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Nonpoint
by antiGUY

Nonpoint could not have picked a more appropriate title for their sophomore CD than “Development”. The title sticks because that is precisely what Nonpoint is doing with this CD, developing and maturing. They manage to avoid the dreaded sophomore curse by expanding their sound, trying out new elements in their songwriting and simply trying to improve upon what was already an impressive musical formula that they used on their debut “Statement”. 

Some bands have a problem when it comes to recording a sophomore CD. The basic problem usually arises because a debut album contains songs that the group had developed and perfected over a long period of time, sometimes years, while waiting to catch a break and land a record deal. So when it comes time to write music for a sophomore album, they get stuck and have to rush the process and most of the time the band ends up rehashing the music from the debut. This didn’t happen with Nonpoint, with “Development” they prove that they have staying power and can evolve musically. 

When Nonpoint released their debut I was impressed with their distinctive sound and their mix of modern heavy rock and eastern music influences. With a music market flooded with sound alike artists, Nonpoint’s approach to nu-metal included elements that other band didn’t have and that helped set them apart from the pack. With this new album, the group further distinguishes themselves with a more melodic approach and instead of the introspective focus on their first album they take more of a look outside of themselves and stretch the boundaries of imagination in what some are calling a concept album.  

The songwriting seems more focused this time around and when it comes time to deliver the big choruses that will stick like glue in people’s minds, Nonpoint delivers. Where vocalist Elias Soriano once resorted to rap like vocals to get his point across, with this new album he instead decides to show the world what he is made of as a singer and stretches his vocal chords to the limits to hit the requisite notes that are needed to really bring the song home. Elias takes his melodic parts and just wraps his voice around the song, where most vocalist would take a more straight forward approach, Elias isn’t afraid to take the road less traveled and in the process he demonstrates what is actually wrong with most nu-metal vocalist he is competing against, they are too limited in ability and wouldn’t dare to use the vocal gymnastics that Elias so naturally uses. When he needs power he taps into a more raspy place within his vocal chords and gives the songs all the power they need without resorting to all out rebel yells or primal screams. In other words, this guy is a true vocalist, not like most nu-metal singers who are qualified screamers but can’t deliver the goods when it comes time to show what they are made of as real vocalist.  

On the guitar end of things the band decided to employ a cleaner hard rock approach instead of the muddy drop tuned sound of their debut. You still get powerchords but unlike other nu-metal bands, Nonpoint isn’t afraid to use real metal guitar playing instead of the simplistic monotony of droptuned chunks that drown the Roadrunner crowd in a sea of mediocrity. We got glimpses of this with their debut, where we first witnessed their mix of metal and eastern music with complex timing and rhythm patterns that helped make them one of the most progressive of the nu-metal breed. To be totally honest, yes they do fit in with nu-metal crowd but they actually are not afraid to take the genre to new levels, joining it with traditional metal flavors in much the same way that Systematic did with their debut album, which helps to dispel the notion that nu-metal can not be dynamic and progressive. If Nonpoint shows us where nu-metal is heading, then it is time for many who have written off the genre to give it a second chance.

The real keystone to Nonpoint impressive sound is their rhythm section. The bass and drums lines found in Nonpoint’s music really are the element that ties the whole thing together and helps give them a more progressive feel. You can have an amazing vocalist and a gifted guitarist but if you don’t have competent people supplying the bottom end, it all falls apart when you try to bring it together. If you want to see where these elements come together in perfect synchronicity, listen to the third track on this CD, “Your Signs”, a song that demonstrates most of Nonpoint’s strengths and is just simply an amazingly kick ass song.  The next song “Normal Days” keeps that momentum going and further demonstrates why Nonpoint deserves attention and respect. “For My Own Sake” should satisfy nu-metal fans but also show others who may not care for the genre that Nonpoint isn’t a band you can easily dismiss and they lend some much needed credibility to the much derided music movement.   

“Development” is strong from start to finish, with the exception of maybe one track I haven’t found myself hitting fast forward even after listening to this disc a few dozen times. I really enjoyed their debut album and looked forward to this CD but to be honest I didn’t expect what ultimately was delivered with “Development”. I had high expectations to be sure, but Nonpoint returned with an album that is light years ahead of even my best hopes. 

I’ll go out on limb here and just say it, with this album Nonpoint leapfrogs over the competition and from a musical standpoint have become possibly the best nu-metal band currently on the radar. When it comes to popularity and recognition they have a little way to go to gain the attention they deserve and dethrone lesser bands from the top of the nu-metal mountain. But they have something those band’s don’t have, the music and once people hear what Nonpoint has to offer with “Development” they may just take those more popular artists albums out of their CD player and give Nonpoint their full attention. 

Nonpoint has it in them to become the leaders of the nu-metal pack and bring new people into the fold. They have done their part and supplied the music; now it is up to fate, luck, radio programmers, their record label and music journalist to carryout the mission to a victorious completion. I hope I have done my small part with this review because I can honestly endorse this CD and recommend it to our readers. Give Nonpoint a chance and I’m sure most will walk away pleased with what they find. I know I got far more than I expected and this album is sure to be on my list when it comes time to name the best releases of 2002.  So what are you waiting for? Check out the links below to hear them for yourself and discover why someone such as myself, who thinks 90% of nu-metal is utter garbage, thinks that Nonpoint are the real deal and should occupy a prime spot in any heavy rock fans CD library!  - aG   
 
 

Want more?

Hear Samples and Purchase Nonpoint's new CD

Check out our interview with Nonpoint from Ozzfest 2001

Visit the Official Nonpoint Website for more on the band, tour dates and other cool stuff

antiGUY is the editor in doubt of antiMUSIC
Photos Courtesy MCA Records - All rights Reserved.


 
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