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. 

Alter Bridge / Nonpoint – The Fillmore Silver Spring

You know those moments when you realize you underestimated the situation?  Those times when it clicks a little too late that you may not have taken all the factors into account.  Recently, I had the pleasure of a moment just like that – arriving to see Alter Bridge on “The Last Hero Tour,” supported by Nonpoint, at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on February 10, 2017.  As I exited the parking garage, with the venue just a block away, my eyes fell upon a line which stretched all the way down and around the corner…5 minutes after the venue doors had been scheduled to open.  Taking my place at the rear of the crowd, myself and others joked that we wouldn’t all be able to get in and would be turned away when we finally arrived to the door.  We inched forward in spurts, others still filing into line behind us, keeping the queue wrapped well to the opposite side of the block from the venue entrance.  I found out then that there was a band, Weapons Of Anew, scheduled to start playing at 7:20.  Halfway around the block and it was already 7:25.  By the time I made my way inside the concert hall it was about 7:50, with the first band finishing up their set and packing their equipment.  I’m not sure any photographer arrived in time to shoot that first set.  Needless to say, if the show wasn’t sold out it certainly felt like it!


Nonpoint:
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I’m a pretty recent Nonpoint listener.  I had heard of them for several years, but never gave them a listen until guitarist B.C. Kochmit joined the fold.  I followed his work with another fine band, Eye Empire, and knew his addition to this act would be something to witness.  If you’ve heard their latest album, The Poison Red, you know I’m not mistaken.  He brings talent to an already bustling band, infusing his sense of groove with their own.  The result is amazing!  While I wasn’t familiar with all the songs performed that evening, a few caught my ear.  Perhaps what astounded the audience most, outside of the band’s extremely energetic stage presence, was their rendition of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.”  Unexpected, to say the least.  The other thing that caught my attention was the consideration each of the members gave to their fans.  Towards the very beginning of their set, bassist Adam Woloszyn noticed two small children in the front row (right behind where I had planted myself to begin photographing) and handed them both a guitar pick, followed in turn by Kochmit, and a drumstick apiece from Robb Rivera.  The look of enthusiasm in those children’s eyes and the pleasure it brought to the band set the stage for the rest of their awesome set.


Alter Bridge:
 Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

I used to get made fun of by my friends because, while I didn’t find the entire catalog to be of interest, Creed had certain songs that really hit me.  I found that it was more the rhythm section that captured my interest than anything else.  So years ago, when I discovered that same rhythm section had gone on to form Alter Bridge, I was ecstatic to check them out.  Five albums later, I’d certainly glad I did.  This was my first time seeing the ensemble in concert, but boy, did they deliver!

Drawing on from the full power of their catalog, they reached all the way back to One Day Remains; then spent a good bit of time on Blackbird, including the lengthy title track; hit my favorite from AB III, “Ghost Of Days Gone By”; and made deserved stops on Fortress, answering the written request to play “Cry Of Achilles.”  Of course, given the nature of the tour, they wowed us with tracks from The Last Hero, opening their set with “The Writing Is On The Wall” and making room for “Show Me A Leader” during the encore.  What astounded me most though, was the guitar duel between Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti, as I hadn’t witnessed a full-on solo battle live for years.  I know I wasn’t the only one stunned by the ferocity of the playing, and everyone left that night feeling quite sated.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see either of these fine groups tear up a stage near you.

CD Review: ‘The Poison Red’ by Nonpoint

Nonpoint’s ninth record, The Poison Red, is a mix of old and new. The band’s signature heavy groove is abound, but the band does a bit of experimentation on this record. The choppy riffing on “Foaming At The Mouth” recalls early Helmet and totally contrasts with Elias insouciant rapping throughout the song. The band blends heavy crunch with a laidback groove making for a strong song. Things pick up on “Bottled Up Killer Bees” with its scratchy riffs that sound like bees crashing in a bottle. The shredding guitar lead on “Bottled” is a shining example of Nonpoint’s underrated musicianship. These guys can play more than the typical nu-metal riff and are not afraid to prove that. “Standing In The Flesh” is another heavy hitter. The stomping drumming drives this song forward while the riffs churn like whirlpool. This is another hit for the band and will certainly be a fan favorite on the band’s tours. The band makes a defiant statement on “Radio Chorus” as the group wants to to do what it wants without judgement and the constant pressure of conforming. “El Diablo” is another track sure to be another staple at Nonpoint shows. The band’s Latin influence takes center stage and is strengthened with a memorable chorus.

The key word on The Poison Red is diversity. The band does not play it safe and stretches its wings a bit on this record. No, Nonpoint does not deviate to much from its sound, but it switches things up enough to keep the listener’s ears perked. This is good as the band does not fall back on conventions and it also solidifies Nonpoint’s status as a band that makes music on its own terms. Not too many bands can boast of staying together for 20 years, but Nonpoint can.

In the end, Nonpoint can chalk up another victory. The Poison Red fits along just fine with the band’s discography. It is heavy, soft, angry, uplifting and introspective. Fans of the band should pick it up as should anyone that want an introduction to Nonpoint’s music.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://nonpoint.com/

CD Review: “The Return” by Nonpoint

Nonpoint is the machine that keeps on going. The group’s eighth album, appropriately titled The Return, is rife with the band’s signature no-nonsense riffing along with a few surprises. The opener “Pins and Needles” is a nice groove that switches gears in the middle to a full thrash attack. It is a nice surprise for a band not known for playing thrash. The heavy, but lush, “Razors” has one of the most infectious choruses in the band’s catalog. The pulsating, tribal rhythms of the title track keeps the song on the edge before it explodes. This track showcases a short, but sweet, Middle Eastern tinged lead. The serene, acoustic intro on “Widowmaker” offers a different side, rarely heard from the band. It shows that Nonpoint are more than a one trick pony and perhaps is a glimpse of the future.

The band almost misled me about the quality of this album by releasing the two weaker songs as singles. The generic sounding “Breaking Skin” and “Never Ending Hole” lack the punch often exhibited on past Nonpoint singles. These tracks may have been released for commercial airplay, but several songs on The Return are commercial without sacrificing musicianship. Still, this is a minor issue as the record as a whole outshines these two tracks. Production wise, the band sounds great as ever. Producer Johnny K, who produced the band’s last record, does not stray from the crisp, sharp production he is known for. The Return is not overproduced, nor does it sound too compressed.

The Return offers what you would expect from Nonpoint. The band has released consistent records over the past 17 years and does not deviate too much from its signature sound. Fans that enjoyed the group’s 2012 self-titled release will like The Return. Fans of extreme metal will avoid it or perhaps give it a listen or two. In the end, it is another strong release from the band and will excite fans around world.

For more of Nonpoint, visit their website at www.nonpoint.com