Ill Niño

Till Death, La Familia

Written by: MN on 02/09/2014 13:29:19

Ill Niño reserve a nostalgic part in my heart as they provided the soundtrack to many memorable teen times along with bands like Soulfly, Slipknot, Korn and Chimaira. One of the bands that rose on the success waves of the nu-metal explosion of the early 2000's, but unlike many bands, Ill Niño have not retired to resting on their laurels, but rather continued to release a whopping seven records to date. Unfortunately, Ill Niño have also fallen into a critical downward spiral with an abundance of negative reception of their last four releases. Just like a sport, metal has become increasingly competitive in everything from technique, timing, heaviness and controversy, and Ill Niño has apparently given us a sub-par performance.

The nu-metal sound is reprehensibly outdated with metalcore being the primary successor, but Ill Niño has the distinct latin touch, something heard through percussion and string parts, and if anything should allow them to stay buoyant in this sea of competitors, it is this aspect of their music. With the release of "Till Death, La Familia" the band introduces a revamped Ill Niño that tries to match the heavyweight of their metalcore competitors, but they also add some electronic elements to the mix, to both negative and positive effect.

The use of double pedals and varied screaming is a clear indication that Ill Niño will not allow themselves to be shelved in the antique section. Lyrically, Christian Machado seems to have grown a slight bit as a lyricist and his anger and proclamations are lashed out in ferocity, with social critique on themes like religion and especially racism. Spanish lyricism is also present in "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" and "My Bullet". Christian Machado is not exactly Shakespeare in his lyricism but his vocal range and punch is convincing nonetheless. If I were to suggest any changes to the lyrics it is for Christian to treat these themes with a more explicit approach, the simplicity of one-liners of anger just doesn't cut it. If Christian is angry at society, he should be more vocal and descriptive about which aspects, this would definitely make things more convincing. As mentioned, electronic elements where synths play in heavily are present in songs like "Live Like There's No Tomorrow," the cliché riddled first single, which again is so ambiguous in its message. Is this song about drug addiction or hedonism? A clear symptom of Christian's writing. In "Not Alive In My Nightmare" the introduction and chorus contain some trance synths as well, then develops into an angry mesh of nu-metal growls and metalcore rhythmic inputs. Some of the synths are cool, but some really seem like a weak attempt at diversification. The song "Not Alive In My Nightmare", however, also brings back the guitar solo as an integral part of a metal song, good job! Another wicked solo is featured on "Pray I Don't Find You". This is perhaps something that other bands could learn from. "Payaso" is one of my personal favourite tracks as the shifting riffs and breakdown parts are a good blend of their traditional sound and more modern "-core" inspiration.

I'll continue to keep updated with what Ill Niño are doing as they have proven to at least attempt a reinvention. The issue is still that Ill Niño just aren't that interesting anymore, but at least this record hints at a realization that they need to continue to grow. This album is nowhere near a fantastic record, but definitely a massive improvement from their other releases. If bands like System Of A Down, Stone Sour and Slipknot still manage to baffle modern day audiences, then this is proof that bands can still remain airborne ten years after their genre's expiration date.

Download: Payaso, World So Cold, Blood Is Thicker Than Water
For The Fans Of: Soulfly, 36 Crazy Fists, Spineshank

Release date 22.09.2014
Imperial Music

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