Ill Niño: One Nation Underground
Ill Niño - One Nation Underground - [Roadrunner Records]


Ill Niño has always been a slightly withdrawn nu metal band with a touch of Hispanic decorations, in both music and lyrical content (revolving mostly around relationships and frustration) - you can't mistake them for other similar bands, mostly because of Cristian Machado's distinctive voice.

"This is War" opens the album, starting with some sort of tribal chant/part, as if notifying that there is war ahead, like a dog grunting and showing it's teeth just before it bites; it doesn't take long for it to attack with a malicious guitar riff, some blasting drum and bass, and a screamed voice from Machado's side (this time with a political text) which later changes to his well known accent.
Sepultura anyone? "My resurrection" just reminds me of a more timid version of it, mainly because of the drumwork and the intro.
A bit of difference if found in "What you deserve" with its Metalcore/Emocore tone; the riffs and overall production force it to be proclaimed as "single potential".
"La Liberacion of Our Awakening" is more solid, although its' beginning reminds me of "Te Amo- I Hate you" (from 2003's "Confession") - this is one of my favorite tracks here, what I call a good nu metal song, not sweet, not overdone.
However, "Everything Beautiful" and "Corazon of mine" strike me as overdone and therefore missed.

The guitarwork has improved, they've become more diverse, ranging from simple thrashing/power chords to Santana-like solo's and flamenco plucking; try "In this moment" or "My pleasant torture" for further explanation.

Most of the tracks are different from what Ill Niño have achieved in their first two albums, "Turns to grey" and "All I ask for" are the only ones that seems to have stayed behind.
What really catches the ear here is the freedom in adding more and more Hispanic parts or guide lines provided mostly by bass player Laz Pina and Percussionist Danny Couto.

Some highlights are the vivid "De la Vida" and the two closing tracks "Barely Breahing", which is a clean guitar intro is ending with a phone call that leads to "Violent Saint", a great finish, very strong yet very catchy.

Ofer Vayner

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