Review Summary: Not a real development, but a true statement
Nonpoint are back with a vengeance. Their newest, self-titled effort is a testament to the group’s endurance and is bound to give the fans of the band some peace of mind. The way I see things, their seventh studio record features material which shows what the band does best. Nonpoint are playing to their strengths on this self titled album and while it doesn’t convey a sense of development, it does reflect that the band is definitely alive and kicking. They haven’t sounded this pissed off and full of electricity since Statement
and on self-titled, they wish to take the listener on a mindtrip of their own. Vocalist Elias Soriano is spitting fire on levels never seen before from him, the two tone double guitar attack really enhances the band’s sound as this is by far the grooviest, thickest Nonpoint record to date, and as far as songwriting goes, Nonpoint still aren’t going to call forth an excessive reaction from anyone, but they deliver their simple formula with true conviction. The only question lies here: is there, besides the old fans of the band, an audience for this type of metal in 2012, or are we past it all?
Thick grooves, angsty, pissed-off lyrics, downtuned guitars, simple chord progressions? Check, check, check and check. What self-titled is is a nu metal album that just so happens to be a bit more varied than your usual product of the genre. And that is the only problem with this album as well – it is a great piece of music courtesy of an entirely dated/dead genre of music. With 2010’s Miracle
, it seemed like the band is treading away from those dangerous waters, but two years later they are right back where they started out. But I’ll stop with such critique right here, because at the end of the day, it is the quality of the music that needs to be judged and may someone smite me down but Nonpoint are one of the very few worthwhile bands around who still play nu metallic music. If you can look past the all-too-angsty lyrics, it is an extremely catchy and gripping album that features great hooks and riffs that dig their way into your mind like a bullet. Mr. Soriano is on top of his game vocally, Robb Riviera is doing exactly what he has been doing for the last 15 years behind the kit – being solid and a true backbone of the band – and the inclusion of a second guitar player has given way to additional slithering guitar lines that play over the (simpler) main riff, creating a whole extra layer of music.
No one should be driven away by the nu metal moniker that chases Nonpoint around, because self-titled is yet another triumphant effort in the catalog of what’s become the most consistent nu metallic band of all (not all of their material is straight-up nu metal). Their only mishap being 2007’s Vengeance
, Nonpoint have been on-point for the rest of their career. They may not boast the objectively greatest album to come out of the nu metal era, but they’re definitely the only group who has been capable of releasing a whole bunch of worthwhile albums that feature plenty of nu metal elements. Elias Soriano and Robb Riviera are crafty little worker bees who straight up decline to rest on their laurels. Respect should be given where it’s due and the leaders of Nonpoint definitely deserve it for their dedication. Always looking to improve and never slacking, the two captains have kept the Nonpoint vessel on course for one and a half decade already, whilst their compatriots have changed it or sunken all together. This is also why I decline to lower my opinion of this new self titled album even if it should rather have been released in the year 2000 to critical acclaim: despite it being far from innovational, it is a damn good effort from a hardworking band who always make time for their fans.
Talking more about the individual tracks on this album, one should not judge it by its pre-released cuts, because "I Said It", but especially "Left For You" are quite possibly the worst songs on here. It’s when Nonpoint incorporate really thick grooves ("Go Time", "Lights, Camera, Action") and lingering riffs ("Independence Day", "The Way I See Things") are they at their best, or when they bring in additional elements like breakdowns or solos into their songs ("Temper", "Ashes"). All-together, besides "Left For You", there isn’t a single song on here that is below par. The album is but a mere 40 minutes long and Nonpoint have really managed to channel their live energy onto this record, as from the rallying "Lights, Camera, Action" up until the heavy-hitting "Ashes", Nonpoint’s self-titled is a fun roller coaster of driving guitar lines and energetic tunes.
A difficult album to summarize, Nonpoint’s latest is simultaneously an excellent but also a somewhat dated album. There’s no denying that what Nonpoint do, they do really well, but the truth is that in 2012, I can’t see too great a demand for the style they play anymore. On the other hand they did went straight to #2 on the itunes metal list, so I might be full of shit too. In conclusion, the fans of the band will be more than satisfied, and those who didn’t care for Nonpoint before won’t care after the self-titled either. When all is said and done, you can’t fault a band for playing their own formula the best they can. The self-titled record might gain them some new fans or it might as well not, but I’m fairly sure that’s not what Nonpoint care most about anyway – they do what they do for their own sake. They just want to play music (for their fans), their own brand of pissed-off, nu metallic alternative metal that they themselves love so much, and bar a natural disaster, they’ll be doing so for a long time still. Successfully and with orgullo, mind you.