CD Review: “X” by Nonpoint

Nonpoint unleash its tenth record, X, after 21 years of rocking all over the globe. The band quickly gets down to business with album opener “Empty Batteries.” It is a grooving stomper with a shade of thrash with its dual guitar attack. Vocalist Elias Soriano’s soaring vocals shine on this track with its melodic chorus. “Chaos and Earthquakes” is trademark Nonpoint with the rapping vocal delivery and melodic guitar lines. This song is sure to be a fan favorite and will certainly garner radio airplay. The opening of “Fix This” is a thick wall of pummeling guitars slightly off-key with the drum beat. Things click in with a sweet bass line from Adam Woloszyn. This track is slightly weak compared to the one-two combination of the previous songs, but a nice guitar lead saves this track from mediocrity. “Passive Aggressive” is a fusion of biting guitar riffs and pounding drums and a melancholy chorus. Drummer Robb Rivera drives this song forward with interesting drum fills and rhythm changes. There is a strong Prong influence on “Dodge Your Destiny” with its trashing and unorthodox riffing. The Latin percussion during the song’s second half makes this track a highlight on X. “Milestone” plods forward with a lazy riff which contrasts with Soriano’s rapid rapping. Penultimate track “The Way I Feel” is a despondent track about feeling helpless in a crumbling relationship. This track is fairly poppy despite its depressing lyrics yet Soriano’s vocals are so powerful that you overlook the music.

X is a terse yet powerful statement from Nonpoint. This is a no-frills record with very little filler. The band has expanded its sound with a heavier thrash influence that adds depth to the music. Guitarists Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit can lay down some heavy riffs and shred, which makes the album a great listen. Elias’s vocals are still amazing after two decades and it is recognizable in this metal genre. Producer Fred Archambault did a great job recording every instrument. The guitar sound is thick yet clear and the bass is rumbling in the background.

Well, X is another notch in the belt for this storied band. Nonpoint fans should enjoy it and these tracks will certainly kick off some mosh pits at the band’s concerts. X shows that Nonpoint are not slowing down anytime soon.

Check out the band’s website for news and tour dates. 

CD Review: “Oblivion” by Crematory

Crematory return with its 14th album, Oblivion, a steely slab of death metal, goth and industrial. “The Expectation” is a short orchestral piece that commences the album and concludes with a short poem that introduces the band. “Salvation” is noted for its rigid riffing and mechanic groove. The choir samples and majestic chorus contrast with the unyielding riffs making it a solid track. Things pick up on “Ghost Of The Past” with its melody and gothic keyboards. The driving nature of this track fits the haunting lyrics of one suffering from past demons. “Wrong Side” stands out with its blend of electronica and gothic metal. Front man Felix Stass’s vocals vary from harsh whispers to a guttural yet decipherable register during the chorus. Things take an interesting turn on “For All Of Us” which opens with a nu-metal riff before kicking into a fast tempo beat accompanied by stringed samples. The cookie cutter aggro main riff is out of place on this track, slightly weakening this song. Things improve on the grooving “Immortal” with its use of digital samples and crunchy riffs. The title track instantly assaults the ear drums with a slow heavy riff and dissonant keyboards that transitions towards a electronic rocker with a thumping bass. It is one of the best tracks on the album and guitarists Rolf Munkes and Tosse Basler showcase their versatility as players.

Oblivion is an accessible record with an ample supply of guitar riffs and guttural lite vocals. The riffing is a bit too aggro at times, which is a slight disappointment as Crematory can play solid melodic death metal. However, keyboardist Katrin Jullich does not overdo the samples and provides a beautiful classical landscape that complements the heavier side of the band. This record is what you introduce to someone that has graduated from lighter goth metal but not quite ready for At The Gates and Dismember. The production is great as each instrument is audible and the symphonic samples are never drowned out.

Crematory rage on after forming 27 years ago. Oblivion is another hit in the band’s discography that should satisfy fans of the band and garner some new ones. It has some good songs that will be staples at the band’s concerts and a few that should garner airplay. Oblivion’s album title is misleading as neither the album or the band will be forgotten.

For news and tour dates check out the band’s website:

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CD Review: “Ascension Gate” by Dawn of Disease

German death metal quintet Dawn of Disease unleash its fourth album Ascension Gate only a year after its predecessor, Worship The Grave. Ascension is an amalgam of melodicism, brutal blast beats and melancholic doom riffs. The Swedish metal influence is apparent on “Perimortal” the album’s initial single. The sharp, baroque guitar riffs chop through the speakers like sabers while drummer Matthias Blasse pummels his kit with few moments to rest. “Leprous Thoughts” is a relentless thrasher with grinding riffs and pulverizing blast beats. The harmonious guitar solo contrasts perfectly with the brutal drumming and riffs on this track. “Ascension Gate” recalls Tales From A Thousand Lakes era Amorphis with its death meets doom metal sound. Tomasz Wisniewski’s guttural vocals match the haunting mood on this track, painting a picture of a gloomy night in the German countryside. A highlight is the eerie guitar line played before the track’s middle section. “Akephalos” is another crushing song that with buzzsaw guitars that could cut through a tank. The bombastic drumming only heightens the chaotic nature on this track.

Ascension Gate is an album pieced from several sub-genres. One cannot lump this record into the melodic death metal bin as there is too much going on during the album’s 50 minute duration. It is equal parts haute, classical bombast while also gloomy and downcast. Still, the band melds everything quite well and the record is not disjointed. The production is slightly muddled which detracts from the musicianship in some spots. However, it sounds superb when the band plays slow, heavy riffs. The percussion is loud and clear allowing the listener to hear all the rhythm changes and drum fills.

Dawn of Disease show its Scandinavian peers that German death metal is no joke on Ascension Gate. This record is both technical and pugnacious without overstaying its welcome. Fans of melodic death metal and even brutal death should enjoy this release. It does not have the finesse of Arch Enemy or Children of Bodom but it is certainly crushing. Dawn of Disease is poised to ascend to the heights of the metal realm with this record.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/DawnOfDisease/