The Poison Red
Whatever your thoughts on the whole nu-metal movement, there were a few acts who always felt they were reaching for a bit more than just recycled thrash riffs and teen angst. While they never reached the heights of groups like Korn or Slipknot, Florida’s Nonpoint were certainly one of a handful of groups lumped into the movement that felt different. Much like Sevendust, Nonpoint’s groove metal/hard rock hybrid was much more musical (and ages much better) than their peers. Hell, albums like Development and Recoil were some of the best albums of the nu-metal era. For better or worse, Nonpoint has pushed on through their almost two-decade career, even if some of their later output didn’t quite measure up to their aforementioned pinnacle.
The Poison Red is their ninth album overall and first for Spinefarm Records, and it’s better than any hard rock album in 2016 has a right to be. Vocalist Elias Soriano was always a better lyricist than most of his nu-metal brethren (not saying much, sure), and his considerable righteous anger finds a great well to draw from living in modern America. The album touches on racism, our dependence on technology, the multitude of deceivers in the world, as well as Elias’ thoughts on the need to have a radio chorus.
As with the lyrical diversity, Nonpoint really pushed themselves musically here. Sure, their signature groove is on fine display throughout, but each of these songs has a distinct voice, and songs use blues, thrash, southern metal, and, of course, Latin flourishes to great effect. “El Diablo” is a quintessential Nonpoint song, in the vein of Recoil’s “Rabia”, albeit with a more refined tempo and a fantastic hook. Elias has the irritating tendency to prefer his raspier voice, but “El Diablo” showcases how strong his actual singing voice is when he lets it out.
Overall, sure, you can pick at some minor issues associated with a hard rock/nu-metal album in 2016, and while that will get you some internet points on certain blogs, it feels cheap. The Poison Red is a really fun album that harnesses the right amount of anger, mixing it in with shout-a-long choruses and meaty riffs. Songs like “No Running Allowed” and “Divided Conquer Them” are some of the strongest the band has penned to date. This album is worthwhile because it contains lyrical and musical substance in spades. Ignore the genre tag and enjoy this gem. (Nicholas Senior)