Last updated: 04/17/2012 12:00:00 PM
Elias Soriano- vocals, Andrew Goldman - guitar, Robb Rivera- drums, KB - bass.
Brace yourself for Nonpoint. Crushing, devastating, hypnotic and brutal, this south Florida quartet is the newest ? and likeliest ? contender for the metal throne. Three years of bashing around the state?s seediest establishments has garnered Nonpoint a massive regional following, all under the radar of the glitzy Miami dance scene. Nonpoint's fans have come out of the woodwork to support a new kind of metal, and it's not about sunny South Beach pomposity. It is, in fact, the opposite. Now it's time for the rest of the world to catch up, as the 1000 metric tons of Audio Visual abuse known as Nonpoint releases its debut MCA album, Statement. In the album's twelve tracks, Nonpoint indeed makes a definitive Statement that the outer boundaries of metal have at last been surveyed.
"No frills... what you see is what you get," says drummer Robb Rivera when asked to describe Nonpoint_s music. Produced by Jason Bieler Statement culminates a musical evolution for the band. "These songs represent the three years we've been together," adds Elias Soriano, the band's ferocious frontman, vocalist, and chief lyricist. Along those lines, Statement covers a good deal of adventurous musical ground, while always remaining relentlessly hardcore.
The album begins with "Mindtrip," a declaration of the band's intentions ("You're about to take a mindtrip/so get your ticket stamped/pack you're thoughts up/ and set your self to rant and rave"). "Victim" sustains the intensity with Andrew Goldman's savage guitar and Soriano's tightrope walk between full-throttle metal and hypertensive rap. "Endure" is, says Soriano, "about getting signed, about dealing with adversity," while the scorching "Back Up" proves that Nonpoint never drops its guard. "What A Day" chronicles one of those days ("I was in my storytelling mode," notes Soriano. "I'd had a bad day, and was wondering what could make it worse"). "Mislead" boasts a spiraling helix of wrenching guitar lines, while the seven-minute composition "Double Stacked" is a bitter suite reflecting the band's affinity for the techno/rave scene.
Being that two band members ? Soriano and Rivera ? are of Puerto Rican descent, the song "Orgullo" (Spanish for "pride" and sung en español) should come as no surprise. Says Soriano, "You can tell Robb is Latin from his beats. His does a lot of old school hard beats, but once in a while there's a little salsa thrown in. It's more of an attitude that comes through in the band." It just proves headbanging is truly the universal language. Nonpoint takes no prisoners on tracks like the dramatic "Years," "Levels," and the rhythmically complex "Hive" showcase Nonpoint's solid melodic foundation, the latter track being a salute to the warriors in the Nonpoint mosh pits. "Tribute," the album's closer, features Grimm (of Darwin's Waiting Room) in a towering twin rap battle with Elias.
Not that anyone would mistake this band for some sort of trip-hop hybrid. For all it's intricate musicality, Nonpoint is unalloyed kick-your teeth-in rock. Their origins go back several years to Puerto Rico, where New York-native Robb Rivera first formed and led a band called Nonpoint Factor. The rock en español movement had already begun in earnest, but Robb wasn't satisfied with what he could accomplish on the island. He moved to Florida hoping to put together his own metal dream team. Enter New Jersey native Elias Soriano, who spent his adolescence in Ft. Lauderdale, having attended high school there. After attending a concert by Puya, the highly popular Puerto Rican rock band, Elias "fell in love with the music."
From there, he landed an audition with Rivera and was added to the line-up on the spot. By 1997, KB and Andrew, both then members of the Florida band Fuse, were added as well. Bluesy and sonically bombastic, Andrew was a gifted guitar master, while KB ? a cross between Les Claypool and a WWF superstar -- was equally adept, inspired as he was by the late great bass visionary Jaco Pastorious. Together, they made a cohesive unit that quickly found favor on Florida's club circuit. Later in 1997 they released their premiere indie CD Separate Yourself, which became a regional best-seller. By the time major labels came courting, Nonpoint routinely sold out large venues, claiming one of the most rabid followings in the southeast. With thousands of South Florida fans going ballistic, there was no longer room for doubt, and when the dust settled, Nonpoint signed with MCA.
All along, the members of Nonpoint have had one mission in mind: expand the base. "We're constantly converting people," says Elias. "Our live shows are pure chaos: screaming kids with smiles on their faces, non-stop crowd surfing. We have a great relationship with our fans."
Once Statement begins making the rounds, they'd better make room for a lot more of them.