The Poison Red review by Nonpoint

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  • Released: Jul 8, 2016
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.9 (7 votes)
Nonpoint: The Poison Red
2

Sound — 7
Nu-metal is a style that has seen somewhat of a resurgence from a few modern bands like Issues and Emmure, and there are times where the modern metalcore scene seems to be on the verge to reintroducing the style, but what of the bands that have been around doing it for years? Well, aside from the few obvious bands (Korn, Bizkit, Evanescence) that are still around, Florida nu-metal band Nonpoint, have actually managed to keep a career going fairly continuously since the 1990s, despite mostly staying under the radar of the mainstream.

Throughout their career, Nonpoint have always felt slightly more sophisticated on a musical level than many of their alt-metal and nu-metal peers, often featuring more melodic vocal hooks, deeper vocal harmonies, more intricate guitar licks (including guitar solos, which have always been kind of an omission from nu-metal), and a little bit more variety in tempo and feel. "The Poison Red" continues this trend, with original vocalist Elias Soriano crooning his way through many of the songs, often relying on a very raspy-but-melodic voice. Guitarists Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit (recent additions from 2011 and 2014, respectively), play a plethora of tight riffs and lead parts, with B.C. playing many solos, which for a nu-metal record, are actually quite excellent. Nearly every song has a solo on it, an oddity for the genre. There is some variety when it comes to the individual songs on the record, with tracks like "Generation Idiot" feeling very riff-oriented and heavy, and tracks like "Be Enough" having a much more groove-oriented sound that is almost slightly progressive. Drummer Robb Rivera (one of two original members, along with Elias) and bassist Adam Woloszyn groove quite well throughout the album, as well.

On the other hand, while the performances are good, and the songs have a bit of variety to them, I can't help but feel that this album sounds *incredibly* dated. And not in an endearing way like many classic rock artists, or in a nostalgic manner that suggest an homage like many current artists aping blues and psychedelic rock. It just sounds like a bit of a dinosaur reminding us of decades long past (has it really been almost 20 years since this band's debut!?) and it does feel like a band like this has done little in the way of progression in their fairly lengthy career. As such, some of the songs get kind of plodding and mired down in nu-metal cliches, which isn't really a bad thing if your taste in music hasn't evolved since the mid-'90s, but it did kind of feel like I had flipped to a couple of really bad videos on Much Music while listening to this record.

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As well, the "outro" sort of thing at the end of album closer "My Last Dying Breath" was... ill-advised. I realize these kind of "humourous" spoken word outros are kind of a tradition on nu-metal albums but this was the most cringe-worthy thing I've listened to in a very long time, and it really just felt like it was tacked on pointlessly and absolutely came close to completely ruining the album for me.

The production is not bad, not great either, but I've heard worse production on albums than this. The bass does tend to blend in with the drums a bit too much for my tastes, but otherwise there isn't really anything wrong with the production.

Lyrics — 6
Just like with the music, nu-metal lyrics are often a breeding ground for tired cliches, and despite Nonpoint's more sophisticated approach to the genre, they are no exception to the rule. Sensory overload and personal disconnection from the internet has been a running protest in almost every mainstream metal band's songs for the past several years now, and first single and album opener "Generation Idiot" exemplifies this trope to a T: "There isn't a better addiction than letting it out/Without a filter attached to the mouth/I got 99,000 problems with their very own problems/Once upon a time people talked to people/people didn't text, what's coming next?" Many of the rest of the songs focus on your absolutely predictable metal lyric content: the devaluation of art and music, politics, personal demons (including bad relationships, addictions, that sort of thing), and just nothing that we haven't heard in mainstream metal lyrics a thousand times before. In this day and age where most genres of music have lyrical themes this homogenized, it takes a lot to genuinely impress me with lyrics, and this record, while admirable, doesn't go out of its way to do so. And then when you get to lyrics like "Fuck a radio chorus/I wanna see blood for once without the judgements/Fuck a radio chorus/I wanna say what I want without you judging me," from the song "Radio Chorus," in one of the album's most hooky earworms of a chorus, you almost can't help but just not take this band seriously. And it would have been great if the song was dripping with sarcasm much like Korn's quite similar "Y'All Want a Single?," but the fact that this band actually seems to take itself quite seriously for the most part makes a lyrical cliche like this quite confusing.

However, Elias' skill as a vocalist does make up a bit for some lackluster lyrical cliches, as his voice is one of the most appealing aspects of this band's sound. His softer voice croons along quite ably through the lighter parts of the record, and when he puts more power into it, his raspier "gruff" singing voice is actually quite good. Absolutely no complaints about the singing on this record, and there are lots of great vocal parts, harmonies, and background hooks that'll keep you interested as a listener.

Overall Impression — 7
Despite such an old, tired musical sound full of desparate cliches, Nonpoint does make a pretty convincing case for nu-metal having some positive, redeeming traits. The musicianship of this band is actually quite good, putting them above a lot of sort of second-rate bubbling-under nu-metal acts from their day. And the fact that, unlike a lot of those nu-metal bands that hadn't been graced with huge mainstream successes, Nonpoint has actually maintained a pretty solid career track without breaking up or going on a huge hiatus, and have been releasing fairly consistent records throughout, makes it so that these guys have a very solid sound that's been finely honed from years of keeping it together. If you wax nostalgic for the days when nu-metal was still quite new and raw and heavy, this album will definitely appeal to you. Otherwise, it's good for a listen or two, but is probably not an album I'll be seeing heavily in my rotation. The opening track "Generation Idiot" is probably the best song on the album, just because it has a really interesting lead guitar part and is a good, powerful opening track, but to be honest, it isn't really a big standout track, and I don't think this album really has one. For all the variety on the record, the whole nu-metal thing does feel so homogenized that it can be pretty hard to pick out something extremely good from a small batch of songs. And one thing that I think would have dramatically improved this album's rating would be to remove that awful closing "hidden track" of sorts. It's just a good thing that it's at the very end of the album, so if you still buy this on CD and pop it in your Discman (and of course you still own a Discman, you Korn-loving '90s kid, you!), you can at least take comfort in the fact that once the final song actually ends, you can just pop the disc out and never have to listen to that strange, awful turd that closes the record.

