If there’s such a thing as a veteran of nu-metal, New Jersey’s Ill Nino are just that with 10+ years experience under their belts. I’m the first to admit that I don’t normally enjoy screaming vocals, but there’s something about these guys that piques my curiosity. Christian Machado’s vocal versatility enables him to easily switch from guttural screaming to clean crisp (albeit auto-tuned) singing in just a few short phrases, this is then combined with the bands trademark Latin-infused melodies, ferocious tribal drumming and soul crushing metal riffs to offer up something just a little bit different.
‘Epidemia’ is their latest album, and while there is nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about it; the album is still a contender for their strongest to date. The band has found a formula that works for them, they play to their strengths (you can’t blame them for that) they’ve managed to deliver another consistent album on the back of it. The album features 10 high voltage Latin-infused metal tracks that are as subtle as a gold bullion brick to the face.
‘The Depression’ offers a solid start to the album, and showcases the light and shade in Machado’s voice as he flirts between growling and singing, the guitar comes crashing in over the top playing some crunchy chords before being joined by tribal sounding bongos. Poppy Latin rhythms are interspersed and layered throughout to give the song a little extra energy. The rest of the album follows on in a similar fashion and there seems to be very little to distinguish one song from another.
Other than sounding repetitive, and lacking any memorability my main gripe with Ill Nino is their choice of subject matter, it seems stagnant and outdated. Since its creation in the early 90’s nu-metal has been a genre of music predominantly listened to by angsty teens with ‘issues’ and a general antipathy towards the rest of the world, and with songs like ‘Forgive Me Father’ which is all about a suicide note, ‘Epidemia’ would certainly fall into this category.
I can’t help thinking that 10 years has passed and a lot of those troubled teenagers have probably cut their hair short and are working 9-5 jobs and have generally matured making songs about problematic parents a tad irrelevant? Their audience has grown up, I think it’s time Ill Nino did the same and started writing some more mature songs that reflect issues contemporary to their core fan base.
If you already like Ill Nino this will be a must have for the collection, however I don’t think it will win them any new converts.