X is, unsurprisingly, the 10th album from Florida metal veterans Nonpoint, and yet outside of the US they have flown under the radar somewhat. Formed in 1997 Nonpoint have achieved more success in their homeland without ever quite becoming a household name, despite Ozzfest appearances, successful singles and various tracks appearing on WWE soundtracks. However trends in music are cyclical and the nu-metal bands that were for so long pariahs within the scene are starting to gain some credibility again, and more and more new bands are adapting the sound for the next generation. Perhaps 21 years into their career Nonpoint’s time is now?
In truth though it takes quite a leap of faith to imagine that this solid, yet unspectacular set of songs will really push them beyond where they already are. Tracks like ‘Chaos and Earthquakes’ and ‘Passive Aggressive’ blend hard-edged rap metal with more melodic, clean-sung choruses and they do so with consummate ease. Too often, however, the choruses don’t stick in your head and the music is functional rather than inspirational.
That’s not to say that the album is bad, there is certainly enough energy and passion to fuel the mosh pit, the rhymes are spat with conviction and there are musical flourishes that enliven the tracks beyond the generic. It just sometimes seems that they try a little too hard to be in your face when in truth their best moments come when they play with more restraint. The juxtaposition of violent lyrics and melodic hard rock on ‘Feel The Way I Feel’ provides the album with one of its most intriguing and original songs. At other times they have an almost ambient, electronic vibe that recalls classic Linkin Park. These moments show that vocalist Elias Soriano has much more about him than your average rap-rocker. There are even hints that he could do full on smooth R&B if he so desired and while it might not go down well with the metal faithful it would have been nice to hear him explore the soulfulness in his voice a little more. For too much of this album it feels like Nonpoint are unwilling or unable to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
Sadly, the glimpses of something exciting are too often drowned out by the more generic heavier passages which struggle to stand out from the crowd. This is a real shame because you do get the feeling there is an untapped potential within the album, and if the band could just unlock it this really could be a beast of record, but for some reason it doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Again this is by no means a bad album, it’s just unlikely to really provoke much of an emotional response, either good or bad. It’s the opposite of Marmite, you won’t love it but nor will you hate it, and to really make an impression in music you need people to do one or the other or both. Nonpoint just don’t quite manage it, perhaps their time is still to come?
Chaos and Eathquakes
Dodge Your Destiny
Whell Against Will
Feel The Way I Feel
Elias Soriano – Lead vocals
Robb Rivera – Drums
Rasheed Thomas – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Adam Woloszyn – Bass
B.C. Kochmit – Lead guitar, backing vocals
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