“You made an addict out of me without even knowing”
If you haven’t heard of Nonpoint, you probably weren’t a part of the early 2000s rock music scene – meaning you missed out on something truly spectacular. But this isn’t the time to educate you on rock culture or make you regret not following music in 2003. Instead, I’ll simply introduce you to one of the time period’s fiercest bands. Nonpoint are back and out for blood, with a sound that’s more ferocious than ever. If they once paled in comparison to their counterparts, those days are long gone, and the proof comes in the form of their latest and greatest effort, The Return.
You’ll get started with a typical rock sound that forms the intro of “Pins and Needles”. But give it a minute, and you’ll be thrust into the overly aggressive mood you know Nonpoint for. The heavy riffs and angry vocals incorporate just enough melodious radio rock to make it ultimately listenable while still encouraging you to mosh until you pass out…or lose a limb. And speaking of the vocal talent displayed on the song, there’s nothing like the extended, bellowing solo that shows us we didn’t really know what frontman Elias Soriano could do in the past. A guitar riff that would make Avenged Sevenfold proud tops off the song and seals it with a blood-stained kiss.
After “Pins and Needles” finds its end, radio single “Breaking Skin” discovers its beginning. It’s a chart topper if you’ve ever heard one, with a distant, underwater feel coloring its two minutes and fifty-four seconds. There’s more melody incorporated, and the backing vocals serve to take it further into radio rock territory. Something must also be said about the less intense third verse that sets the stage for a quick-paced, rap-like vocal delivery.
The warped effect and slow grunge edge of “Razors” leads into “Misery,” a song that starts right in with rapid vocals, then breaks into an absolutely crushing guitar. Before each chorus, the vocals get distant before returning to their hasty style–a change of pace that’ll keep you from growing tired of the song. Think a new age version of 90s Godsmack, with a vocal intensity to bow down to.
“The Return” is a tense heavyweight, while “Take Apart This World” moves with an interesting beat. “Forcing Hands” sounds like Shinedown at their heaviest, then turns into the gradual build of “Goodbye Letters”. Winding guitar leads and boundless innovation are the song’s status quo, and it makes for a nice predecessor to one of the album’s most ferocious tracks. Meanwhile, “Never Ending Hole” brings to mind the hostility of Pop Evil’s most insane songs. Its gnarly sound and pure, unadulterated emotion make it a clear choice for the band’s next radio single.
The long, Latin-flavored guitar solo of “Widowmaker” finds itself transformed into the same rock you’ve been hearing all along. “Never Cared Before” has both a speedy guitar and drum to give you severe whiplash. Screaming vocals in the background add to the fierceness of the foreground, and the song comes out sounding like something Serj Tankian would sign his name to.
Because every rock band must have at least one song with a censored title, “F**k’d” takes its place in the spotlight next. A song that perfectly captures the feeling of being pissed off at the world, it comes and goes in a storm of anger.
Finally, things wrap up with the genuine rock sound of “Know Myself” . A softer vocal approach lets drummer Robb Rivera take the spotlight, and the result is a much less menacing track. An album with as much audacity as this one can afford a lighter impact upon its closer, meaning no points are lost by The Return‘s last words. The only thing left to do is sit back, take a breath, and start all over again.
Skip It/Stream It/Buy It: Buy it. This much ferocity deserves a place in your collection.