Nonpoint only becomes fiercer with each subsequent album. Their eighth full-length offering and second for Razor & Tie, The Return, is no exception either. After 17 years in the game, the Florida quintet sustains the same energy that sparked its foundation back in 1997. The riffs crack with neck-snapping intensity, the bass and drums forge an unmatched groove, and the vocals rapidly recount stories of pain and perseverance. The Return remains as raw, ripping, and real as these musicians—Elias Soriano [vocals], Robb Rivera [drums], Rasheed Thomas [guitar], Adam Woloszyn [bass], and B.C. Kochmit [guitar]—get.
In late 2013, Nonpoint closed out a year of touring behind 2012’s self-titled record, which yielded the Active Rock radio hit “Left For You.” Fueled by that continued success and their time on the road, they immediately began writing for album number eight. This time around, the band amped ups the aggression musically, while Elias drew inspiration from a whole new well altogether.
“I was listening to a lot of hip-hop,” he remembers. “When I finished listening to Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city, I felt like I knew the guy. That invigorated my creative flow. At the same time, Eminem does things lyrically and phonetically that challenge everybody on The Marshall Mathers LP 2. They both made some bold statements, and it gave me permission to go back in that direction. I wanted to play with vocal patterns and tell longer stories in some places, while saying very little in others. The record has its own DNA because each song respectively does as well.”
In February 2014, with this mindset, the guys entered Groovemaster Studios with Grammy Award-nominated producer Johnny K [Disturbed, Staind, Megadeth] and engineer Daniel Salcidoto. It marked their second collaboration together, and this time, the band had already amassed an arsenal of tight and tough material.
Robb goes on, “Johnny is like the sixth member of our band at this point! He works us, and he pulls no punches. It was such a natural thing that we only needed to track for three weeks. Johnny understands the band and what we are, and he encourages us to be ourselves.”
Not only does The Return match the pristine sonic power of Nonpoint, but the songs stand out as some of their catchiest and most crushing output to date. The first single “Breaking Skin” pierces with sharp and slick guitars before catapulting into a catchy chorus, punctuated by the vocalist’s punchy delivery.
“It’s about addiction, whether it be food, drugs, sex, lying, or anything,” explains Elias. “That tends to turn into an itch. You can’t stop scratching it so you break skin. Then, you’re bleeding. You need to get help at that point and deal with it.”
Robb adds, “’Breaking Skin’ is a different kind of song for us. There’s a lot of melody, but it’s still so heavy. That heaviness has always been in the back of our minds. It’s a natural direction for us. Most bands soften their sound as they go on. We get more aggressive and heavy. That’s what Nonpoint does best.”
Meanwhile, the record opens up with the taut thrashing of “Pins and Needles,” which Elias describes as “That moment where you say something very candid to an opposing party, and you know you’re going to get a reaction. You only want to retaliate, waiting to pounce.”
“Razors” cuts deep with a bludgeoning and brutal stomp, and the title track captures a strong and rather crucial message for the singer. He continues, “When you look back in your past, you always will find people who didn’t believe in what you were doing at the beginning. They end up coming around full circle later. Watching them come back is an interesting feeling. You can be a dick about it, or you can just be happy and live your life. That song is about opening the door and holding the proverbial slice of crow for them to eat high above your head.”
A vital energy has coursed through Nonpoint’s music since day one. As a result, they’ve sold over 800,000 albums in North America alone, yielding hits including “What A Day”, “Bullet With A Name”, and a cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”—which appeared in Miami Vice. They’ve also crisscrossed the country with everybody from Stone Sour, Disturbed, and Papa Roach to Sevendust, All That Remains, and Device, also appearing at festivals including OZZfest, Rock on the Range, and Summerfest.
Ultimately, Nonpoint once again delivers a cohesive collection of powerful songs. “I want everybody to feel like they got a complete record from beginning to end,” concludes Elias. “I want them to walk away with something substantial and true that they can hopefully come back to.”
Robb leaves off, “Nonpoint has always been known for writing songs that help people. If we can help even one person feel better about his or her day, we’ve done well, as far as I’m concerned. I hope everybody gets something positive and can walk away with a smile.”
Then they’ll return for more…