» Blog Archive Review: Nails Strike Gold Again -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

you will never be one of us  “YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US” vocalist Todd Howard snarls vehemently. By this point, you’ve realized this isn’t typical powerviolence. This is pure, untouched rage that many bands aspire to reach for but cannot even come close to. Nails have a formula that works, and that formula is what makes You Will Never Be One Of Us so enjoyable, if albeit familiar.

“No bullshit,” is what the band explained was the mindset for songwriting, and it’s obvious that the hard-hitting riffs are what drive this album forward. Nails emphasize songwriting more than your average powerviolence band, who you could argue write the same song repeatedly with blast beats and white-noise emulating guitars. Instead, Nails take the time to carve each song o and give it a life of its own. “Life is a Death Sentence” features a groove-heavy basis, starkly contrasting that of “Parasite” later on the album, which is more spastic in nature.

Nails fans should know by now that their albums are, essentially, what they are expecting them to be. Clocking in at under 22 minutes, this offering from the band is their longest release yet. This is due to, largely, the closing track, “They Come Crawling Back,” which is the only song by the band to exceed the eight-minute mark, passing that of “Suum Cuique” on 2013’s Abandon All Life. It’s loud, it’s vacuous, and it’s heavier than anything you’re going to hear this year.

nails 2016That brings forth the album’s two drawbacks. The aforementioned formula that Nails have been using on their albums is immediately apparent. By the fifth track, the album’s halfway point, you get your more composed, traditional song on the album that isn’t under two minutes. There’s more standard, shorter Nails songs after that before you reach the end album, however, but it’s a template. I said the formula works, as it does, however comparing the albums side-by-side, you notice that it’s apparent. If Nails could surprise by changing the arrangement of tracks up, it could reinvigorate the predictability of their releases. I’ve been listening to this band since Unsilent Death came out and I was an angry high-school kid, so while it’s great to know what I’m getting musically from the band, it would be nice to have the arrangement of my beating changed at some point.

The “no bullshit” motif stands tall on the album, however. The album’s midway point, “Violence is Forever” is appropriately named and delivers on that front, leaving the easily imaginable violent frenzies crowds will be sent into when the opening chugs start. How good it sounds also lends credence to the excellent production, where every instrument plays an essential role. The heavily distorted bass and guitars mesh extremely well together, backing each other up in the way Rage Against the Machine’s first album did, but in the same noisy, chaotic way that Entombed have been able to do for their entire career. “No bullshit” is the real deal in the end, as everything is vicious and unrelenting from the get-go.

nails 2k16That is, until the album’s drawn-out conclusion. “They Come Crawling Back” is a worthy and titanic closing to the album, yet it seems that it was dragged out for the sake of being the band’s longest song. There comes to a point where it feels like the song is going to end, but then it just keeps going with a new riff and keeps building for another two minutes. It seems like that “no bullshit” motif went until the end of the album, but I’d be lying if I said the last few riffs weren’t enjoyable. A double-edged sword, if you will, as it has its faults but plenty of benefits.

It’s exactly what you’re expecting, but You Will Never Be One Of Us is what everyone has come to expect of Nails at this point. Loud, thought out, feral, and unrelenting, Nails have a formula that works. Even though that the formula is starting to show and the album’s ending feels added on, Nails are sticking to their guns and proving that they’re the heaviest band around today. The only question you should be asking at this point is why you haven’t already bought this album: it’s seriously that good.


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