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Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: You Will Never Be One of Us
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2016
Length: 22 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Nuclear Blast

Track List:

01. You Will Never Be One of Us
02. Friend to All
03. Made to Make You Fail
04. Life is a Death Sentence
05. Violence is Forever
06. Savage Intolerance
07. In Pain
08. Parasite
09. Into Quietus
10. They Come Crawling Back

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Cover

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Cover

Nails You Will Never Be One of Us Review

You Will Never Be One of Us is the third album by American grindcore band Nails. The band has remained largely consistent with all of the common threads running through their previous albums still being present here. For anyone unfamiliar with Nails, their template is along the lines of:

• 10 songs per album
• Angry and/or pessimistic lyrics
• Incorporating elements of sludge metal and noise into their grindcore sound
• Chaotic micro-songs
• Ending the album with a noticeably longer and more experimental song
• Masterful tempo shifts

The Nails sound can still be summed up as “utter chaos” or that “it’s almost entirely forgettable because it is over before it starts” in reference to aforementioned micro-songs playing at breakneck tempos.

You Will Never Be One of Us received the customary testosterone injection to ensure that fans can rejoice at the unrepentant ferocity that Nails are known for. Vocalist Todd Jones, who had a throaty shout on their previous two albums, has now adopted a more guttural style that also appears to have been altered in the studio at the same time.

Friend to All and Life is a Death Sentence both feature the masterful tempo shifts that see Nails instantly drop the suffocating blast beats to switch to the bridge of the song or a slower guitar riff respectively because despite rushing through songs, they always manage to find time to throw this impressive feat into the mix.

There is some change to be found in the title track and Violence is Forever. Both are fairly accessible, at least by Nails standards, with the former having the mantra “you will never be one of us” far more distinguishable from the other lines to give it something resembling a hook (albeit loosely) and the latter focuses on memorable riffs while playing for a reasonable three and a half minutes. Some noise is then thrown in at the end just in case you thought Nails might go easy on your ears.

As Nails tradition has it, the final song is longer and more experimental than the rest and They Come Crawling Back does not disappoint. At 8 minutes long it takes up a little over 1/3 of the album and is by far the longest song Nails have recorded by about 3 minutes. It starts out with a slow, desolate black metal guitar riff accompanied by the lo-fi distortion you’d expect from an early 90s album before thundering into life. Starting with lots of momentum, the song slows down and eventually enters into sludge metal territory that is spliced up with some guitar screeching to disorientate the listener and a few of the words are quietly spoken too.

If you are already a fan of Nails then You Will Never Be One of Us will not disappoint. For those wondering where to start with Nails then the longer playing time and improved song writing will make this album an ideal starting point. Nails haven’t changed that much so for the minor differences to add up to something significant it will be over the course of a few albums.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
You Will Never Be One of Us on Wikipedia

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Nails Abandon All Life Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: Abandon All Life
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2013
Length: 17 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Southern Lord

Track List:

01. In Exodus
02. Tyrant
03. Absolute Control
04. God’s Cold Hands
05. Wide Open Wound
06. Abandon All Life
07. No Surrender
08. Pariah
09. Cry Wolf
10. Suum Cuique

Nails Abandon All Life Cover

Nails Abandon All Life Cover

Nails Abandon All Life Review

Abandon All Life is the second album by American grindcore band Nails. Three years on from their debut and Nails show no signs of slowing down as they ferociously hammer through another uncompromising batch of micro-songs.

There’s barely a moment to breathe and at 17 minutes long Abandon All Life is somehow as long as it needs to be. To demonstrate the direct and uncompromising mission statement from Nail you need not look any further than the 23 second vignette that is Cry Wolf. It is nothing but sheer auditory terror that also leads to the crux of the problem with this kind of song writing: it’s almost entirely forgettable because it is over before it starts.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any talent here; it’s simply a case of beyond the raw intensity of their performance you will be hard-pressed to find much else.

