Monstrous riffs and catchy choruses make this a worthy purchase for nu-metal fans

Ill Nino has suffered rather a tough time in recent years, criticised for their inability to repeat the success of their highly-regarded debut album, "Revolution Revolucion". The alternative metallers may still split opinions with their latest offering, "Dead New World", but it is obvious that the six-piece are attempting to meet demands by delivering an album that at one moment is exercising bone-crushing force, only to be closely juxtaposed with graceful Latin decorations.

'God is Only for the Dead' kicks off the album in fashion, announcing to the metal scene that the six-piece are back in action, two years after the release of their previous album, "Enigma". Drummer Dave Chavarri remains at the steering wheel of the Ill Nino vehicle, thundering the band forward with some superb double bass drumming. Percussionist Daniel Couto teams with Chavarri incredibly well and his contributions sometimes go unnoticeable throughout this album; not because of his ineffectiveness, but due to his ability to blend seamlessly. Sandwiched in between two of the album's strongest songs, 'The Art of War' has a tough job to stand out. It does not quite hit the heights of the neighbouring tracks, but the melodiousness of the chorus makes this a pleasant addition regardless.

Ill Nino have sent their finest troop out to battle first, with 'Against the Wall' the song of choice to be the first single released from "Dead New World". It may not display any traces of the cultured Ill Nino sound that the sextet are often associated with, but it is a strong nu-metal offering with the finest chorus of the album. Hard-hitting 'Mi Revolucion' is a superb band effort, with furious guitar riffs and vigorous drum fills adding to the intensity exhibited by the group. 'Bleed Like You' opens with a sound reminiscent of fellow American metal outfit Slipknot, before convincingly transitioning back to their identifiable trademark sound. 'Serve the Grave' reveals the more guttural side of singer Cristian Machado's voice, also displaying an entrancing intimacy during the song's verses.

Blessed with superb choruses, 'If You Were Me' and 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings' show that the metal group are not just intent on delivering delicious riffs, but also on sharing pleasing melodies. In a similar vein to the multi-cultural sound of fellow alternative metallers Breed 77, Ill Nino's appeal is broadened by the blissful fusion of metal with Latino traits. 'Ritual', 'Killing You, Killing Me' and 'How Could I Believe' are all fine examples of this stylistic individuality and should remind many doubting fans why they first fell in love with Ill Nino.

Finale 'Scarred' rounds off what has been a powerful return for the Latin metal ensemble. Newcomers to the music of Ill Nino will love the pairing of powerful riffage with wonderfully melodic choruses. Those familiar with the sextet may remain divided in their opinions of the band's direction, but approach "Dead New World" with an open mind and you should be pleasantly surprised.

Many albums bear a 'Parental Advisory' warning on their covers, bringing the use of explicit language to the attention of the consumer. However, Ill Nino's "Dead New World" should come with a health warning clearly displayed on the album cover, as you may well be left with a sore necking after three quarters of an hour of relentless headbanging having turned the volume up to eleven on your stereo.