Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us – Album Review

Re-emerging from the dingy basement they most definitely reside in, Cali-based heavy-as-balls metal outfit Nails are back with their follow up to 2013’s indie darling Abandon All Life. Can lightning strike a third time, or will Nails be left to wallow in their brooding darkness forever?

Nails

You Will Never Be One Of Us

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  1. You Will Never Be One Of Us
  2. Friend To All
  3. Made To Make You Fall
  4. Life Is A Death Sentence
  5. Violence Is Forever
  6. Savage Intolerance
  7. In Pain
  8. Parasite
  9. Into Quietus
  10. They Come Crawling Back

As anyone familiar with the band will be aware, lead single and title track ‘You Will Never Be One Of Us’ makes a clear, cut throat statement straight out of the gate, and one that represents the rest of the record in a way that few opening songs can. A short, spiteful track clocking in at just under the 90 second mark, it’s clear to long time listeners that Nails are a band undergoing a subtle, yet entirely welcomed metamorphosis. Working with acclaimed producer and Converge axeman Kurt Ballou, the band have begun allowing a few more elements and style into their admittedly tightly wound repertoire. As for Kurt, his bands sound can be found all over You Will Never Be One Of Us, as the record hurtles toward the more headbang-heavy orientated hardcore feel.

For the unititiated, Nails are a California born power-violence band that rose to prominence with their aforementioned 2013 record Abandon All Life. Finding life and success on the underground scene, the record, along with the band’s previous effort Unsilent Death saw the band propelled into the upper echelons of the underground hardcore and metal scenes. Whilst it’s certainly not for the feint of heart, Nails’ discography sits comfortably amongst the finest the genre has to offer, with gut wrenching speed, fury and impeccable instrumentation.

Nails - In Person 1.jpg

Credit: Jimmy Hubbard

By allowing in elements of straight up hardcore and groove-laden metal, the band renders themselves both slightly more accessible and multifaceted. However, if you’re worried this means Nails will be selling out arenas near you, fear not. Tracks like Friend To All and In Pain still hit that big red Nails button, offering unrelenting aggression and almost indistinguishable power-violence noise. In keeping with the bands traditions, the record is dark, crushing, almost evil at times.

However, it would be incredibly amiss to not state that most of the album’s truly stand out moments come from the band’s more brooding seconds. Tracks like Into Quietus and Life Is A Death Sentence bring about almost an extremely disjointed Dead Kennedys vibe (if Dead Kennedys were really, really mad), and their newfound penchant for mid section breakdowns invoke more of a Napalm Death sensibility than traditional Nails might suggest. Make no mistake, this is still one pissed off outfit.

By taking their time with a more considered, concentrated approach, Nails have delivered without a doubt the album of their continuously blossoming career. By innovating and evolving whilst refusing to lose any of the sheer unrelenting ferocity, the band have cemented themselves amongst the absolute best of their scene, and 2016, has to offer.

9/10

Abandon All Life is released June 17th via Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order it on cassette here

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