Ill Nino - One Nation Underground - Roadrunner Records 2005
13 Songs
Running Time: 44:04

Some things in life simply are. There's no leeway in certain instances. The sun will rise in the East. Night will follow day. And no matter how bad the new Soulfly album is, we can rest assured that the next disc by Ill Nino will make it seem like Master Of Puppets in comparison. On these South American nu-metal throwbacks' third full-length, it seems Ill Nino has plundered the trash bins of the Cavalera household, dusted off some of the discarded refuse, slapped a predictable Roadrunner-brand sheen on their "metal", and now the world can witness the true horror that is One Nation Underground.

The first forty-odd seconds of 'This Is War' sounded better when Prong did it over fifteen years ago, and called it 'Beg To Differ', pinched harmonics and thick drums quickly giving way to the aural equivalent of Linkin Park covering Puya. I'm sure the guitar duo of Luster and Paisante would like you to hear the Latin flair of their playing near the end of 'This Is War' as "progression" and "ingenuity", but it just comes across as contrived instead. Sure, vocalist Cristian Machado may believe in the plight of the everyman, and have a deep respect for his heritage (as we all should), but in delivery, his uber-predictable half-growl/half-singing style is as convincing as if he were trying to sell you a dead horse that's already been kicked into pulp. The initial single 'What You Deserve' will crop up here and there on hard/metal radio, so expect to hear it at some point, regardless of your feelings about Ill Nino. Personally, I'll be turning the dial, and longing for the semi-tolerable days of 'God Save Us' (from the premature musical ejaculate that was 2001's Revolution/Revolucion). The ghost of producer Eddie Wohl's work with labelmates 36 Crazyfists looms large throughout One Nation Underground, rendering the two bands virtually indistiguishable at times. The lyric '...turn to ashes...' - in the chorus of the overly-doctored 'All I Ask For' - references the song 'Turns To Ashes' from 36 Crazyfists' Bitterness The Star a bit too obviously to be a fluke, and by the time 'My Pleasant Torture' ends, eliciting the same shrug of the shoulders as the rest of the album, this torture is anything but.

If Ill Nino somehow could've taken the anger in the verses of closer 'Violent Saint' and spread it over the rest of the album, One Nation Underground may at least have achieved "background music" status. Still, when stacked up against the unexpected credibility of the new Soulfly, the fury of Ill Nino couldn't level a house of cards. One Reviewer Underwhelmed.

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