With their intense anger, short blasts of chaos and lack of anything even remotely nuanced Nails are squarely on the caveman side of extreme music which will make Abandon All Life a welcome addition to any grindcore collection but for anyone anticipating an expansion on their foundation will be left to look elsewhere.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums
Andy Saba: Lead guitar

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
Abandon All Life on Wikipedia

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Nails Unsilent Death Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: Unsilent Death
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2010
Length: 14 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Six Feet Under Records, Southern Lord

Track List:

01. Conform
02. Scum Will Rise
03. Your God
04. Suffering Soul
05. Unsilent Death
06. Traitor
07. I Will Not Follow
08. No Servant
09. Scapegoat
10. Depths

Nails Unsilent Death Cover

Nails Unsilent Death Cover

Nails Unsilent Death Review

Unsilent Death is the debut album of American grindcore outfit Nails. At only 3 minutes longer than their 2009 EP, Obscene Humanity, this brings the total running time to approximately 14 minutes. For a debut album this is a meagre introduction on the surface because it doesn’t give the impression that you can fit much into such a short span of time.

Nails are quick on the draw to prove the listener wrong and throw you into the middle of their sonic fray with Conform, a 31 second blast straight from the bowels of hell that leads right into Scum Will Rise through feedback noises to continue their sensory assault. This serves as the base-line for Unsilent Death and there’s rarely a moment to remember because of the utter chaos compacted into these micro-songs, of which many are under a minute long, since it’s next to impossible to digest what you hear when most tracks almost start before the last one ends.

Suffering Soul and the title track do manage to slow down and retain some sense of melody, mainly due to the fact that there is a heavier focus on hardcore punk. At best it proves that Nails don’t have an entirely one-track mind and at worst were included for the sake of variety but in either scenario their inclusion works to the advantage of the album. The title track is especially well crafted and includes some of the bands noise elements.

For the listeners who manage to wade their way through Unsilent Death will also pick up on the knack that Nails possesses to do sudden, sharp tempo shifts in a seemingly effortless manner without ever sounding disjointed as demonstrated in the 28 second long track Traitor.

Every musical element from the blasting grindcore sounds to feedback noise and even sludge metal are used on the closing track, Depths, which proves that Nails are capable of far more dynamic compositions when they put their minds to it and they achieve far better results on the few longer tracks on Unsilent Death.

Nails are catering to the furthest ends of the extreme music community and if you happen to have a penchant for short blasts of unrelenting chaos and/or lack anything that resembles an attention span then you will feel right at home with Unsilent Death. For everyone else there isn’t going to be much in the way of replay value bar a few shining moments.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
Unsilent Death on Wikipedia

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Napalm Death Smear Campaign Limited Edition Review

General Information:

Artist: Napalm Death
Album: Smear Campaign (Limited Edition)
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2016
Length: 54 minutes (including bonus tracks)
Language(s): English
Label(s): Century Media

Track List:

01. Weltschmerz
02. Sink Fast, Let Go
03. Fatalist
04. Puritanical Punishment Beating
05. When All is Said and Done
06. Freedom is the Wage of Sin
07. In Deference
08. Short-Lived
09. Identity Crisis
10. Shattered Existence
11. Eyes Right Out
12. Call That an Option? (Bonus Track)
13. Warped Beyond Logic
14. Rabid Wolves (For Christ)
15. Deaf and Dumbstruck (Intelligent Design)
16. Persona Non Grata
17. Smear Campaign
18. Atheist Runt (Bonus Track)

Napalm Death Smear Campaign Limited Edition Cover

Napalm Death Smear Campaign Limited Edition Cover

Napalm Death Smear Campaign Limited Edition Review

Smear Campaign is the twelfth studio album by British grindcore pioneers Napalm Death. While many of their albums from the 1990s to the first half of the 2000s walk the line between death metal and grindcore, the punkish approach to song-writing pushes Smear Campaign further towards the grindcore camp this time around.

