Longstanding Southern metal act Nonpoint got a reboot on its ninth studio album, which is self-titled in recognition of the album's sense of self-renewal. New blood and a sharpened focus have given the Florida quintet one of its best efforts to date.
"It's a brand new Nonpoint," says singer Elias Soriano. "Obviously it's the same sentiment and the same purpose, which is elevation through positive methods. I still aim for the heart and the gut when we do what we do onstage. But the new guys are ferocious on their instruments and it's fun to stand in front of that."
Nonpoint formed in Fort Lauderdale in '97, and were quickly lifted by the post-grunge metal boom. By 2000 they'd signed with MCA, and scored a minor hit with the track "What a Day." They also spent time on tour with fellow Southern metal act Sevendust, developing a close friendship in the process. While Soriano and Sevendust's Lajon Witherspoon both have vocal styles that are strangely soulful by metal standards, the two frontmen also came from different backgrounds.
"I think because we're a little culturally diverse, me being Latino and him being African American, it's definitely a different palette we're singing off," Soriano says.
In the years since, the group has toured regularly while maintaining a steady release schedule, building a grassroots following that landed them on Billboard's Rock, Alternative and Album charts with 2010's Miracle and last year's eponymous follow-up.
But even as momentum was building, cracks were forming. Founding guitarist Andrew Goldman had left toward the end of 2008, and his replacement Zach Broadrick wasn't working out.
"We really weren't feeling Zach's vibes," says Soriano. "His style was a little bit different than what Robb and I were really looking for when Andy left the band. Andy had a really cool style about him and he was very involved in the music writing."
Both Broadrick and bassist Ken MacMillan left after Miracle. But the band pulled itself back together with new guitarists Dave Lizzio and Rasheed Thomas, as well as bassist Adam Woloszyn. The change in attitude was readily apparent as they cranked out 30 songs for Nonpoint, where before they had all they could do to write enough to fill one album.
Another big change came when Razor & Tie signed Nonpoint and offered them the opportunity to bring in a big name producer. Though they'd been self-produced since the MCA days, they jumped at the chance to work with Johnny K, who'd previously produced 3 Doors Down, Staind and Plain White T's.
And the changes just keep coming for Soriano. Not only has he released a new album on a new label with new bandmates, he's also become a father and moved to Battle Creek, Mich., to be near his fiancée's family.
"When you have a child, it opens up your head in a way that is unexplainable. You really can't put your thumb on it. It's really just love, honestly, figuring out what love is, once you see your child. It's completely different. It's a mindfuck," he says, playfully referencing the recurring line from Russell Brand's Get Him to the Greek. "My daughter is mindfucking me. It's amazing to look down and I can be in the worst mood, and when that kid smiles at you, you're done."