As a fan of Latin influenced Nu Metal/Groove Metal stalwarts like ILL NIÑO since their initial release back 2001, it was a pleasure to hear the band move forward with their sound to really blend the beats, riffs, and melody into a fine catchy and occasionally heavy mix. Their last album “Enigma,” showed the band pushing forward once again and letting loose of their own inhibitions to release their best album to date…which was promptly met with label hindrances and lackluster album sales. The band seemed to re-evaluate their stance with their music. With a new label to back them (this time it’s Victory), the band has decided to go back to their roots and have achieved rather mixed results.
Although “Dead New World” is an ILL NIÑO that hasn’t really changed at its foundations, there is still that unique blend of Latin rhythms, Nu Metal structures and approaches, and of course the catchy choruses and melodies; it’s the new focus that makes the album rather lackluster.
The band seems to have decided that they needed to bring the Nu Metal back to the forefront as a sound rather than just a foundation. Leading this album to sound quite a bit like an odd combination of “Enigma” and their debut “Revolution Revolucion”. Feeling like a de-evolution of sorts, this album carries a bit of charm reminiscent of those early 2000 days but lacks some of the cohesion and balance that the band has struck recently.
Tracks like “Bleed Like Me” or “Mi Revolucion” definitely strike that sound similar to early SOULFLY with its heavier riffs and guttural vocal delivery. Whereas tracks like “God Is For The Dead” or “Against The Wall” definitely give you those melodic hooks and ear catching choruses. The blend of the two just is seemingly off for this release.
Although the album does have some great tracks to it, most of which ILL NIÑO fans will definitely enjoy, particularly towards the end of the album, this is not an album that is going to win over the new fans like Victory Records may want. It has it’s strong moments but the balance is thrown and its focus on its Nu Metal foundations tends to under-ride some of the more mature material the band has been known for lately. As a fan, it’s got its moments, but its quite disappointing.
Songs to check out: “Scarred”, “God Is For The Dead”, “Serve The Grave”.
(Online January 23, 2011)