Album Review: NONPOINT The Poison Red
Now let's be blunt about this. Nonpoint is not typically the band we report on here. Our usual demographic searches for something more extreme than "metal" that borders on radio-centric hard rock. With that being said, I've had a hankering for the deeper end of metal since high school graduation, however I can also listen to a new Korn or Stone Sour album and genuinely claim that I enjoy it. There should be no shame in such an act. Alternative metal was likely the crossover for many who now appreciate the darker or more technical side of metal and therefore individuals who find pleasure in this classification of music as well as the bands themselves should not be automatically ostracized.
I would say my main goal in assessing this album is not to determine if it is suitable for the site's usual audience, but rather if Nonpoint has had the integrity to push past the shallow boundaries of the alternative/nu metal scene. Sometimes it's a good thing to take a step back from one's usual listening and view the progress of a band in a contextual lens in order to determine if the quality has aged well.
As many in the late 90's and early 2000's were popularized and pigeonholed by their singles, I think it's proper for us to start there. Rapped vocals, subtle chugs, and sing-along verses are all included on the edgy hit song checklist allowing "Generation Idiot" to be a contender for heavy rotation. While not confirmed as singles, the following two tracks were premiered pre-release of the album, which likely infers they will be chosen as further promotion. "El Diablo" provides a modern touch to the down-tuned nu metal guitar tone, but unlike most of the tracks on here, I find the chorus to be lackluster. On the other hand, "Divided.. Conquered Them" focuses on the vocal melodies rather than heavy riffs.
In total, there are fourteen songs contained with this 48-minute release and there could do with some trimming of the fat around the edges. Besides the tracks listed above, "My Last Dying Breath" and "No Running Allowed" are the only other pieces that have really stuck with me. After listening to the album fully a few times, I decided to skip through each song and click to random parts of the track. And lo and behold, each segment sounded pretty darn similar. This absence of diversity would be the best representation of my frustration towards the album. Ironically enough, the song "Radio Chorus" attempts to address this issue yet fails in changing my mind.
Another qualm I had with this record would be the lyrical content. It was very hit or miss ranging from cheesy cringe to semi-insightful. I understand that with the mainstream sensibilities of this kind of music, it is common to have cliches throughout the lyrics, but I see a lot of potential for expansion here. The social and political themes present had the capacity to take the material somewhere great, however ended undeveloped.
In the end, I'm not here to bash radio-friendly hard rock/metal. It clearly has its place and purpose. Yet, I don't feel that reason grants this style of music an automatic get of jail for free card. Nonpoint has sharpened their songwriting, melody, and edge, but lack the capability to fully capture my attention. While I enjoyed the singles and a few tracks here and there, the overall impact of the album was a tad predictable. All things considered, this is a pretty ok album for the audience it is designed for. Whether I like it or not, some of these songs get stuck in my head. The Poison Red will allow for a fair share of radioplay and mid-lineup festival positioning, however the group hasn't evolved enough after two decades to turn any new heads.