Nonpoint
"X"

(Spinefarm)

01. Empty Batteries
02. Chaos and Earthquakes
03. Fix This
04. Crashing
05. Passive Aggressive
06. Dodge Your Destiny
07. Wheel Against Will
08. Milestone
09. Feel the Way I Feel
10. Position One

RATING: 7.5/10

Taking nearly a year sabbatical following the touring cycle for its prior album, "The Poison Red", NONPOINT apparently needed the break. Considering it's released new material just about every other year, the group was due a break. That being said, recruiting AVENGED SEVENFOLD/ATREYU producer Fred Archambault to oversee the band's tenth album, "X", NONPOINT seized its regeneration by pounding out ten tracks in only 22 days.

Pinpointing the title of the lead song, "Empty Batteries", NONPOINT makes the most of its recharge. Though the track offers little new other than the usual melodic proto core NONPOINT have long served to its fans, there's urgency to the strumming and the song's dense projection. Even the breakdown flexes with a pump instead of merely bridging.

Elias Soriano's huff-raps on "Chaos and Earthquakes" will stoke the band's fans as they will the tune's tough guy skulk and B.C. Kochmit's clanging guitar solo. "Fix This" rings a hair of LINKIN PARK, and despite the predictable chord patterns and equally conventional breakdown, Adam Woloszyn's knotty bass line and the reverberating guitar lasers dress up what would've been a pedestrian number. Outcroppings of chunky riffs and dense fills on "Crashing" and "Passive Aggressive" likewise lift them from triviality.

It's too bad NONPOINT plays to its script following a blazing shred fest intro to "Dodge Your Destiny", but to the plus, the song is burly, and a shrewd splash of salsa is spread over the breakdown to keep listeners on their toes. The best riffs of the album are whacked throughout "Wheel Against Will", while Adam Woloszyn dials up "X"'s sickest bass grooves for the rap-scat of "Milestone", the tune itself borrowing from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE.

Carrying its own veteran card, it's impressive that NONPOINT embraces what Fred Archambault pulls from them, engineering a thick and loud energy to augment the band's standard form proto rock. Archambault knows what a pro album sounds like, and "X" is one of NONPOINT's most pro recordings in its 20-plus-year career. "Dodge Your Destiny", the cinematic intro to "Empty Batteries" and the spectacular final minute of "Position One" offers hope NONPOINT stays on a steady future growth pattern.

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