One Nation Underground

Ill Niño

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One Nation Underground Review

by David Jeffries

You could call Latin metal outfit Ill Niño a cross between Soulfly and Linkin Park, leaning a little more toward the Park. It's a very 2005 combination, one you could consider contrived even, but there's enough genuine and inspired moments on their third album to not write them off as wannabes, enough to even cheer them on and hope they let their inner Ill Niño out a little more next time. They've got hooks and tension building down just right and while they lyrically border on bland, there's some Santana-styled breaks and the bouncing between the English and Spanish language keeping things interesting. "What You Deserve" is for the Linkin Park fans, "This Is War" for the Soulfly crowd, but more mystical, winding numbers like "De la Vida" and "My Pleasant Torture" are much richer, worth returning to, and uniquely Ill Niño. The second half of the album is definitely looser and more rewarding, with intricate songs that take repeat listens to untangle. It makes the predictable plays for the Park crowd all the more frustrating, but even the everyday cathartic music for "the kids" is graced by a few spicy twists along with Scrap 60's great grit-meets-slick production. An everyday album from which you can make an excellent EP.

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