Sound — 7
Alternative rock and metal are producing a lot of unwanted offspring; genres are being catapulted into the world of music at an unrealistic pace yet there's no one to blame. The latest disc from New Jersey's Ill Nino engages with different sounds but stays true to its foundation without a lack of volume that would spark unnecessary comparisons dealing with Guidos and fist-pumping jams. Dead New World isn't a metal landmark; it's a righteous display of Ill Nino's talent and ability to compose material that appears new while intertwining nu metal with what's considered modern alternative rock. Reinforcing that are songs like "Serve The Grave" that fuse a gritty 90s' melody with singer Cristian Machado's tireless angst to create a catchy tune that's not painted with a mainstream palette. There are bound to be listeners that critique how aggressive the group actually are on the release though. While "Killing You, Killing Me" and "Scarred" break free with a primal snarl, other tracks lack ferocity in certain areas. Instead of not releasing the trigger, a number of breakdowns take a step back, almost to the point where it seems like it was done on purpose. Where they relapse, Ill Nino recover, especially with the unexpected cover of the Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet With Butterfly Wings". Few artists dare to stamp a cover song on a new release and instead of doing a bland rendition, the group takes the alternative rock gem and dusts it off with their Latin metal flavor, full of enticing riffs that leave a mark that's almost tribal.
Lyrics — 7
One can't question Cristian Machado's vocals. His ability to transfer between menacing growls and desperate wails is impressive and blends well with the band's decision to build momentum and swing into melodic chorus sections that may be the group's best to date. The vocals do falter in a similar fashion as they drop in aggression and emphasis at times ("Against The Wall"), but the splattered Spanish lyrics and stable songwriting chained to touching influences gets the album back to its boiling point. The themes may not be groundbreaking when compared to Ill Nino's rivals, but they shouldn't be overlooked as they're satisfyingly standard.
Overall Impression — 7
Alternative metal bands try to reinvent themselves by showing another side or going out of character and their fate ends up being an utter disaster. For Ill Nino, they kept everything simple, thus creating an average release that breathes desperation and monumental choruses and exhales a brilliant vocal display that does overshadow other instruments. Similar to the band's history, Dead New World isn't an editor's pick for everyone, but it's a must-listen for avid fans and those who wish nu metal would reclaim its home in music.