Ill Niño // Epidemia
Rating: 1.5/5.0 — Still partying like it’s 1999
Label: Victory Records
Websites:  facebook.com | myspace.com
Release Dates:  EU: 2012.10.29 | NA: 10.27.2012

Ill Niño - EpidemiaIll Niño is still around? Holy shit. I think I last crossed paths with these nü-metal veterans back in 2003, when they were on stage opening for Anthrax and I was throwing coins and lit cigarettes at them [Ah, shit. Objectivity out the window after the first sentence. Also, you’re a fucking dick, dude. AMG]. Now, all these years later, Ill Niño has a new album out called Epidemia, and I’m reviewing it. This is either proof that there is no god, or that Angry Metal Guy hates me, take your pick  [It could also be proof that god is a wrathful god and that you’ve been a naughty, naughty, naughty boy. For example, one time I heard you were throwing cigarettes at an opening band like a real dick. AMG].

Longtime fans will be relieved to know that the basic Ill Niño sound has not been altered. This is still 2nd-rate nü-metal/metalcore with bad vocals, along with the occasional bit of Latin percussion to keep it real. If anything, the band has exchanged some of the more blatant nu-metal elements for slightly more technical riffing and predictable “yelling verse/singing chorus” song structure, which I guess takes these guys out of 1998 and drops them squarely in 2004. Great.

Vocalist Cristian Machado is as two-dimensional as ever, the first dimension being your typical metal screaming, and the 2nd being heavily effected/AutoTuned clean singing. This dude is totally generic and non-noteworthy, other than his uncanny ability to sing through AutoTune and still sound out of tune. Judging by song titles like “The Depression” and “Forgive Me Father,” Machado is still singing about standard ’90s metal themes, despite being far too old to still have issues with his parents (unless they grounded him for 15 years). The rest of the band is faceless but at least competent at their instruments, which leaves Machado as both the band’s most recognizable member and their weakest link.

Ill Niño 2012At a mere 37 minutes long, the album still feels repetitive, and these songs are all pretty much interchangeable. I may not care for this band, but it seems to me that they could play up the whole “Latin music” angle to come up with something slightly more interesting. I mean, if that’s their thing, why not try a song with flamenco guitar and blastbeats? A horn section maybe? That would at least be unique. There’s tiny hints of potential on a few tracks, like “Death Wants More,” and they work pretty well. But for all intents and purposes, Ill Niño is pretty much Chimaira with a few lyrics en español.

It’s interesting to notice that as time passes, the whole nü-metal era takes on a nostalgic value for some people. In the midwestern United States, I’d bet there’s a shitload of folks in their late 20s who would call in sick to their shifts at Walmart to go see bands like Static-XIll Niño, or Hed PE (who happen to be the support act on the Epidemia tour). This is fundamentally no different from the old-schoolers who still pay to see Dokken or Warrant, except with more stretched earlobes and bad tribal tattoos. Mark my words — there’s a whole generation of kids who grew up on this horrible shit, and their nostalgia will inevitably fuel a comeback of every crappy nu-metal band that ever existed. In fact, it’s already begun.

Okay, back to Epidemia. I can’t really say anything positive to recommend this album, other than that it sounds precisely like Ill Niño. I have to respect these guys for staying true to themselves — they began with a gimmicky, one-dimensional style, and they have stuck with it all the way to the present day. Most bands that played this kind of stuff have either gone full metal (SoulflyChimaira) or moved on to even more horrible subgenres (KornLinkin Park, Staind), so if you need your fix of boneheaded Ozzfest-era metal, Epidemia should tide you over until the inevitable Disturbed reunion.

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  • I agree with each and every word above(specially AMG’s). thee question which always comes to my mind when approaching to this kind of music is: Do they really enjoy what they’re making?

  • Would say that Diablo Swing Orchestra have probably done the best Latin Metal around.

  • Karmic retribution is sure entertaining on AMG. Also I’m sure everyone here is hoping for the love of all that is unholy that you guys jinxed the Disturbed reunion with that closing statement.

  • Crow

    So not album of the month then?

  • xist

    I dislike Ill Nino as much as the next guy but i really don’t feel that this review is very good, or up to the general standard of AMG reviews. Going in already biased and disliking it makes the review pointless….it’s supposed to be a challenge to listen to and review things you don’t like fairly and accurately, not just write things you already believe about the band.

    Merely the fact that the reviewer thinks “Forgive me Father” is about parental issues really makes me doubt his writing (and music) chops…

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      You may have a point, but realistically, what are the odds that someone writing for AMG could be completely unbiased about Ill Nino? The band has been around for over 10 years, and we’ve all had plenty of time to form opinions about them. I doubt anyone writing for us is a huge fan of theirs, and even if they were, guess what? That’s bias too.

      I tried to be as objective as I could. Trust me, no one wanted this album to be good more than I did, because I’m the one who had to listen to it repeatedly to write the damn review.

      And to Wolf who posted below: I remember Puya. When I hear the term “Latin metal, in my head I hear something kind of like Puya. Because Puya has, you know, actual Latin music going on in there.

  • Wolf

    This review is pretty bad. This is basically a blog post whining about a band. Honestly if you want a creative latin metal band than look at Puya. Their album Fundamental will give those happy horn sessions your heart so desires.

  • sui

    woah, so much ‘leave-me-alone’ personality on this review…as much as I like ill nino, I feel no motivation to argue after the reading…

  • ZacP

    GREAT review…thanks for the laughs:)

    Thee question which comes to my mind after reading this: do they really need six people in the band?

  • mirec

    this review is a total crap. it is a great album and I enjoyed it really much