CDs: Nonpoint – Recoil
I’ve never been a big fan of the nu-metal
movement. Of course, with any genre there are always bands that stand apart
from the pack and standout and while the other bands are relegated to the
ash heap of “where are they now?”, a few standout bands have the music
that allows them to stay relevant even after the trend has died. Nonpoint
is one such band.
I keep waiting for them to disappoint me,
but even now with this their third CD, where most bands become stale, Nonpoint
manage to remain captivating and demonstrate musical growth. And as their
contemporaries are dropping like flies and settling for indie deals, Nonpoint
managed to buck the trend and wound up on Lava / Atlantic. There
is a good reason for this--the songs are there.
One thing that has really set Nonpoint
apart is that they have found a happy middle ground between dynamics and
melody. This is one band that has never been afraid to prove that they
are real musicians and never let themselves be pigeon holed into a stale
formula, instead they adopt elements of various genres and influences to
create their sound. Some bands go for pure heaviness and other strive
for melody, Nonpoint manage to never compromise melody for heaviness sake,
in fact their heaviness is driving force behind their melodies, because
of the dynamics they employ. Instead of simply throwing drop-tuned
power chords at the listener, they actually take the old school approach
of incorporating lead guitars into the mix (not just the rhythm guitars
we hear from so many nu-metal bands). That gives Nonpoint more in
common with the more recent work of Anthrax than a band like Korn.
They keystone to any heavy band is their
rhythm section and Nonpoint excel in that department as well. While you
won’t find the dynamics of say Dream Theater, Nonpoint could give any nu-metal
band a run for their money when it comes to delivering the bottom end with
Nonpoint’s last album Development
was aptly titled as it showcased a band that was developing. The same can
be said about Recoil, although the evolution this time isn’t as
dramatic, the band took the best elements of Development and expand
upon them with this new CD.
“The Same” is the perfect opening track
for the CD as it highlights the band’s strong points and provides a powerful
and captivating melody that is sure to grab the listener’s attention. Elias
once again shows that he can wail with the best of them, and the rap-rock
formula from the band’s first CD is long gone.
“Broken Bones” kick things into the heavier
reaches of metal and again, the band never compromises melody for power.
“Wait” showcases the band’s dynamics but is also Elias’ shining moments
on the CD where his able to straddle power vocals with a more restrained
delivery. On the band’s last CD, Elias won me over with his vocal
dexterity, this time he does himself one better. While he is not a multi-octave
singer, he does something much more difficult, he retains total control
even at his most powerful moments. Where most vocalists would take the
leap over the cliff into full scream, Elias keeps it in check but still
provides the power and intensity the moment calls for.
“Rabia” demonstrates the band’s two key
influences, metal and Spanish music. “Done It Anyway” melds some punk into
the mix with more traditional metal. The next track, will have many people
scratching their head. It’s a cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”,
not something you’d expect a nu-metal band to attempt but unlike Coal Chamber’s
attempt at “Shock the Monkey”, Nonpoint deliver an exceptional cover that
is paradoxically true to the original but still undeniably original. This
track is a testament to Elias’ vocal ability.
“Peace Of Mind” may be the song where Nonpoint
stick closer to the nu-metal formula but at the same time they give the
genre more dynamics and dramatic changes then we are used to hearing, so
it works well for them.
For the next song “Past It All” show us
their more introspective and melodic side. It’s the closest they come to
a power-ballad, although the verses tend to be more captivating then the
choruses, in other words the chorus hooks are more low-key and aren’t the
hook happy formula you’d expect from a power-ballad. But the song is a
nice demonstration of the band’s musical range.
Finally “Reward” is the perfect closing
for the CD, it highlights the band’s heavy and light personality and leave
things on a high note.
Of course, if you keep listening you get
a real bonus track, a hidden acoustic version of “Past It All” and this
version actually works better because the choruses are allowed to be the
centerpiece without the verses overpowering them.
All in all, Nonpoint have once again done
themselves proud and offer us a compelling glimpse into their development
as a band. Longtime fans should be pleased and there are plenty of attractive
elements to Nonpoint to appeal to a wider audience. If you have missed
the boat with this band up to this point, Recoil is the perfect
opportunity to right that wrong. This CD is definitely on the recommend
list for those that are into heavier rock.
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