Ill Nino: Dead New World

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Ill Nino: Dead New World
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Ill Nino: Dead New World
Alternative Metal, Groove Metal
Victory Records
October 26th, 2010
Release length: 45:27
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Ill Nino was one of those bands that came out during the Nu-Metal explosion of the early to late nineties, and have stayed a solid force since their debut full-length effort in 2001. With a Latin approach to the band’s music that is similar to the approach of Soulfly material, the band gained a strong, underground following, but since the band’s last album, Enigma, the patience of the fanbase has become tested. Dead New World, the band’s fifth full-length offering, proves to test it one more time, but this time, it may very well break some listeners due to how generic to music is, as well as the fact that material doesn’t even sound like their own, and it’s not even the cover track.

One issue that has reared it’s head in the past few releases from Ill Nino is the addition of lower growls that sounded like failed gutterals. Overtime, these attempts have become more solid and effective overall, but that doesn’t wind up helping the music out in the least. Dead New World has some moments that sound heavy and are enjoyable, but much like the band’s recent efforts, the music has lost it’s bite that it had. The band was built with one main emotion in the music, which was anger. Sadly, this release really lacks any form of anger in the music and vocals, with only a few songs that actually have any real emotion behind them that don’t come off as generic Alternative Metal/Mallcore with a Latin drum influence tacked on. One such song is “Serve the Grave”, which just brings in a heavier overall sound, but still continues to follow the pattern of sung chorus lines surrounded by harsher vocals scattered everywhere else. “Ritual” has some strong moments that really show off some emotion, but the chorus, once again, falls prey to the band’s quickly becoming generic and repetitive song writing and patterns. “Killing You, Killing Me” winds up being the only song on this release that really captures what made Ill Nino such a great band, and also violates the standard pattern of basically every track on this release.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the entire album is horrible. There are still some tracks on this release that wind up being rather enjoyable outside of the whole anger atmosphere that the band is known for. “How Could I Believe” is a fantastic track that has some solid music behind it that, while somewhat simple, features a little technicality in the chorus, and properly fits the let down atmosphere the lyrics and vocal performance give off. “God is Only for the Dead” winds up being another enjoyable track, though it lacks any real form of atmosphere behind it. Instead, it’s just another solid song that just meshes well between the music and vocals. One of the shocking tracks on here, as far as enjoyment goes, is the cover of the Smashing Pumpkins track “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”. While the original track is enjoyable as well, this cover version stays really true to the original, except it’s slowed down, and the unique vocal style has been replaced with a well done straight forward singing voice with the only scream appearing during the guitar solo and again later in the song near the end, and the band’s signature drumming put into it, which actually greatly compliments the music instead of simply feeling tacked on like one would expect at first.

There are songs on this release that, lyrically, are not really all that happy, but still could be stronger, and just have airy, upbeat music being played. “If You Were Me” sounds like a more emotional song, but in the wrong direction. Lyrically, it’s got some anger behind it, but not a lot, lacking any real bite, and musically it features some generic music that has just become common to Ill Nino‘s recent change of styles, stealing from plenty of upbeat Alternative acts for the chorus to create something that sounds like it was meant to be a self-empowerment track, but ultimately just failed and doesn’t deliver on any spectrum, instead being just another generic Alternative song. However, things don’t get any worse then the song “Against the Wall”, which sounds like the band just tore a song off a Sevendust album and added their signature drum sound to it.

When you look at Ill Nino‘s discography, there’s just no way to compare this album to their earlier material. Dead New World isn’t necessarily a bad album, but the music is lacking in strong material that listeners can connect with, whether it be emotionally, lyrically, or even just solid songwriting that doesn’t become repetitive half way through. This, unfortunately, leaves the album to be an experience that you can listen to once or twice, then pawn off on someone or let it sit in your collection, only to pull it out a good while later to play and then realize half way in why it sat there for so long. Ill Nino‘s Dead New World is not a new world at all, dead or not, and comes off as an album that was made only to have new material out there and nothing else.

01. God is Only for the Dead – 2:54
02. The Art of War – 4:09
03. Against the Wall – 3:27
04. Mi Revolucion – 3:50
05. Bleed Like You – 3:15
06. Serve the Grave – 3:20
07. If You Were Me – 3:42
08. Ritual – 4:34
09. Killing You, Killing Me – 3:52
10. How Could I Believe – 4:11
11. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins cover) – 4:28
12. Scarred – 3:44
Overall Score: 4/10
Ill Nino (band)
Ill Nino
Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.