Sound — 7
This is Ill Niño's seventh record in their catalog, and their third with Victory Records. Ill Niño exploded in the nu metal scene in 2001 with their unique album "Revolution Revolucion," which eventually led them to superstardom and started strong with a lot of album sales, big tours and hit singles like fan favorites: "God Save Us" and "What Comes Around." Many people would think that Ill Niño were finished ever since their popularity began to decline after "One Nation Underground," when they displayed their Latin arrangements and beautiful instrumentation with influences of metalcore, which was popular in the United States and would be their last album with Roadrunner Records. Ill Niño would persevere and let nothing stand in their way and bounced back with "Enigma." Delayed several times and, while it showed potential with their sound in general, it lacked a hit single and did not help the album achieve platinum status like the extra commercial "Confession," which sold five hundred thousand copies.
After six records, one would think they changed much, but the formula is still pretty much the same, even though each record sounds different in thir own way. Last record, "Epidemia" bought some fans back after unleashing a shorter, but very interesting record with darker religious themes and consistent songwriting, which brought them back to their roots and closer to what they had success in the beginning of their career. The thing that Ill Niño always had on their side is the Latin instruments that made them stand out a little bit more from other nu metal bands. Now Ill Niño return with electronic elements to stay relevant today. Nothing new, but they manage to use it in a decent way without tarnishing thir sound.
Always criticized for ghaving uneven albums and no lyrical depth, kind of makes a point as to why Ill Niño keep making albums every two years and have a steady fanbase. The album starts with "Live Like Theres No Tomorrow," that displays electronic substances and soft beats before the chorus comes in early and the track never let's go with its bubble gum pop energy. It definitely sets the tone for the album. Those afraid all the other tracks will follow this tone, not to worry, one can almost forget the soft bland song after "Not Alive in My Nightmare." This track starts things fast with some djent and shows how good Ill Niño can be with the heavy staccato riffs, powerful growls in the verses and Christian Machado's clean singing and witness the best solo they have ever done in their career. Another standout is "I'm Not the Enemy," comes showering with bongos and bouncy drums in a way that show how distinct Ill Niño can be with a memorable chorus that shows some highs from Christian Machado's vocals. Every band has to have the immediate ballad and, well Ill Niño are no stranger to having a softie as well. However, "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" is a nice surprise with synth rich passages with softer guitars highlighting the outstanding clean singing throughout the song, and has Spanish lyrics in the bridge of the song, which gives it an emotional tone.
Christian Machado's vocals are definitely improved on "Till Death La Familia," both the screams and clean singing are great in the production. Next track "Are We So Innocent," reminiscent of "One Nation Underground," explodes with rapid thunderous riffs and strong growls and screams that peel away your face before unleashing a nice accessible chorus and a short moody guitar solo that gets fans wanting more. Witness the impressive "Pray I Don't Find You," which starts whispering for almost a minute and slowly changing styles and death metal growls coming from nowhere and melodic death metal inspired riffs dominate the track with a solo and an energy that we had not heard from Ill Niño in some time. The album finishes with "My Bullet," an almost inspired catchy number with synth beats a little similar to "Live Like Theres No Tomorrow," but done right with an emotional chorus, substantial lyrics and blends the harsh/soft style in a fashionable way. The only bad thing about "My Bullet" is that it ends too soon.
Lyrics — 7
Ill Niño always had the problem with the lyrics, being too much about being angry at someone or something without any substantial meaning and that's always their flaw as a band. The lyrics are hit and miss, and they miss more often than not. "Live Like Theres No Tomorrow" has a dumb fun chant: "Live like theres no tomorrow , die like we'll never follow, let's get high like we don't give a fuck," enough said. Elsewhere "Are We So Innocent," as catchy as it is, it doesn't show any substance whatsoever with things like: "I'm just another outcast, wetback/piece of shit from way back")and other lines like ("now your style is old and dates, highly loved but largely hated" criticizing the hate Ill Niño has received over the years. "I'm Not the Enemy" and "My Bullet" show more direction in how discriminating kids and how violence dominates the streets tell something more about society and are themes that fans may relate to more. At least "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" also tells a tale of a lost loved one in a passionate and desperate way ("I'm out of my head all I hear is your laughter / I'm caught in a web of this tragic disaster, / Seeing your face is a constant reminder / Of how much I love you when no hearts can find you"). In all the other songs basically Ill Niño returned with a nu metal style of lyrics, and that may anger fans, but at least Christian Machado's voice is worth the price of admission.
Overall Impression — 8
Lyrics aside, Ill Niño have improved on most of the elements here, showing more immediacy in the passion of the songs. The electronic substances are good overall, nothing outstanding, and they try to distinguish themselves a bit with the electronic substances and still have something to say in the metal community as they head slowly towards mainstream. The most impressive songs are: "Not Alive in My Nightmare," "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" and "Pray I Don't Find You," which all of them have different styles and are catchy as hell. I love all of the songs on the album, except "Payaso," which has a nice distinct lead riff, but its too short to make an impression. Personally, this is like my third favorite album of them after "Revolution Revolucion" and "One Nation Underground" of course. The album has its flaws, mainly in the lyrics and they haven't changed much, but this album is experimental and it will be interesting what direction they may take in their next album. If it were stolen or lost, I would certaintly buy it again.