Ill Nino: Epidemia

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Ill Nino: Epidemia
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Ill Nino: Epidemia
Alternative Metal, Groove Metal, Metalcore
Victory Records
October 22nd, 2010
Release length: 37:30
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Back in 2010, Ill Nino released their fifth full-length effort, Dead New World, onto the world. Sadly, it wasn’t exactly as powerful, or even as good as everyone had expected it to be. Given their new home at Victory Records, and the shifting of music to include a Metalcore touch, the reasons for it not being up to par with past releases are numerous. Fast forward two years, and we now find ourselves looking at their anxiously awaited sixth album, Epidemia. Given their previous blunder, this is a vital release for the band, really needing to get things right this time around. So, does they, or are we facing another mediocre recording?

Right away, the production on Epidemia sounds great, mixing the lighter and heavier worlds the band jumps from with plenty of ease. The guitars have a nice buzzing distortion to them that packs a nice kick without being too heavy. This benefits the cleaner areas, though doesn’t always help when the music is meant to hit you hard transitioning out of a lighter passage. The bass, however, is really rich and comes through distinctly in the mix with a suiting deeper tone. The drum kit sticks out quite well too, having a decent clarity to the cymbals that aren’t too dominant in the mix, a louder snare performance that isn’t too tight and a little lower in tone, and a deep click to the bass kick. Meanwhile, the percussion comes through just a bit louder than the drums, all sounding fantastic and really adding to the Latin flavor of the group’s sound. Thankfully, the vocals sound fantastic as well. The clean singing packs a good deal of emotion, the growls that come through sometimes aren’t too intimidating but match the heavier music superbly, and the shouting shows great range, moving from a rhaspier approach to a traditional manner.

“The Depression” kicks things off quite well. Once you get past the hospital sound effects that act as the introduction, the technical guitar chords and drumming builds up the tension well, though the band simply doesn’t capitalize off it. Instead of the boom to unleash that pent up hostility, it just does a quick switch to a catchy mid-tempo performance, leading into a softer, melodic chorus with clean singing. This is a little patterned with the typical “scream the verse, sing the chorus” concept, something you’ll pick up on throughout, but even with that rough start, the track is still enjoyable, and the breakdown towards the end does work in it’s favor. However, this is a stark contrast to “La Epidemia,” which shows some of the group’s recent Metalcore interest at it’s best. The chords are a little tighter, and the percussion is met with really tight drumming that, with the help of the deeper bass, really create some aggressive and crushing music. There’s also less of a focus on the clean singing for this track, using more screaming and gutturals to get the point across. The entire performance doesn’t quite have the intense impact it clearly was meant to have, which is a shame, but it’s still strong enough to make you want to bang your head along most of the time.

“Only the Unloved” is easily one of, if not the best tracks off the recording. The catchy Groove Metal riffs are simply infectious, really using the percussion to help the drums fill the music, especially in the chorus which blends a softer clean singing that suits the emotional tone and lyrics. The entire track is musically tighter from start to finish, allowing the bass to play a much stronger role, such as the very effective drops “The Depression” wish it had. But, then you have the song “Time Won’t Save You.” Up to this point, the album focuses on catchy riffs and mid-tempo to faster music, with or without some additional hostility. Here, the music slows down to a crawling pace for the main verses. This isn’t the greatest track to be offered, but it does give you a worthy enough break with heavily distorted shouting vocals and slightly twisted leads before the clean singing chorus kicks in with a catchy lighter tone.

There are very few songs on Epidemia that honestly won’t have you banging your head, or atleast just bobbing it along to the rhythm. Ill Nino really put their best foot forward, and while it isn’t quite as heavy as their earlier offerings, it’s just as well done, finally working the Metalcore elements into their sound without it being too awkward. With plenty of energy and moving passages, and “Time Won’t Save You” being the only hit or miss track, this one is definitely one of their best albums in a very long time, and it’s great to finally hear the band putting out another quality release. Fans of Ill Nino can definitely rejoice this time around, and take pride in knowing that Epidemia is a release that not only won’t let them down, but probably won’t leave their CD or digital media player for quite some time.

01. The Depression – 3:44
02. Only the Unloved – 3:39
03. La Epidemia – 3:11
04. Eva – 4:13
05. Demi-God – 3:17
06. Death Wants More – 3:36
07. Escape – 3:34
08. Time Won’t Scare You – 4:49
09. Forgive Me Father – 3:29
10. Invisible People – 3:58
Overall Score: 9/10
Ill Nino (band)
Ill Nino
Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.