Nails is a powerviolence and grindcore trio hailing from Oxnard, California, founded in 2009 by ex-Terror guitarist and vocalist Todd Jones who was joined by John Gianelli and Taylor Young for this project.
After self-releasing their first album Unsilent Death in 2010, the band signed a deal with Southern Lord to release their second album Abandon All Life in 2013. While their first album already garnered them bit of attention, Abandon All Life would be the record to catapult them beyond the boundaries of the scene and get them a wider audience. Now, three years and a label change later, Nails are back with their third album called You Will Never Be One Of Us.
Once again produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge, I won't have to tell you how this album sounds. It's dense, heavy and straight to the point. Thick, distorted coats of guitars, backed by a crunchy bass and propelled forwards by pummeling drums.
As is typical for the genre, this album is on the very short side, clocking in at almost 22 minutes. However, this time around most songs end up being around one and a half minute instead of not even making the one minute mark, like most of the tracks on Abandon All Life.
Nails kick this one off with one of the most infectiously groovy tracks that I've heard this year and continue to just rip and tear after that. You Will Never Be One Of Us, however, is not as much of a straighforward assault as its predecessor and actually offers a lot of catchy and groovy sections. Be it slow and heavy like on the last and longest track They Come Crawling Back, which passes the 8 minute mark, making it the longest track the band has put out to date or the aforementioned opening track with its straight double-bass drumming and rolling, bouncing guitar riffs, this album boasts some pretty strong rhythm sections.
Aside from that I actually feel like the crust and D-Beat influence is stronger on this record than it was on Abandon All Life, especially when it comes to the drumming. Nails still turn up the intensity to the limit throughout most of it though. Especially the shorter tracks like Friend to All and Parasite show how this version of powerviolence that focusses a bit more on its crust roots works out.
However, not every track on this album manages to be as catchy or memorable as the title track and the aforementioned more intense songs like Parasite and Friend to All. Some of the more traditional hardcore sections that appear throughout the album end up not offering much of what makes the strong tracks on this record stand out. To me, that is especially the case on tracks like Violence is Forever, the second longest, very Converge-influenced fifth track on the album. The intense chorus keeps the song afloat, but the verses just kind of drag on.
Still, overall, the interplay between traditional hardcore, intense powerviolence and grindcore as well as catchy rhythms make this album a short and intense experience, much like its predecessor and I enjoyed it despite how short-lived the impact of some of the songs on this album is.