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Nonpoint

Nonpoint

For a band that has been together since 1997 and through the prerequisite membership changes, Nonpoint’s eighth studio album is a piece of angry, hard-hitting metal.


It may not deviate from the formula that the band has followed, but sometimes what you need is just a good cause of rock neck (from too much head banging, for those not in the know).


Its put-up-or-shut-up attitude is fresh in a stale, dry sonic landscape. It is not a fraud or anger built out of what is fashionable, very much like the bands that Nonpoint used to open for in the early 2000s.

The Sword

Apocryphon

Purely on an objective level, how is one supposed to take The Sword?


If you buy into the hype machine pushing the band, they are the return of rock/metal. If you listen to The Sword’s latest without knowing nothing of their canon of work, it comes across as Spinal Tap. Even knowing that the band lives in a sci-fi/fantasy realm, it comes down to a matter of whether you like that genre or not.


And that is where bias comes into play, this reviewer loathes sci-fi/fantasy, yet love “Star Trek” and “The Lord of the Rings” films.


If you like the idea of having a soundtrack to play “Skyrim” to, then this is your album. If you prefer your music to have a gritty foot in realism and one in a daydream ala a Christopher Nolan flick, then you will probably not like this. In fact, you may chuckle at the bad cliches that permeate the album. It recalls the worst of Iron Maiden or worse: Kiss.

How the hell did this album not get any promotion?


If I, who do this for a living, were not jonesing for a Tilly and the Wall fix after four years of nothing, hence did some digging to see what was going on with the band. Lo and behold, the group had an album schedule for October release.


How does a band that goes from playing “Sesame Street” get no promotion?


There is a fan base, I know as I’ve seen them. They exist.


Whatever.


The band is back and in the midst of a musical metamorphosis. Imagine “Beat Control,” a single with a few very club beat, and you have “Heavy Moods.”

Ok, that is an oversimplification of the album. It is better and more in-depth than that.


The band is definitely trying new studio techniques out. The tap dancing as drum line is still there, it is just predominantly pushed to the back or gone entirely. Don’t worry, it is there in full power on “Static Expression.”


The experimentation is attempting to take a new direction and grow, ok, but why the filters and whatnot on the vocals for most of the album? That would be the one mark against this release. They are not on every song, but the ones that they are you quickly question why hide good voices behind bells and whistles?



This will tide over your fix, plus leave you curious as to where the band takes this new direction.

Tilly and the Wall

Heavy Moods

Blue James Band

Give me the Love or Give me the Fight

Tilly and the Wall

Heavy Moods

Stick with the scenario it pays off.


Visualize two buses. One is driven by Jimmy Buffet and filled with Parrot-heads. It is driving east. The other bus is driven by Dave Matthews and full of his followers. It is headed west.


On the same road. A one-way road. At the same time.


Brings images of those two semi-trucks accordioning into each other in “The Matrix: Reloaded,” doesn’t it?


The amalgamation would be the Blue James Band. You get a decidedly tropical theme with the vocal phrasing of Matthews.


Which is a great idea if you are fans of either genre.


“Give Me Love or Give Me the Fight” is the perfect soundtrack to a beach party. It defines that musical scene very well. It would, also, be at home on a cruise ship. To the extreme, it could be seen used ironically in a Tarrantino movie.


If you have that sunny disposition and believe of cheeseburgers in paradise that can be had at any time of day because it is five o’clock somewhere, this is the CD for you.


(If you are at all of a cynical nature, you best skip this LP.)

More new reviews coming on Monday in part two of an on-going series.