Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mudvayne members work their magic on Nonpoint's latest release. Hellyeah!

Released in the U.S. last May, Miracle was unleashed on Australian audiences just this February as Nonpoint was gearing up to play the Soundwave Festival. For this newest album, Nonpoint has turned to Mudvayne and Hellyeah singer Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett to handle production duties. This team of Gray and Tribbett have heavily influenced Nonpoint to create a sound that is both unmistakable and undeniable.

Title track and lead single, "Miracle”, which features Gray as a guest vocalist, is lyrically about conflict and the "opponent" needing a miracle to save him from the fight. However, listeners wouldn't know this in the vocals, as Chad Gray and Nonpoint vocalist Elias Soriano sing together seamlessly--especially during the infectiously singable chorus. The opening riffs are pure no-nonsense hard rock, but the bridge leads back to Nonpoint's earlier nu-metal style.

"Frontlines”, which has been released as a single in The States, evokes an image of a battle. The steady beat that sneaks up in the song immediately takes listeners into a war--a violent inner struggle. This track begins slowly, with the vocals and guitars more delicate, but it gets more aggressive and intense as the battle goes on into the chorus.

While Miracle never completely slows down, it dabbles in some romance with "What You've Got for Me”. This song definitely isn't a ballad--the driving beat and bass line make that evident--but the chorus of "I wanna feel you, taste you, touch you”, is unbelievably sexy and shows a completely different side of Nonpoint's lyrics.

No stranger to cover songs, Nonpoint tackles Pantera's "5 Minutes Alone" on Miracle. On this track, the band's new guitarist Zach Broderick not only has to fill the shoes of his predecessor Andrew Goldman, he has to channel the "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. He does very well achieving the former, but since few guitarists are as god-like as Dime, vocalist Soriano steps up to the plate to make this song as good as it is. The attitude of the frontman becomes the focus of the song for Nonpoint. Every time I listen to their take of "5 Minutes Alone”, I imagine a dynamic singer taking charge of a stage and completely owning a crowd of thousands with his swagger.

Closing out Miracle is the catchy "Lucky #13”. It's full of rock star attitude in its music and lyrics alike. This song is basically about being a Hell-raising maniac, and the lyrics contain imagery of a madman at the wheel of a dangerously fast car. The screaming guitar solo is quite impressive and a nice added bonus to such an overall fun song. When this song is over, don't think the fun stops there. There's a hidden track you don't want to miss!

Miracle is a solid album, and a huge part of its sound and feel was definitely cultivated by producers Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne and Hellyeah. The record sounds like a more laid back, but still emotionally intense, version of something either of those bands would put out. Hellyeah's Stampede was one of my favourite albums of last year, and it is a great model for what hard rock should sound like--and the attitude it should convey--in this day and age. Nonpoint picked great producers who have really helped shape their sound and let them evolve from a nearly 15-year-old nu-metal band to a good hard rock band with wider appeal.

7 1/2 out of 10 stars

Warner Music Australia/Riot Entertainment

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