All in all, though, this record, cliches and all, isn't all that bad. You're probably not going to lose yourself in it unless you're already a huge Nonpoint fan, but the songs are good for a listen and there's a lot of good riffs and solos to like on the album. The singing is probably the least offensive style in the genre, hands-down. And when this band gets into a good groove, it really is something special. Definitely worth checking out.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HugoPan
    this doesn't sound bad at all. i'm quite surprised actually.
    travislausch
    Oh definitely. As much as I'm pointing out the negatives (it is a review, after all), the music's really not bad at all.
    vppark2
    Wish I could still get into these guys like before. I did enjoy most of the new Chevelle album at least. Also, I'm curious to know what people think of some of the other newer nu-metal bands (Islander, Sylar, My Ticket Home, Gift Giver, and Sworn In). Tbh, I'm not into any of them..
    BwareDWare94
    Islander blows. They're terrible live and concert-goers can't even discern different notes. It's like a wall of chugging bullshit. I'm not familiar with the others, but my handful of experiences with Islander were terrible.
    mysticguitar77
    I've seen them live twice and they sounded fine both times, not far off from the record. Ear plugs get rid of that wall of sound and makes the music much more clear and discernible especially bands that play louder than average which Islander does. Without them, I don't know how anybody discerns any notes at a concert to be honest.
    vppark2
    Do you like their in studio music? I like their new song, Bad Guy, but that's it. Nice to see they got Avenged Sevenfold's old drummer.
    mysticguitar77
    Love Islander, they're like a perfect mesh of Deftones and P.O.D. The new My Ticket Home is a'ight, but the others are pretty terrible IMO and they don't sound very nu-metal to me, just very generic hardcore/metalcore. But regardless, it's nice to see a genre get new life breathed into it with new artists delving into its style, not to mention a lot of the original nu-metal bands are still around and a lot of them are getting back together and putting out new stuff. It's certainly not a dead genre, it's just evolved. I don't really even consider Nonpoint a nu-metal band anymore, they've gone more the Sevendust route and have become a more alt-metal/hard rock band over the years especially from Miracle-onwards. This new stuff sounds nothing like Statement or Recoil but it's still pretty awesome.
    banerjee.ushnish
    I havent heard of these guys since like 2002, when I heard this song called "Your signs" or something like that. Nu-metal was a long long time ago and features nowhere in what I currently listen to. Only band that was classified nu-metal back then I still listen to is Deftones, but I dont think they were ever nu-metal at all. Theyre a genre in themselves.
    Jimasaurus
    I thought this was a pretty good album. Not nearly as good as their early albums, but still very good. My favorite track is probably "Divided.. Conquer Them". It has some really nice riffs and a pretty good solo. Plus the bass is really great on that one.
    an.interloper
    I can't imagine how someone calls Nonpoint Nu-Metal at this point, and this album specifically. It's just a metal album. I don't figure the band to be Nu-Metal any more than I figure Sevendust to be at this point. Not that there was anything wrong with the genre- I loved it to and through (save for all the labels shamelessly signing up anyone that sounded like an established band in the genre). But this is definitely not that genre anymore.
    mlukeroberts222
    Sorry dude, but this is as "NU-Metal" as it gets…to lump Nonpoint in with F*CKING SLAYER is embarrassing
    an.interloper
    Yeah, you're right - it is embarrassing. Who would want to be lumped in with a band that's written the same album over and over for 30 years? However, my personal opinions of Slayer aside, if you take a minute to offer yourself a non-biased look at what comprised nu-metal, then compare it to this album, you're going to see that it's not an issue with a genre that makes you dissatisfied with the album, but that you just don't like the album, which is fine. Because as of right now, the only thing this album has in common with nu-metal is lower tuning, which is also attributed to bands like Tesseract and Dream Theater - does this mean you also consider them nu-metal?
    JimBonJovi
    In a world full of EDM and cookie cutter pop songs, this album is refreshing as fuck. I can also relate to 'Generation Idiot' immensely. Living without a cellphone is the most freeing thing one can do these days. P.S. The album cover is beautiful.
    vppark2
    You seriously don't have one, but use the Internet? Hahaha damn man..
    JimBonJovi
    Honestly, I don't. I can't tell you how many times people say something to the effect of what you just said. I have an ipod for which I use to listen to my music but apart from that, I'm perpetually living in the late 90's. And I love it. lol
    mysticguitar77
    Alternative metal is not the same as nu-metal, Nonpoint's newer releases certainly do not fall into the nu-metal category anymore, they've become much more of an alternative metal/hard rock band as did many of the original nu-metal bands from the early 2000's (Disturbed, Sevendust, Papa Roach, Godsmack, etc.). Especially from Miracle-onwards, Nonpoint's changed their tune drastically. It's frustrating how people constantly confuse the two (including this reviewer), but at the same time, it's understandable. True nu-metal are bands like 40 Below Summer, 3rd Strike, Snot, Spineshank, early Deftones, early Papa Roach, early Linkin Park, early Korn, early Slipknot, Reveille, Element Eighty, Mushroomhead, Limp Bizkit, etc. If you listen to these bands and then pop in a recent Nonpoint or Sevendust album, you'll hear the difference right away and that's the difference between nu-metal and alt-metal.