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Album Reviews : Ill Niño – Dead New World

By on December 1, 2010

With 5 studio albums and over a decade of experience under their belts, Ill Niño are a band that consistently manage to fly under the radar. Despite Latin influences that could easily differentiate the band, Ill Niño continue to be noted as ‘those guys that had that one song on the Freddy vs. Jason soundtrack’. Things are unlikely to change for Ill Niño in the near future, with their latest effort Dead New World proving to be uninspired, pedestrian and a testament to why autotune needs to be sent to the fiery depths of Hell.

If one were to take the lyrics of Dead New World out of context, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled on: a) Hawthorne Heights’ new record, or b) the diary of a 15 year old boy who’s been dumped by his girlfriend of two weeks. The record is a sob story with the vocabulary of a primary schooler, with tracks Bleed Like You, If You Were Me, Ritual and How Could I Believe showcasing an uncanny talent for rewriting “zomg you lied to me, I’m sad and in soo much pain” a hundred different ways.

The lyrics aren’t just an embarrassing display of teenage angst, but God is for the Dead, Mi Revolucion and Against The Wall are also lessons in just how many words rhyme with ‘fall’, ‘dreams’ and ‘pain’. This reviewer can’t help but wonder why Ill Niño are so content to be mediocre, and why they don’t capitalise off their Latin influences, translating at least part of their tracks into Spanish to disguise the Neanderthal lyrics.

Lyrics aside, Ill Niño are instrumentally sound. The guitar work and percussion are typical of both metal and hard rock genres, with The Art of War also offering a Bring Me The Horizon-esque breakdown; Against The Wall strangely reminiscent of Sum41 with a jazz twist; Serve the Grave home to the only guitar solo on the record; and Killing You, Killing Me showcasing beautiful flamenco styling. Bleed Like You offers an almost danceable beat, while the cover of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet with Butterfly Wings is actually somewhat enjoyable. Closing the album is Scarred – perhaps the heaviest track on the record, with just a hint of that flamenco guitar.

Vocalist Cristian Machado’s screams are satisfactory, varying from low and guttural on Serve the Grave and Ritual, to high-pitched screeching on Mi Revolucion. Machado shows beautiful singing ability in Ritual and Bleed Like You, which is disguised on other tracks by the complete fucking abuse of autotune.  It sounds as if Machado has stolen Chester Bennington’s autotune settings, or that Ill Niño wish to be compared to Ke$ha, despite possessing a vocalist that doesn’t sound like he’s yodelling through a blocked nose.

Ill Niño are a frustrating beast, full of potential but doing seemingly everything to avoid meeting it. Instead of experimenting with natural talent and capitalising on their roots, they are content to stagnate and produce painfully inoffensive material. Dead New World is by no means an awful record, but is nothing compared to what they could create.   4/10

Band: Ill Niño
Album: Dead New World
Year: 2010
Genre: Hard Rock/Metal
Label: Victory Records/Riot!
Origin: New Jersey, USA
http://www.myspace.com/illnino

Track listing:

  1. God is for the Dead
  2. The Art of War
  3. Against the Wall <– reviewer’s choice
  4. Mi Revolucion
  5. Bleed Like You
  6. Serve the Grave
  7. If You Were Me
  8. Ritual
  9. Killing You, Killing Me <– reviewer’s choice
  10. How Could I Believe
  11. Bullet With Butterfly Wings (The Smashing Pumpkins cover)
  12. Scarred

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.