Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
You Will Never Be One Of Us
Written by: MIN on 25/08/2016 13:56:37
It’s been just about a month since we last heard anything from Oxnard, CA based grindcore band Nails. Rumors were flying around that the band had called it quits, and in late July, fellow grinders Full of Hell cancelled their tour with Nails due to reasons that were beyond their control. As of now, no official statement has been made by Nails. Whether or not the rumors are true, I don’t know, but if they are, it’s truly a shame; Nails’ new album “You Will Never be One of Us” is an impressive work of dark and intense extreme metal that’ll have you pounding your fist through walls and grinning in awe several times through the sitting.
Despite the brutal exterior and the aggressive lyric sheet, it’s important to remember that at its core, Nails is a hardcore punk band. Several slogans perfectly fit for the scene are sprinkled across the record, and the album title instantly comes to mind. Although sounding like alienation, vocalist Todd Jones has assured everyone that he doesn’t want to exclude you, the fan, from their music; no, “You Will Never be One of Us” is a statement against the people who are in the music business for the wrong reasons. It’s a statement that’s supposed to unite everyone who’s truly dedicated to music, a statement that ought to ring loud and clear in the ears of many fans of DYI and underground music in general. Taking these factors into account, Jones’ message sure sounds a lot like punk to me.
Engulfing their punk-roots, however, is a layer of multiple genres and inspirations – mostly some pretty extreme stuff. The song “Violence is Forever” is a good example: after a few seconds of buzzsaw riffs, it starts out with almost two minutes of relentless and distorted yelling which meets a crushing wall of sound, sounding much like something inspired by the grander songs in acclaimed chaotic hardcore-legends Converge’s discography. Afterwards, the guitars suddenly burst into classic thrash metal-territory à la Slayer just before venturing into a screeching guitar break that could have been inspired by modern noisy hardcore. All the while, a constantly evident underflow of thick sludge is pushing this mastodon of a Frankenstein monster forward as if it was the beat of its sullied heart. But still, Nails manages to sound like a product entirely of its own.
Helping to push forward that sound is Kurt Ballou, who has once again done a stellar job with the production, even surpassing most of his previous work on that front. The album’s sound is foul and grim, almost sticky. On “Savage Intolerance” you can virtually feel the blood splattering all over the walls each time the drum pounds; the rumbling bass during the break in “Into Quietus” emphasizes Todd Jones’ loud growl and almost sucker-punches the air out of you. And the constantly distorted and nasty guitar-sound created by the “Tyrant”-pedal (think HM-2 but meaner) is as ferocious as ever. The excellent production helps set each instrument on the album apart while glueing them together, and the result is nothing short of stunning.
Clocking in at 21 minutes, “You Will Never be One of Us” is a short album (despite it being the band’s longest!), but not a minute is wasted on a track list on which most of the song lengths range between 45 seconds and two minutes. They’re filled with enough riffs to charge a power plant, and although short, they still have enough tempo-changes and headbanging breaks to stay interesting all the way throughout without ever becoming monotonous. The last track on the album, “They Come Crawling Back”, however, is an 8-minute shapeshifter, but you should check that out for yourself. Conclusively, I’ll say that any fan of hardcore punk and extreme metal should listen to Nails’ latest album, as it, in my humble opinion, is the best record I’ve heard so far this year. It’s an incredibly heavy yet diverse record that devours several branches of metal just to spit them back out in a deformed shape of its own, and with a power rarely witnessed. With such a crafty beast in a league of its own, the band cements its claim that you will never be one of them.
Download: You Will Never be One of Us, Violence is Forever, Savage Intolerance, They Come Crawling Back
For The Fans Of: Rotten Sound, Trap Them, Full of Hell, Converge, Slayer, Pig Destroyer
Release date 17.06.2016