It’s been 15 years since American metal band Ill Nino released their debut album ‘Revolution Revolucion’, but age hasn’t dulled their roar.
In honour of that anniversary, Ill Nino toured Australia to play their debut in full which they did to an ecstatic audience on the final stop of their tour in Brisbane at The Triffid (6 August).
Opening was the self-described ‘horror metal’ band Terror Universal, a supergroup featuring members from Machine Head, Soulfly and headliners Ill Nino. When the lights came on for their entrance, all four members leered through monster masks. Singer Plague growled: “Brisbane! Welcome to Hell!” before launching into the grinding ‘Welcome To Hell’.
While some may accuse Terror Universal of ripping off Slipknot, this band was more interested in having fun like the horror films their visuals are influenced by. The group dove into the part, eying off the audience and leaping across the stage. Fans fed off the band’s energy; an impressive feat for a band who hasn’t released an album yet. If this is what hell is like, it’s a fun place to be.
Ill Nino’s set began with red lights glowing over the band’s silhouettes. Without wasting any time, the band launched into the album’s first track ‘God Save Us’; an explosion of a beginning. Everyone in the room was bouncing, with fans showing their approval with a sea of devil horns.
Until tonight's show, I never realised how diverse Ill Nino’s music is. Singer Cristian Machado can go from a croon to a growl often singing in his native Spanish. The Spanish influence appears throughout the night with Oscar Santiago’s many percussion instruments and guitarist Ahrue Luster switching between electric and acoustic for a softer Latino flavour, which surprisingly wasn’t buried under songs like ‘Nothing’s Clear’.
Another surprise was how positive the band are, especially from one with a song titled ‘Rip Out Your Eyes’. Throughout the night Cristian would deliver speeches about fans taking care of each other and inviting them in to the Ill Nino familia. Cristian was full of love for Brisbane and fans reciprocated by screaming through ‘What Comes Around’ and forming a circle pit for the title track.
When it was time for closing ballad ‘With You’, the energy changed. Compared to the heaviness before, the song’s mariachi guitars and soft, Latin rhythm made it feel like this was a completely different band. But Ill Nino are just as adept at Spanish balladry, and fans didn’t mind at all.
Ill Nino completely upturned my expectations of them. The band is much more than their hit ‘How Can I Live’, which was rapturously received in their encore and caught my attention as a moody teenager. It’s easy to see why they inspire such devotion from their fans. The chorus of 'Te Amo' from Ill Nino’s familia is well deserved.