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
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
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
Samples and Purchase Nonpoint's new CD
out our interview with Nonpoint from Ozzfest 2001
the Official Nonpoint Website for more on the band, tour dates and other
antiGUY is the editor in doubt of antiMUSIC
Photos Courtesy MCA Records - All rights Reserved.