Metallers mine South American roots, not brilliantly
When style pundits got in a lather last year over the Latino explosion, you can safely assume this wasn’t what they had in mind. Forget the Hispanic pop of J-Lo or Ricky Martin, Ill Nino see themselves as the spiritual children of Brazilian metal kings Sepultura.
Inhabitants of New Jersey but South American by ancestry, they haven’t forgotten their roots. They’re not about to let you, either. And since no-one does just ‘metal’ any more, their addition to the genre-breaking one-upmanship is allowing samba beats, flamenco rhythms and sangria-and-sunburn guitar twiddling interlope into head-banging territory. On tracks like ‘If You Still Hate Me’ it’s as surprising as sequinned ballroom hoofers turning up in a moshpit and, as it doesn’t remotely work, just as likely to end in tears.
Elsewhere, ‘God Save Us’ and ‘Liar’ might grind efficiently but they want to stand out in the world of noise by their use of melody. Sadly they’ve acquired their idea of it from ’70s soft rock, so ‘Rip Out Your Eyes’ fails to live up to its title, while ‘Unreal’ and ‘Rumba’ are bloated stop/start messes.
Such unsuccessful experimentation makes Ill Nino less Max Cavalera’s heirs than fodder for metal’s middle ranks. When heaviness reigns supreme, that’s not nearly enough.