Ill Nino

Cement Shoes Records, 2008


REVIEW BY: Cory Galliher


Some things are just meant to go together: peanut butter and bananas, babies and sausage grinders, and, in the case of New Jersey band Ill Nino, metal and Latin music. Ill Nino's fourth album, Enigma, is a perfect fusion of both genres, one that makes up for the massive disappointment that was their previous attempt, One Nation Underground. Massive percussion, shredding guitar work, and painfully catchy hooks combine to make this the best Ill Nino album yet.

Enigma opens up strong with “The Alibi of Tyrants.” This song showcases the band's ability to blend multiple genres -- tribal rhythms and chanting give way to powerful guitar and Spanish vocals -- into a single cohesive whole.  You wouldn't expect this to be worth listening to but “Alibi,” like this entire album, manages to surprise. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unlike a lot of modern rock albums, the rest of Enigma manages to keep up with the standard set by the opening track. Songs like “Pieces of the Sun” are bound to get plenty of radio airplay by managing to be just hard enough to sound great without going overboard into death metal territory. It'd be impressive to see what Ill Nino could do with some harder music, but this is a mainstream band, so it's understandable that they'd want to cater to their chosen audience.

The album's highlight is “March Against Me,” a track that combines powerful metal with mainstream catchiness to form something best described as awesome, much like the time I combined powerful garlic with mainstream ketchup to form something best described as nausea-inducing. This track brings to mind Ill Nino's older work, which is good, as is anything that gets One Nation Underground out of listeners' minds.

It's also nice to hear tracks like "Me Gusta de Soledad" and "De Sangre Hermosa," on which Ill Nino produces a more traditional Latin sound. Spanish vocals and acoustic guitar intertwine to make these some of the more memorable songs from the album simply because they stand apart from the rest of what we've heard from the group. Being able to achieve a wide spectrum of sound is a great quality for a band to have. Much like some harder music would be nice, it'd also be interesting to hear a full album of similar, more traditional music from this group.

All in all, Enigma proves that Ill Nino hasn't lost it as many had thought. This is good news for everyone, especially fans of their earlier work. We can only hope that they keep it up this time, since another tragedy like One Nation Underground would break my heart worse than that garlic/ketchup mixture.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2008 Cory Galliher and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cement Shoes Records, and is used for informational purposes only.