Review Summary: As hard as...
This Californian trio formed in 2007 and since conception have released 3 albums that you could listen to back to back in under an hour. Their debut album, the aptly titled “Unsilent Death” announced their arrival with brutal intentions. Clocking in at a meagre 14 minutes, Nails displayed some of the most hectic powerviolence that the underground metal scene could get their blooded hands on at the time. In 2013 “Abandon All Life” rapidly grew like a cancerous cyst from the success of its predecessor and delivered a devastating strike, dropping all mannerisms of cheer and accessibility. Their third and new album, “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, now sees the band in their most controlled state of mind.
The title track delivers the first blow of the album. It’s lyrically aimed at the people who contribute nothing to society, rising high in the world only by standing on the work of others and musically directed at destroying your eardrums with primal screams and brutalising chugs. The title track is not just a vicious 89 second song as hard hitting as a mallet to the face, but also a perfect synopsis of Nails’ sound and style.
Powerviolence and grind metal are understandably known for their aggressive nature with an uncompromising attitude and during “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, Nails show us that they are the masters in the art of violence. The breathless ‘Parasite’ and the excruciating ‘In Pain both sonically live up to their names whereby each track is so wildly feral that each song practically knocks your consciousness out flat.
That being said, this isn’t an album that sounds like the recording of a load of instruments being thrown down a few flights of stairs. You can clearly hear that amongst all this commotion, Nails are totally in control of their actions. Rather than all the music being total unabashed chaos, the sudden pauses and brief riffs in between rhythms are designed precisely for maximum effect; such as ‘Friend To All’ and “Savage Intolerance”. Because of these short fills, the breakdowns in these songs are even more pulverising. The issue here is that because Nails’ music is so insanely avid, there leaves little room for each build up.
Slayer are one of the biggest influences of Nails and thanks to Kurt Ballou’s raw production, the nails-scratching-on-chalkboard guitars from Todd Jones and John Gianelli in ‘Violence is Forever’ have a darkened trash edge and feature a very fitting solo that sounds exactly like something Jeff Hanneman would conjure. At just over 8 minutes, album closer, ‘They Come Back Crawling’ is the longest track Nails have recorded. At that length, it’s pulverising enough for Nails to strip flesh from bone yet it may have been more apt to perhaps shorten this track then add extra elements to some of the other songs to properly dramatise the breakdowns while sacrificing none of the album’s duration.
“You Will Never be One Of Us”: Barbarous riffs and blastbeats that charge forward with all the finesse of an adrenalized rhino, savage vocals that crack stone with each sonic assault, a duo of blazing speed and beefy might: this is the sound of hostility. This is NAILS.