Despite the overtly chaotic nature of Smear Campaign, the music is relatively straightforward with the raw intensity coming from the self-described blast beat terrorism drumming of Danny Herrera and the combined guttural performances of lead vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway and bassist/backing vocalist Shane Embury while Mitch Harris provides feral high pitched shrieks for contrast.

For this reason alone the lyrics are largely undecipherable without having a written copy in front of you for reference. In some ways this is quite a shame because Napalm Death brings a much needed intellectual counter balance to extreme music lyrics which offset the staple diet of guts, gore and cartoonish bellyaching about the woes of the world. Instead they deliver sharp and direct criticism of religion and society, the main themes of Smear Campaign, without the tired and overused approach of most other bands that tackle the subject.

Early on the band addresses the philosophical concept of fatalism, on the song Fatalist no less, to proclaim that “existing becomes a prison where self-discovery’s forbidden”. Since Fatalism is the belief that all actions are predetermined (fated to happen) then there’s no control or changing of any unfolding events. It is then concluded at the end of the song that “any fool starting afresh would surely ditch this/after two-thousand years of schism/only irreligious hearts can do the saving” so as to offer a solution in saying that a new, non-religious train of thought must take hold within society to make progress for the betterment of everyone instead of clinging on to ideologies that were developed thousands of years ago and don’t necessarily apply to modern life.

The theme of societal progress and anti-religion is reinforced with the chorus to When All is Said and Done, which proclaims that “when all is said and done/heaven lies in my heart/no slave to beliefs that propagate pain/when all is said and done/heaven lies in our hearts/this life is a gift to be lived and loved” to reject ideologies that harm people and strip away the value of life itself.

Along with the critical lyrics comes an added sense of melody and experimentation in some instances because, after all, there is only so far you can push outright aggression before you repeat yourself or begin to stagnate. Some notable moments include the industrial influenced introductory song, Weltschmerz, which includes a wordless vocal contribution from Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering), who also performs the monotonous spoken word piece on In Deference. On paper this comes across as an odd pairing but it is probably the only way that her voice could fit into this kind of music and the end results are effective in blending her voice to the cacophony around her without coming across as forced experiment for the sake of it.

Smear Campaign closes with a 3 part mini-epic that will easily catch many fans off guard. Persona Non Grata is the first part and sees Napalm Death using measured aggression to play off against slower moments with growled vocals performed in a melodic fashion that will make you think that the band are about to burst into clean singing at any second. Sludge metal is then embraced for the miniature title track along with the more melodic singing style that turns into a sort of echo-laden chant before fading out and concluding the album on the standard edition.

On the limited edition this then leads into the second bonus track and third part of the mini-epic, Atheist Runt, which is the slowest and longest song on the album at nearly 7 minutes long. This will prove to be quite a test for some fans due to the slow nature of it and yet it is by far one of the most rewarding moments of the whole album if you appreciate the bands decision to branch out and do something a bit different.

Underneath what will sound like the utter chaos of a battlefield to most people, Napalm Death have artfully fused thoughtful lyrical content and a bold experimental edge into their frantic grindcore blueprint to prove that they are as innovative on Smear Campaign as they were at their inception.

Performers:

Mark “Barney” Greenway: Shouting, Screaming, Swans, Sermons (Lead vocals, lyrics on 1-4, 6-9 and 11-6)
Shane Embury: Four Strings of the Apocalypse, NY Aggro Lung Assault (Bass, backing vocals, lyrics on 5 and 10)
Mitch Harris: Shredding, Grinding, Subliming Noise, Shrill Cries (Guitar, backing vocals)
Danny Herrera: Blast Beat Terrorism (Drums)
Anneke van Giersbergen: Additional vocals (1 and 7)

External Links:

Napalm Death Homepage
Napalm Death on Wikipedia
Smear Campaign on Wikipedia