Nails – Abandon All Life
Southern Lord 2013
The fearsome blast of sonic bile that is Nails‘ “Abandon All Life” is certainly best taken in controlled doses. Often so virulent is the intent of the songs that it’s almost a blessing that they average only a minute in length. For you see, with the amount of wretchedness this group inject into each track; it’d be hard imagining them being able to prolong the aural punishment all the much longer and still have the same effect.
Brevity is not often a strength, but it certainly doesn’t undermine this outfits attempts at caving in the listeners skull. The acidic feedback, wrenched vocals and abrasive riff-driven excursions that encase the bands reckless flailing are well suited towards lacerating skin. But where Nails truly excel is in their surprising amount of control.
No more evident is this than in the pulverizing drumming laid down on tracks like “God’s Cold Hands” and “Suum Cuique“. Any outfit worth their weight in shred can shit out an assortment of screeching vocals and flash fire riffs. Nails however ensure there is a crushing follow-through by stacking a hefty amount of weight behind them.
As a whole, “Abandon All Life” may be a catastrophic blend of grind, metal and noise laden hardcore. The kind that recalls groups like Converge (whose guitarist Kurt Ballou produced this outing,) Cursed and Black Breath. But whereas those outfits have adapted to more traditional elements of songwriting and artistic expression over the years; Nails have only picked up speed and mass—making this album all the more powerful.
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