Despite numerous delays and outrageous amounts of time spent just waiting for this album to be released, “Enigma” (aptly titled I thought considering the delays and no explanation for such) is finally on the store shelves. And I must say that even though it was a long time coming – this album was worth the wait.
With their last mediocre effort, ILL NIÑO needed to revamp their approach. Even though they haven’t changed their overall sound all that much, “Enigma” has the band finding their lost energy and focus and attacking it with all of their effort. Something we haven’t fully seen since their first album. It’s not a perfect album – the band has yet to nail one out of the ball park - but it’s a damn good one.
It’s nice to hear the band playing a more diverse set of music this time around. Of course the basics are still there: a foundation of Metal intermixed with Latin influences with a good dose of melody. What’s new this time around is that the band doesn’t try to recreate what they have done before. They are letting themselves loose a little bit. We now have some more extensive solos (with a very interesting sound – I had a friend compare them to SANTANA) and there is a bit of a raw edge to the writing. The production is top notch but the writing isn’t so combed through.
Something that the band has really started to blend well is the layering of their music. ILL NIÑO has always been about integrating Metal and Latin music and they do it so well on here. The double drums (a normal trap set and Latin) no longer even seem gimmicky and the combination of acoustic guitar melodies and electric guitar riffs is the best the band has done. Even Machado’s vocals (and his lyrics that quickly switch from English to Spanish) seem to be better placed and layered.
The problem with “Enigma” though, even with all the praise from above, is that there are still some filler tracks that kill the energy of the album. Overall it’s a solid album but the mediocre track, “March Against Me”, killed the overall feeling I was getting from the first half of the album. Especially when it’s between two of the best songs on the album.
Even though there are these filler tracks, this is still the most solid release that ILL NIÑO has given us and it’s showing a very promising direction for the band. “Enigma” is an enigma in its own right but it has a lot of potential. Not to mention that the good songs are going to be classics in the ILL NIÑO world.
Songs to check out: “The Alibi Of Tyrants”, “Compulsion Of Virus And Fever”, “Guerilla Carnival”.
(Online April 7, 2008)