Album: You Will Never Be One of Us
When we become familiar with an artist or band, we grow to associate a feeling or sentiment with their music. Maybe when you think of your dad’s favorite classic rock band, you become overwhelmed by nostalgia—and maybe when you think of the first band that got you into heavy music, you feel an odd rush of adrenaline and oxytocin, a reminder of why you love the sort of music you love. Most bands will evoke different reactions for different people; However, when one thinks of Nails, they react with nothing but pure, unbridled rage. Difficult (bordering on impossible) to define with one genre, Nails are anger incarnate—and that hasn’t changed with their latest full length album, You Will Never Be One of Us. Part power violence, part black metal, part hardcore but entirely pissed off, Nails are a juggernaut fueled by lacerating aggression, bound to leave deep gouges and gushing gashes wherever their music is played.
Where Nails’ previous full-length, Abandon All Life saw the trio writing in brief spats, with songs averaging under a minute, You Will Never Be One of Us sees them expanding ever so slightly, with songs that drop from mile-per-minute speed to sludgy, doom-influenced dirges within the confines of a single track. Make no mistake, however, as Nails are still the same relentless wrecking ball they have been since day one. Percussionist Taylor Young still flys across his kit—letting loose languishing blast beats as if there was no tomorrow, all while still including steady, solid patterns that allow the band’s dark, dissonant dynamic to fully bloom. “Violence is Forever” is an excellent example—opening with almost up-beat percussion from Young while guitarist Todd Jones riffs atop him win a heart-thumping, catchy candor. Before long, however, “Violence is Forever” drops from dancy, two-steppy speed to ultra-quick, shred-driven grind. Together, Jones and Young oscillate back and forth between heavily-hardcore influenced grooves and riffs and shreddy, speedy grinding segments—all while taking the time to drop into monstrous, hyperdissonant doom and sludge styled dirges. The eight-minute epic, “They Come Crawling Back” is a great example of this—where Nails are lead by bassist John Gianelli into a murky, atmospheric and blackened ballad that drowns the listener in nearly tangible dissonance. Together, this terrifyingly heavy trio do exactly what they do best: manic, murderous malevolence, whether it be death by dissonant dirge or shred-laden, speedier songs.
Where Taylor’s drumming sets a rapid pace and Gianelli’s bass bounces readily along for the ride, Jones is left with the tedious task of riffing and chugging along while lending his harsh, grating voice to the madness. Jones’ grisly, throat-shredding yells and maddening howls are Nails’ voice, ripping monstrous holes into the listener’s eardrums with every syllable. Where “Violence is Forever,” “Into Quietus” and “They Come Crawling Back” are more moderate (by Nails’ standards) in tempo, hyper speed anthems like “Friend to All” and “Parasite” truly make Jones work to keep up with the music behind him—just as the listener has to work to keep up with Jones. In many ways, Nails’ vocal dynamic is relatively unchanged from their previous efforts. Where lengthier songs see Jones dragging out each vowel and consonant as if he were dragging knives down the listener’s spine, speedier songs force him to belt with a loud and fast voice, galloping alongside Taylor’s demanding, devastating drumming.
Nails are, simply put, an uncomfortable band to listen to—but in the best way possible. Few bands are capable of matching the depressive atmosphere prevalent in “They Come Crawling Back” while still shredding away like Jones does is “Friend to All” and “Violence is Forever.” The are ruthlessly chaotic and unforgiving with their choice in sludgy, sinister breakdowns—and even as the album clocks in well under twenty minutes, by the time the last track is finished, You Will Never Be One of Us will have taken every ounce of livelihood out of the listener. Boisterous as it may be, Nails’ album title makes a valid point: while many may attempt to imitate the band’s intense and intimidating style of noisy, nerve-rattling hardcore, there will only ever be one Nails.
For Fans Of: Weekend Nachos, Full of Hell, Eternal Sleep
By: Connor Welsh