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Ill Nino is the kind of band that I just can’t stop liking. Coming at the tail end of the nu-metal explosion, Ill Nino brought something different: A tribal ferocity that sounded unlike any of the bands they were compared to at the time. On their sixth album, Epidemia, Ill Nino sound even more urgent than that band that blessed fans with Revolution Revolucion back in 2001.

“The Depression” is the most solid single and opener Ill Nino have written since “God Save Us”. “Only The Unloved” follows closely with a sweeping chorus as vocalist Christian Machado takes his voice to the next level as he switches from these truly melodic lines and then shows off the almost death-like growl he’s developed. The title track is this vicious slab of tribal crossover metal that’s equal parts Puya and Killswitch Engage and lets Machado really embrace a new vocal style breathing new life into the Ill Nino machine.

“Eva” has this eerie guitar-laden intro that ends with the subtle musings of percussionist Daniel Couto and drummer Dave Chavarri which then leads to “Demi-God” and sees Chavarri and Couto utterly destroy. Ahrue Luster shines on the opening lines of “Death Wants More” while bassist Laz Pina wails away during the verses. Further into Epidemia, the tribalism seethes in songs like “Escape” and “Time Won’t Save You” while songs like “Forgive Me Father” and “Invisible People” are the standard metal fare that Ill Nino have become synonymous with.

Many bands say that their next album is the heaviest thing they’ve ever done but few bands deliver. On Epidemia, Ill Nino deliver. The band that threatened to kill my parents if I didn’t buy their first album (It happened at a show in Worcester!) have made an album just as essential as their first.

Epidemia is out through Victory Records on October 23rd.

Grade: B+

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