist, I found that he seemed to be uncomfortable in a few moments. During these moments it seemed that he may have been trying to use a similar style to Goldman, to recall the sound of previous Nonpoint records. These moments are sparse, though, and Broderick certainly has his time to shine. While he may not be a pure "shredder" Zach adds some great solo's that were previously missing. I found the bluesy, soulful leads and solo's to flow incredibly smoothly, and provide a very enjoyable listen.
What's better about the addition of Zach, is the way that Elias seems to play off of the guitar. The most notable, and probably the best vocal performace/ guitar play would most definitely be the song Frontlines. Elias shows his incredible ability, ranging from soft cleans, to raspier, powerful singing. Elias has a great voice for hard rock, and unlike Vengance, his vocals do not seem forced on this album. Elias harmonizes incredibly well with the more lead-driven guitar, and refrains from screaming throughout the whole record.
While these notable changes were very welcomed, much has stayed the same. Drummer Robb Rivera has always had a very powerful sound behind the kit, and that is still one of the more notable aspects of the record. I've always enjoyed Robb's playing, because he does not rely on strict double-bass. His fills are quick, but impressive; his work with the bass drum is powerful, and never overdone; and the grooves fit the music better than most bands in the genre. I was very impressed with the emphatic drive behind Robb's playing on this record, and it seems that the addition of Zach has inspired Robb to be more intricate with his snare and cymbal work as well.
The overall sound of this record is, well.... different. Certain riffs retain the same driving force that have always been present, and other passages will call upon each instrument to cut through the song, and shine. From the fantastic cover of Pantera's "Five Minutes Alone" to the lead-driven "Electricity", every song offers something new. The only thing that would have made this album more complete, is Zach diving more into his roots and comfort zone, by playing more of the smooth and emotional riffs of southern rock. Nonpoint could not have made a better response album to Vengeance, and they have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for future records.