Ill Nino – Dead New World Album Review
Honestly, I’m really surprised I’m even giving Ill Nino another chance.
For one thing, I’ve never been super-stoked about them; they’ve made some stuff I’ve enjoyed but nothing that ever made me jump out of my seat and thank the heavens for having heard – just middle of the road, change-of-pace type material to clean one’s palate. Basically, I’m calling them the metal equivalent of a nice sorbet.
But the main reason why I questioned even giving their new album, Dead New World, another chance was because I’ve listened to, nay, suffered through, that piece of crap, Enigma, they put out last time around and had the gall to slap their names on. That album was dead on arrival.
But I guess I had some free time when the band posted up some of their new songs, so I charitably decided to give them another chance.
Suffice to say, what I was hearing was good enough to make me buy the album. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s good enough to change my overall opinions toward the band or even to make me want to listen to this album more than the handful of times I’ve already invested in it.
Thankfully, Enigma appears to have been nothing more than a giant bump in the road. The band is right back on the track they’ve been following for most of their career, so if you’ve heard any of the three pre-Enigma records, you have a good idea of what to expect here. Unfortunately, that path they’ve been following has been beaten to death by this point, which makes Dead New World sound not only uninteresting but out of date. You’ve got the heavy nu-metal influences, which aren’t bad in and of themselves, but even the best nu-metal bands of a decade ago learned to branch out and incorporate new influences into their sounds. The band shoots for a lot of radio-friendly soaring choruses when it might not be such a bad idea to take the intensity that can be evident in the rest of the songs and simply take it all the way.
The best, and most defining, part of Ill Nino is and has always been its drumming. Led by Dave Chavarri behind the kit, the drums are thunderous and really pack a punch. Then you add in Daniel Couto, who specializes in the kind of Latin tribal percussion that gives the band its ethnic flair, and the beats and rhythms are really the only aspect of this album that will perk your ears up and demand their attention. It’s too bad because I really think this band is capable of much more. But they’ve got to be willing to step outside their established comfort zones in order to find out.