Nails’ latest offering is rage unfurled in a chaotic, destructive display of antagonistic views and excellent musicianship.
Imagine you’ve been beaten and left for dead. That’s what listening to Nails’ ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ is like. Their new album is an audio onslaught and right from the word go; it pummels you. As the album pushes forward, there’s a notable difference in sound from the band’s previous project, ‘Abandon All Life’. Their new offering is less pained, yet it’s just as intense and wild; comparable to a rabid dog. The intensity is dialed up to the highest setting and although it’s a blistering experience, there’s substance behind the rage. ‘Life Is A Death Sentence’, the fourth track, is an example of Nails’ ability to craft a catchy anthem. Throughout the 1:40 seconds song, Todd Jones howls “they will not be forgiven” over a dissonant barrage. After four tracks, it’s evident that ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ isn’t as dark as its predecessor, there’s less gloom. Instead, that sadness has been replaced with sheer anger to the point of being animalistic.
Instrumentally, Nails have excelled themselves. They’ve entered uncharted territory as a band, refreshing their sound rather than it stagnating. Their ability to craft solid instrumentals hasn’t been lost in this shift in this transition. The guitar work is superb, from raucous breakdowns to flashy guitar solos, with ‘In Pain’ featuring some of their best instrumental work yet. ‘In Pain’ summarises the sound of ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ perfectly, with phenomenal drums, to powerful, inhuman vocals. While they’re not the highlight of the album, the vocals pack a devastating punch; they’re full of vitriol, being indecipherable at times but adding to the overall feeling of a chaotic, impending doom. The instrumentals and vocals come together to create an apocalyptic display of one man’s rage.
Although the album is a vicious, at times nihilistic experience, the short-run time works in Nails’ favour. It never feels overbearing, each track is a 1-2 to the jaw and gut, leaving you winded but ready for the next blow. Powerviolence and Hardcore are best served quick; Nails’ take on these genres is a demonstration of finesse. It’s quality over quantity. Their music is well-written and conveys enough destruction for it to still have a lasting impact once the 21 minutes is up. Overall, despite the running time, ‘You Will Never Be One of Us” is quite the beating.
Don’t let the brevity fool you – Nails are capable of writing longer songs. The final track, ‘They Come Crawling Back’ is an 8 minute ode to violence and hatred. It’s a slow building affair that erupts around 4 minutes in. Once it explodes, it’s the definition of chaos. The instruments ravage the airwaves, upon a brief backdrop of snarled growls, only to slow down to a funeral dirge pace. It ends with a monotonous, heavy stampede of sound, bludgeoning the listener one final time before it’s all over.
‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ is a visceral experience, and it’s one of the best examples of a man’s rage against the world. If you want to be beaten to a pulp but enjoy every little bit of it, this album is for you. Despite Nails’ knockout success with this release, there is a slight concern of where they’re going to go next. There’s only so much room within a cage of ferocity. Here’s hoping that their next release builds on this excellent album, exploring the depths and depravity in a new and just as captivating way.
‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
This Nails review was written by Jake Gould, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.