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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Nonpoint

Statement

Review by Mike Korn

Make no mistake about it, I do not like the vast majority of rap metal clogging up the CD racks these days. It's full of prancing posers who all look and talk the same and are all churning out interchangeable material with little originality or musical talent. Most of it is trend-hopping, pure and simple. BUT! There are exceptions to this rule. Nonpoint are happily one of these exceptions. Sure, their new record "Statement" features plenty of that homeboy angst communicated through rapping streetwise lyrics, but a few listens will show you that there's something more to what these guys are doing. The songs here all have individuality, they have genuine catchiness based on strong hooks and melodies and they all have real metallic crunch. While not totally successful on every track, Nonpoint does try to mix things up and the result is a record that really grows on you the more you listen to it.

One of the keys is vocalist Elias Soriano, who actually sings, instead of just blabbering out rapid-fire raps (though he does that,too). Another strong point is the excellent clear production of Jason Bieler, which makes damn sure that Nonpoint is a metal band above all else. I'll still take classic heavy metal anyday over the homeboy stuff, but Nonpoint have definitely got something going on here that's worth checking out. For a major label debut, this is real promising stuff. My only fear is that it will get swept away with all the lesser nu-metal bands when the inevitable "house-cleaning" in this genre occurs. There's something going down here which is just a little bit more deserving than Limp Bizkit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Mindtrip
"Mindtrip" hammers it out right away with a pounding riff backed by Soriano's machine-gun vocals. It slows down into a more groovy, almost psychedelic pattern. This cut already demonstrates we're dealing with a many-faceted band.
Victim
The riff on this is so old it should have a long white beard but Nonpoint bashes into it with a lot of aggression. This cut is a basic and sturdy groove metal attack.
Endure
The band's taste for strong melodies surfaces here. The track mixes very tasteful, melodic verses with crunching choruses. It is a mixture of alternative, metal and near fusion.
Back Up
Pretty typical tough guy rap metal, this is angry but not too special. A closer look at the lyrics reveals that they are actually speaking against the macho street gang mentality.
What A Day
Soriano's almost scat style vocals relate a weird stream of consciousness tale of a real bad day. This is a jittery, nervous sounding track.
Misled
One of the best cuts, cool, almost power metal chords lead into a great pounding metal riff which the vocals compliment marvelously. Soriano shines on the melodic chorus.
Double Stakked
This too-lengthy song starts as a crunchy metal burner but then cools way down into a very, very mellow and jazzy section with bluesy guitar. It's cool at first but the mellow bit lasts too long and a minute could have been cut out at no expense.
Orgullo
Sung entirely in Espanol, this is one of the purest metal tracks on the record. It is a good headbanger, full of punchy riffs.
Years
Like "Endure", this blends metal with a more alternative approach, but it is not quite as successfully. It is an average tune.
Hive
All-out blasting metal attack, not quite pure thrash but not that far off, either. It includes plenty of good riffs, including some great mid-paced chords underneath the solo. It must be a killer track live.
Levels
This starts with a neat funky riff, then goes into a hard alternative mode and finally escalates to pure metal. You can really tell that these guys are trying to craft songs with some memorability and originality to them.
Tribute
Of course, in this day and age, we have to keep our "street creed" going, so here we have a cover medley of three pure rap songs, "Children's Story", "Woo Hah! Keep It In Check!"(I'll bet that one's real deep) and "Method Man". Well, it's not too bad the first time you hear it but I find their original material like "Misled" and "Hive" to be much superior.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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