Even during the late 90’s/early 00’s, even when the numerous musical movements they were associated with – including nu metal, post-grunge or alt-metal – were being championed by certain heavy music publications, Florida’s Nonpoint never quite cracked the big time.
A decade on and the heavy music landscape has dramatically shifted, but the band, unlike many from that era has modernised their sound somewhat (for example, incorporating guitar solos) but not eliminated their core values. The key difference between Nonpoint and many of the hard rock stragglers from the same era who have persevered following industry changes is Miracle is considerably more convincing and motivated, and therefore doesn’t sound as awfully dated as say, Ill Nino or Taproot.
On album number six, the quartet doesn’t stray too far from the well-trodden, accessible formula, but there are adequate hooks, vitality and energy to ensure both long-time fans and newcomers have something to latch on to. Some mediocre lyrics (The refrain of “You need a miracle/Something better save you/Before something happens to you”, detracting from the otherwise infectious title track, featuring Mudvayne’s Chad Gray), a few bland tunes, the odd throwaway riff and unnecessary hidden track aside, fans of the style will get their fill. The groove-laden chug of ‘Crazy’, ‘What I’ve Become’ and Tool-inflected ‘Electricity’ feature the staple elements American rock radio demands – most notably huge, if straightforward choruses. What the Pantera-infused ‘Lucky #13’ lacks in a knockout chorus it almost compensates for in bluster, while ‘What You’ve Got For Me’ probably should have been left on the nu metal scrapheap.
On the topic of Pantera, as bassist Ken McMillan explained in a recent interview with Loud, their cover of ‘5 Minutes Alone’ – particularly vocalist Elias Soriano’s vocal performance – has already divided fans. Soriano steers clear of Phil Anselmo’s gruff bark in favour of a more tuneful, less aggressive delivery. Otherwise, they’re largely faithful. Many Pantera fans have voiced their displeasure; it certainly lacks much of the original’s fire, but at the very least, credit is due for putting their own spin on it, rather than merely recording it completely by rote.
It’s difficult to envision Nonpoint suddenly becoming megastars following this album (which is only now getting an Australian release, the best part of a year after dropping in most other countries), but Miracle ought to build on the momentum the band has established during their Soundwave Festival run.
5. Looking Away
7. What You’ve Got For Me
8. Throwing Stones
9. 5 Minutes Alone
10. What I’ve Become
11. Dangerous Waters
12. Lucky #13